Action Aid Liberia with support from the Big Lottery Fund is implementing a three year Access to Justice project for women and girls in Grand Gedeh County.
The project, which began in March 2015 and ends in February 2018, is currently working with the three major communities of Zwedru, Duogee and Gaye Town.
Among the subjects discussed are Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV), ending early marriage and teenage pregnancies.
In creating awareness and promotion against SGBV and other issues affecting women, the organization is partnering with local media institutions, namely Smile FM and Top FM in Zwedru and Peace Radio in Toe Town.
The project also included a two-day training workshop which brought together 60 participants, comprising of 30 journalists from the three community radio stations and 30 teachers from various high schools in the county.
Direct emphasis on SGBV reporting methods were earmarked for journalists, along with how stigmatization affects victims.
Teachers were also trained to avoid violence among students and instructors on campus.
Giving an overview of the activities last weekend, the Local Rights Program Manager of Action Aid Liberia, James Pewee, explained that the organization’s motive is to create more awareness on combating all violence against women and girls in the county.
He stressed that the training for the 60 participants is in fulfillment of their mission statement to combat all SGBV and related cases against women.
Mr. Pewee said his organization, through funding from the Big Lottery Fund (UK), has been responsive in their support to Action Aid Liberia on the project.
The Local Rights Program Manager mentioned that the three communities have been synchronized into various women’s forums to give them access to information on their basic rights.
The three segment forum has been separated into categories that include six in Zwedru, four in Duogee and two in Gaye Town.
Speaking at one of the women’s forums in Zwedru, Mr. Pewee highlighted some of the women’s concerns on sexual and gender based violence, teenage pregnancy and early marriage.
He urged teachers to make use of the training methods to help promote gender equality – which includes women and girls’ full participation in all gender related undertaking.
Mr. Pewee also hoped that journalists will make use of the training to eliminate or minimize the traditional practices of genital mutilation and forced marriages.
In a related development, the Rural Women’s president of Grand Gedeh County, Madam Jesedeh Barzon, praised Action Aid Liberia for its continued contribution and support in the fight against gender based violence, discrimination, stigma and ensuring access to justice for women and girls.
Madam Barzon spoke against unhealthy practices against women and girls by parents, religious and traditional elders, such as early child marriage, rape, teenage pregnancy, female genital mutilation, among others.
“Women have been ignored throughout the struggle to gain recognition of their plight. We will continue to fight as it is a process and not an event. Women are your mothers, sisters and daughters; they’re your partners and not your palm nuts that you can pound and discard after use,’’ she added.
The awareness program held in the Nio community and sponsored by Action Aid Liberia climaxed with a drama by the Gedeh Bellah Cultural Troupe and Gedeh Rural Women on the harm caused by gender based violence against women.