Liberia’s only licensed female surveyor: We really make a difference

9 March 2023

Susannah Kollie is Liberia's only licensed female surveyor. With a solid education, she has a lot to contribute among her male colleagues. Susannah also believes that women have a special spirit that allows them to find other solutions, just by taking the time and listening.

- Women contribute a lot in all organizations, says Susannah Kollie.

Susannah is the Liberia Land Authority's (LLA) resident county surveyor in Bong County. This means that she is ultimately responsible for land surveyor matters in the county and she has four employees to help her.

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Liberia Land Authority’s County Land Office in Bong County.

The work consists of, among other things, conducting boundary surveys and resolving border disputes between private individuals or clans - everything that is part of a surveyor's role.

Susannah radiates enormous joy and enthusiasm when she talks about her work. She practiced as a land surveyor for about six years before the organization “Liberia Society of Women Engineers”, helped her through the process of being the first licensed female surveyor.

She finished nine months of training and then passed the required tests. Later, she also underwent refresher training.

Susannah Kollie together with her colleagues at the County Land Office in Gbarnga.

- I thank God for directing me to this job. There are definitely challenges and tackling them as a woman requires a little extra. But I am happy to go an extra mile to serve our people, Susannah says.

She sometimes feels that she is met with some hesitation when she goes out into the field as a female surveyor. But that's before you see her perform her duties.

Susannah has used quite advanced measuring equipment in her training. Unfortunately, it is something that she lacks in her daily professional life. Survey data and measurements in the field are done with the mobile phone utilizing a GPS application, with the measurement accuracy uncertainty that this entails.

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Susannah loves her job as a surveyor.

The authority has scarce resources for the purchase of equipment, especially for the local offices. That's why Susanna is particularly happy about the support that comes from external partners, including Lantmäteriet through ILAMP (Capacity Building for Inclusive Land Administration and Management Project in Liberia).

The office in Bong is one of the five LLA offices that ILAMP has decided to provide extra support to, both in the form of staff training but also in the purchasing of equipment.
This includes for example furniture to the office, laptops, computers, printers and handheld GPS devices.

All this will be helpful in the work, says Susannah.

- One of the main things we need is what you brought, knowledge. The other thing we need is equipment and moving objects.

Susannah is grateful for the two motorcycles that Lantmäteriet and ILAMP bought for the office. Now she and her colleagues can go out on field work much more easily.

That's why she's especially happy about the two motorbikes the project bought for the office so that Susannah and her colleagues can go out on sometimes long-distance fieldwork. Today they must solve the transport on their own.

As mentioned, Susannah is so far the only licensed female surveyor in Liberia. However, 13 women are undergoing training and are expected to graduate in June. Susanna says this is a welcome addition.

She believes that women have an important function within the profession.

The ability to take the time, sit down and listen and then try to mediate in disputes about boundaries, she believes, is close to women.

- I think women spend more time on people who can't understand the processes. We really do make a difference.

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