Women Group Calls for Support to Combat Humanitarian Crisis Across Liberia

Members of the Liberian Women Humanitarian Network posed for a picture following the official launch of the organization in Monrovia

Monrovia – The Liberian Women Humanitarian Network (LWHN) has officially launched its activities with a call on the Liberian Government and International Non-governmental organizations to support its initiatives in responding to humanitarian crisis in Liberia.

Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]

LWHN founding member and Executive Director of Community Health Initiative (CHI), Naomi Tulay-Solanke noted that the organization was formed to seek the humanitarian needs of every Liberian, with children, women and the disable community as its top priorities.

Since its formation, Mrs. Solanke noted that the organization has made several national and international strides in responding to natural disaster including the support to victims of the mudslide in sierra Leone and the Haiti disaster.

In Liberia, she recounted that in 2018, LHWN provided humanitarian services affected to communities following the monkey pox and chicken pox outbreaks in Grand Cape Mount and Bong Counties respectively.

Speaking further, she noted that what sets the network apart is the emphasis placed on the vulnerable groups including women, children and the disabled.

“What makes our response so different is we are women specific. For example, our response is going to carry menstruation pad; while a response that is headed by man is not going to do that. Our assessment takes into consideration how many women, men children and people with disability. So, we have a full understanding of who and what we were responding to.  

 Also speaking, ActionAid Liberia Country Director Lakshmi S. Moore, who officially launched the network on Wednesday in Monrovia, said women have always remain the front-liners during humanitarian response, especially in Liberia.

Pledging her organization’s support, she stated that the preparedness of community, especially women to respond to disaster remains cardinal; noting that lack of community readiness to handle problem will create more problem instead of solution.

“We all recalled that the outbreak of the Ebola mainly affected more women than men in Liberia. We need such network to handling some of the issues within the community in the area of preparedness and direct response to humanitarian situation. ActionAid Liberia is ready to promote the network, and work to ensure that women’s issues are addressed throughout the country at all levels,” she said.

Meanwhile, at a panel discussion during the launch of the network featuring founding members of LWHN stressed the importance of localizing women led humanitarian response for sustainable impact.

Agnes Freeman-Kormon, project manager of girl’s advocacy alliance of Plan International Liberia, described the initiative as of great importance for Liberia.

Henry O. Williams, Executive Director of the National Disaster Management Agency noted that he was happy to see the birth of such organization that would support the government’s effort.

“We will work with you as key partner in every disaster crisis in Liberia. We want you to always reach to the office and work with us, including attending meetings of the agency,” he pledged.

For her part, the Executive Director of Kids’ Educational Engagement Project (KEEP) and member of the Liberian Women Humanitarian Network, Brenda Moore indicated that although international partners provide support during crisis, the process often lacks sustainability, which usually leaves the communities vulnerable, especially women and children who are mainly affected.

She further recounted that women remain the first responders during crisis, indicating that “When the children and the husband are sick, the woman is charged with the responsibility to handle the situation.