Medica Liberia Conducts Legal Awareness and Policy Dialogues in South-eastern Liberia
MONROVIA — Medica Liberia, a women’s rights organization, working with women and girls affected by Sexual and Gender and Violence (SGBV) in Liberia, has concluded a series of women’s rights legal awareness and policy engagement activities between March 17 -23 2021 in Grand Gedeh and Sinoe Counties. Four (4)legal awareness forums targeting women and county stakeholders in the capital cities and remote parts of the counties were conducted under the theme ‘Marriage, Family and Property Laws’. Similarly, policy dialogue were held in each county with county-level stakeholders and women rights organizations under the theme ‘Promoting Women Centered Land Governance in Rural Communities’.
During these events, medica Liberia brought together more than three hundred women including county-level stakeholders in both counties. Topics discussed at the town hall meetings included: Women Access to Justice; Marriage Under Dual Legal System; Traditional and Statutory weddings, Inheritance Rights of Women and Children in Traditional and Statutory Settings, and Women Land Rights.
Various sectors of the society, including the Ministry of Justice, The Liberia Land Authority, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Rural Women Association, Civil Society Organizations CSOs and community residents among others. During the panel discussions the obligations and roles of County authorities and local structures in securing women land rights were emphasized. As the laws concerning these issues were made much clearer during the discussion, traditional authority vowed to always protect women rights. While the realization of fair and equal rights for women in marriage and property seem far from becoming a reality due to gender norms that continue to marginalize women, the legal awareness empowered women to take proactive actions and seek support. It is possible that this newfound knowledge could be a beginning of a long journey to demanding their rights.
By the end of the weeklong activity, women became more aware of their legal rights and available services within the Counties to access when needed. Further, women had the opportunity to engage with local government and policy makers and discuss issues affecting them.
Speaking at the end of the activity in Zleh Town, Grand Gedeh County, Cecelia Quaye sated ‘I am happy that medica Liberia is educating us women about our rights and from now on, I myself will start standing up for myself because I know my rights now”.
The legal awareness activities were facilitated by female lawyers from the JSGB and Associates law firm in collaboration with the County Attorneys of Grand Gedeh and Sinoe Counties.
This was made possible through funding by the Government Bank for Development-KFW in Grand Gedeh County and Medicor Foundation in Sinoe County.