… In 4 counties, including Nimba, Lofa, Montserrado and Grand Cape Mount
Amidst the increased domestic and sexual violence affecting women and girls across Liberia, the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD), has announced that they have secured funding to strengthen the capacities of some key government institutions to integrate efforts in combating violence. However, the amount of funding secured by IREDD was not disclosed.
According to IREDD, the initiative aims to collaborate with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) to enhance its county-level staff’s capacity to uncompromisingly implement programs and policies that promote the rights of women and girls against gender-based violence.
The project targets four counties, including Grand Cape Mount, Montserrado, Lofa, Grand Gedeh, and Nimba for a period of three months.
The Executive Director of IREDD, Matthias M. Yeanay, made the disclosure on August 10, during a meeting with some government ministries and agencies, including Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), Liberia Land Authority (LLA), Liberia National Police (LNP), Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Gender Ministry and among others.
Yeanay said the three-month UNDP supported project of IREDD seeks to create adequate awareness on violence against women and girls in the targeted counties at the moment.
“It also directly seeks to engage with relevant government institutions to integrate efforts to combat [issues related to] violence against women and girls through the national development plan of Liberia,” Yeanay said.
According to Yeanay, the violence against women and girls in Liberia is primarily caused by cultural, legal, economic, and political factors.
He added that physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, and financial circumstances are some causes of violence against women and girls.
Yeanay said to remedy the situation, there must be direct engagement with relevant stakeholders for programs on women’s rights and the protection against Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
“We will organize town hall meetings, workshops, or seminars with relevant national-level actors to gather views on preventive and deterrent measures of SGBV issues across communities of the project’s counties,” he said.
Yeanay further disclosed that 15 coordinators of the Gender Ministry’s capacities will be strengthened as well as 100 key government officials will be engaged to integrate efforts into the national development plan for violence against women and girls.
“We will have four policy dialogue meetings to engage government officials, one per county on women’s rights. This is a co-designed strategies and program that will ensure prompt action on violence against women and girls,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Team Leader for Governance and Public Institutions at the United Nations Development Program, James P. Monibah, said stakeholders have done a lot in addressing violence, but more is needed.
He told the stakeholders that IREDD will work with everyone beginning with the strengthening of the institution’s internal accountability mechanism.
According to him, this is neccessary because most often, violence against women and girls is looked at from outside.
“There are women who have been harassed and sexually abused within your various institutions. What are the issues that affected you within your institution? We are concerned about how you coordinate, for instance, on data collection,” Monibah said.
He further mentioned that currently, at each government institution, a different number of gender-based violence issues exist.