By: G Bennie Bravo Johnson I

Young people across the country, mainly adolescent girls and women, as well as people living with disabilities, are set to incur huge youthful benefits as the national stakeholder’s conference on sexual reproductive health and rights in Liberia is certain.

A coalition of ten (10) civil society organizations from diverse backgrounds,

under the umbrella “Amplifying Rights Network,” with the aim of contributing to advancing sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) through the promotion of social justice, mainly evidence-based advocacy, and accountability, has announced a three-day national stakeholders conference on sexual reproductive health and rights.

The three-day conference, which is expected to be held at the EJS Ministerial Complex from May 26–28, 2023, under the theme “Strengthening Holistic Approach on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights,” will gain its oration from the United Nations special rapporteur on sexual reproductive health and rights, Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng.

Speaking Monday, May 8, 2023, on behalf of the collaborating civil society organization, Niomi Solankie stated that the National Stakeholders’ Conference on SRHR in Liberia, which aims to have active engagement and discussions amongst SRHR actors and rights holders in the form of awareness provision, dialogue, and advocacy, is supported by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU) and other SRHR actors in Liberia. 

The Amplifying Rights Network provided that the conference would include educational and safe spaces for all.

And it will provide age- and context-appropriate information for right holders to understand and identify and debate the complex SRHR issues and topics.”

The ARN asserted that the conference will shine the spotlight on important themes such as access to information and service delivery, sexual and reproductive health and rights, health, pleasure, well-being, fertility, Menstrual hygiene management, and harmful practices.

The conference will seek to promote and advance the SRHR agenda with the strong perspectives of adolescents, women, persons with disabilities, sexual minorities, and other groups while providing valuable information to the audience.

In an assertion made by the Amplifying Rights Network, the network stated that sexual and reproductive health and rights are the bedrock for growth and prosperity for all individuals and societies, and countries and societies that invest in people, their rights, and their choices have proven that is the path to well-being, prosperity, and peace.

The network continued announcing its conference by postulating that, though Liberia has made some progress around maternal mortality, girls’ retention, and completion in school and improved access to contraception, the pace remains far too slow, and the SRHR movement still faces strong setbacks in Liberia due to tradition, religion, and widening inequality, poverty, and political will.

Solonkie, on behalf of the network, revealed that the importance of the conference is to get Liberia, with its entrenched inequality in access to development opportunities and pervasive poverty, which has an approximately 56% literacy rate and a rising poverty rate of 66%, widespread barriers to accessing health care, mostly financial and geographical, and a continued high prevalence of early

pregnancies, low contraception use rates, rising sexual and gender-based violence, and FGM.

She added that the high rates of maternal mortality, gender discrimination, and a culture of silence

Around sex and sexual health in families, schools, and communities, there are serious obstacles to accelerating progress to a world where everyone can exercise autonomy over their own bodies and enjoy full equality, which is a fundamental right. 

She added that while the government’s plans include references to reducing maternal mortality, preventing teenage pregnancy, reducing gender inequality, and “gender-responsive budgeting,”

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