Rescue Women Liberia, Partners Intensify Awareness Against SGBV, Harmful Traditional Practice In Rural Montserrado
Rural Montserrado – The fight against Sexual Gender based Violence (SGBV) and Harmful Traditional Practices (HTPs) remain a challenge for all actors in various communities across Liberia. Sadly not much has been done as women and girls lives’ are lost daily with some ending up in forever pain and mental illnesses amongst others.
UN Women database on Violence against Women in Liberia for the past 12months shows that lifetime physical and or sexual intimate partner violence amounts to 38.5 %, lifetime non-partner sexual violence: 2.6% and child marriage: 35.9%; while Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: 44.4 percent.
Against this backdrop, Rescue Women Liberia (RWL) with funding from EU/UN Spotlight Initiative-Phase-II project has intensified its awareness against SGBV, FGM and child marriages in rural Montserrado.
The campaign held under the Theme: “Enhancing the Capacity of Stakeholders, Local Community to Eliminate SGBV/HTPs against Women and Girls,” brought together stakeholders and community dwellers of rural Montserrado to increase their capacity to be vigilant about the effects of SGBV, FGM and child marriages and be able to alert the proper authorities for response.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of RWL, Laretta George said Under Phase I of the Spotlight Project, the District Women Advocacy Group (DWAG) was established in 2021 to create awareness in 24 communities of Todee, Johnsonville, Careysburg and Caldwell to advocate for policy change to meet the needs of women and to adequately respond to cases of SGBV/HTPs by ensuring cases are reported to the proper authorities.
Madam George disclosed that under Phase-II of this project, RWL has added eight communities in Todee, Johnsonville, Careysburg and Caldwell of Rural Montserrado County.
The event also brought together 50 participants drawn from several governmental and non-governmental institutions.
According to some of the participants, it was their first time meeting major actors involved with the anti-SGBV and HTPs campaign; ranging from the Superintendent of Montserrado County Office, Gender Coordinator, Women and Children Protection Department of the Liberia National Police, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Civil Society Organizations and religious communities.
They expressed excitement in learning new things that will serve as tools in helping to end these abuses and thanked RWL for giving them the opportunity in meeting and hearing from other actors in this fight.
“What I saw today and the training presented by our brilliant facilitator Linda Barrolle Saygbe, Training & Outreach Coordinator SGBV Crimes Unit at the Ministry of Justice shows to me that Rescue Women Liberia is one of the best in our communities that is making sure there is a collaboration from all actors in eliminating SGBV/HTPs. I pray for EU/UN Spotlight Initiative to continue working with us including other donors here in Liberia and outside of Liberia,” said Thomas N. M. Chea, Executive Director of Wise men Association in Bensonville.
Mr. Benedict D. Nyae, Sr., Montserrado County’s Gender Coordinator at the Ministry of Gender, Children & Social Protection in remarks, commended RWL for the training and also called on participants to be ambassadors in their various homes, communities and work places as a way of helping to end these menaces.
“The issue of Sexual Gender Based Violence and Harmful Traditional Practices are now a national security threat. We are thankful to Rescue Women Liberia for bringing together stakeholders and other actors face to face in finding a way of eliminating SGBV/HTPs,” added Martha M. Nyae, a participant from the Joint District Women Movement to end SGBV & HTPs
She added: “Beyond this, the issue of drug users is something we need to look at very seriously as our children are being exposed to danger and I see trouble and a nation of no hope.”