Local Rights Advocate Highlights ‘Pivotal’ Role of Community Leader in Mitigating Gender Based Violence

ALWA Executive Director, Herrietta F. Martor giving opening statements the Community Leaders training in Sinkor, Monrovia

Monrovia – The executive director of the Alliance for Women Advancement (ALWA), Herrietta F. Martor has stressed the pivotal role of community leaders in minimizing Gender Base-violence (GBV) in Liberia.

Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]

Madam Martor made the remarks Thursday, February 21 at the Lutheran Compound in Sinkor, when she indicated that community leaders were strategically placed to assist in addressing GBV.

“We want to ensure that community’s leaders understand GBV issues, including causes, effects and role of community in ending it. Increasing awareness on the prevention of GBV in various communities is cardinal,” Madam Martor said.

The training, she noted is part of her organization’s Access to Justice for Poor” program that is funded by the United Nations Development Program and is geared towards educating participants on divorce law, persistent-non-support, rape and provide clarity on the roles, interventions and limitations of community leaders in mediation processes surrounding GBV cases.

She noted that the conference also intends to educate community leaders about the legal services her organization is providing to victims of GBV.

Outlining the main causes of sexual and gender based violence in Liberia, she named disrespect, cruelty, and lack of love, adding “if you respect a lady you will not rape her, abandoned her along with the children and divorce her.”

She further noted that the justice system would also help in ending GBV at all level in Liberia, stating “we don’t need to have a society where women and girls continue to experience GBV.”

The ALWA‘s Executive Director furthered that the initiative is meant to put smiles on the faces of GBV victims, indicating that “they sometimes get disappointed within the justice, because of lack of opportunity to persuade their rights.”

“With support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), we are providing access to justice for women and girls, including vulnerable groups in Liberia. “We help women and girls who are facing legal problem and don’t have the resources to go to court.  We provide legal representation for them,” she said.

Some of her intervention, she said include the provision of transportation for victims and their witnesses to get to court, “we also provide transport for the victims to seek treatment.”

According to her, the organization have successfully conducted mediation and settle dispute between husbands and wife as well as divorced couples; leading to the distribution of properties and revealed plans to decentralize the organization’s activities in the remaining counties.

The organization, she said is currently in two counties, including Montserrado and Margibi counties, stating “We want to make impact in communities where the organization operates before extending to other places.

ALWA is a non-governmental organization founded in 2012 that is aimed at addressing some of the numerous challenges that compromised the rights of the wellbeing and advancement of women and girls, including vulnerable groups in society.