• Targets Survivors in Montserrado and Margibi

By. Jerromie S. Walters

Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia: Medica Liberia, a women’s rights organization working in Liberia, has officially launched the 3rd phase of its sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) project, aimed at empowering women and girls affected by violence in Montserrado and Margibi and creating a protective and supportive environment.

The project was launched on Friday, December 9, 2022, at the Corina Hotel in Sinkor under the title, “Strengthening communities and institutions to promote the psychological health of women and girls effected by violence and increase protection from gender-based violence in Montserrado and Margibi counties.”

Giving an overview of the project, Ms. Yah Vallah Parwon said the project contributes to improving the psychosocial health of women and girls affected by violence and increasing their protection against gender-based violence (impact).

The strategic framework of the project is the multi-level approach, which assumes that violence against women takes place both at the individual level and is structurally anchored in institutional and political systems and patriarchal social structures.

Accordingly, Medica believes that an approach to sustainable prevention of and response to S/GBV must be long-term, multi-sectoral, and holistic, as well as based on a feminist analysis of gender discrimination. The project addresses several segments that include the micro, micro, and macro levels.

At the micro level, it increases the number of community-based protection mechanisms in the direct environment of women and girls and contributes to awareness-raising and changing social norms through sensitization.

Furthermore, it aims to increase the capacity of public and non-public S/GBV service providers at the meso level to implement existing policies and integrate a survivor-centered, stress- and trauma-sensitive approach into their work.

At the macro level, the project aims at reforming and following up on the implementation of existing legislation. It seeks to address the survivability of victims of GBD as well as their protection.

Considering its conceptual approach to empowerment, the project aims to empower and enable women and girls affected by violence to use their resources and skills and to experience a process of empowerment. It also aims to empower community activists and communities to take collective action to prevent violence and address gender-based inequalities in their communities by promoting local ownership.

Meanwhile, Yah Vallah Parwon assured Medica Liberia’s commitment toward the full implementation of the project, as well as their tireless efforts toward the fight to end all forms of violence in Liberia.

While officially launching the project, Deputy Gender Minister Alice Johnson Howard praised the NGO for her work in combating violence against women over the years.

She termed the project a significant step in ending the fight against SGBV, thanked all other institutions that have been effective in their quest against violence, and further admonished them to do more as they go along.

“We want to commend all of you for the efforts you have put toward this fight, and we thank Medica Liberia for the project,” she said.

In an opening statement at the occasion, Medica psychological counselor and national trainer Ms. Florida Clarke mentioned that the most effective way to overcome GBV is to increase women’s involvement in society, employment, and especially politics.

She said Liberia is on the verge of giving women adequate power, especially considering the new election law that has been passed by the legislature that seeks 30 percent female participation at political party levels.

However, she said until Liberia can manage to create the perfect world without violence, harassment, and force, there will remain a cardinal need for institutions like Medica that are there to aid the victims.

She believes nothing justifies the daily suffering of women in the face of violence in all its forms, adding that sustainable impact can only be achieved through collective actions and response mechanisms that involve men and boys. She recognized the efforts of the traditional leaders in ensuring an end to FGM in Liberia.

Also in a remark at the occasion, the head of the Women and Children Protection section of the Liberia National Police hailed Medica for the initiative, adding that it’s a boost to the LNP’s fight against all forms of violence.

She assured the Liberia National Police’s commitment to the project and called on the public to abstain from all forms of violence.

Basically, the project considers the context of the COVID-19 crisis, with funding from the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.

Gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), and other forms of violence are common in workplaces, schools, and communities, including in Liberia. Efforts aimed at ending GBV and SEA against women and girls are a priority for Medica Liberia.

Medica Liberia (ML), formerly Medica Mondiale Liberia, is a non-governmental women’s rights organization working in Liberia. The organization offers support to women and girls who have been affected by sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Since 2006, Medica Liberia has been implementing programs for women and girls in Liberia’s south-eastern parts and recently extended its coverage to Montserrado and Margibi Counties, respectively, through funding from the German Government and other donors.

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