In the shadow of the global pandemic and its impact on society, especially women, Action Aid-Liberia with support from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), has conducted a one day research validation workshop on the impact of COVID-19 on Women and Girls in Liberia.
The purpose of the program was to document the impact of COvid-19 on women and girls and the role of women during the covid-19 response in ten counties across Liberia.
The one day event which took place in Monrovia on April 20, 2021, brought together stakeholders from various ministries and agencies as well as development a partners, and was held under the topic, “The Impact of COVID-19 on Women and girls in Liberia.”
Speaking during the official opening of the training, Sophie T. Parwon, Executive Director, Center For Population and Reproductive Health, Inc. said the objective of the research was to collaborate with EVAWG to prevent SGBV and to promote women’s rights.
She recalled that in 2020 several civil society organizations decided to see what they could do to ensure women and girls have access to different services that are necessary.
Madam Parwon also disclosed that the research was intended to outline the impact of the pandemic on women and girls; highlight their role during the pandemic.
It was aimed at developing a human interest story through a documentary, and to provide advance critical recommendations for advocacy and decision making policy as well as develop a fact sheets.
The EVAWG cluster research study which began last year March was, however, divided into various regions across ten counties where cluster EVAWG had its operations. The targeted counties include, Bong, Lofa, Nimba in the North, central region Grand Bassa, Margibi, Montserrado in the south, central region Grand Gedeh, RiverCess, Sinoe in the Southeast, and Garbpolu in the Western region.
The study according to Madam Parwon had a diverse target groups, looking at women with HIV, TBAs women leaders, farmers, traditional, adolescent schools girls and those girls that are out of school.
“We were looking both in urban and rural communities, we also look at the role of male farmers to understand it and how they could be a help to women in decision-making during the pandemic,” she added.
“So, the research that we are doing is just looking at what really happens to women and girls during the global pandemic in Liberia.”
She indicated that from March 20, 2020, Liberia had less cases of women who got infected by the virus, although not many women were infected but there were various effects or impacts in their life.
However, the studies according to her, has revealed that during the pandemic there was an increase in incidents of SGBV cases across the country; where women had limited access to maternal health care delivery service, and also obstruction to the provision of sexual reproductive health service and loss of economic activities as well as other livelihood programs.
At the same time Mbadu Winnie Jusu, Research Consultant, Center for Population and Reproductive Health, told the participants that during this period more than 53% got health messages about the outbreak of COVID-19.
She said the research conducted also revealed that during the lockdown health messages received on the COVID-19 doubled among women and girls. It was also noted that more than 90%of women and girls recorded seeking health information on the COVID-19 during the lockdown.