Some participants at the launch at the Gbarnga Administration Building
In response to increasing sexual and gender based violence and other domestic related cases in several parts of the country, ActionAid –Liberia last Tuesday 2015 officially launched a base line survey report and a five year project in Gbarnga that tends to shift the paradigm (pattern) in the positive direction.
The project, under the title, “Enhancing the Protection of the Rights of Women, Girls and Other Discriminated Groups in Liberia,” is being supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) through the Swedish Embassy in Liberia. The cost of the project is US$ 3 million.
In her overview of the project at the official launching ceremony in Gbarnga, the head of program and policy at ActionAid Liberia, Madam Lakshmi Subramani, said the project seeks to ensure that women, girls, and other discriminated groups have improved access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
She said the project started in 2014 but there were delays because of the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus disease in the country.
She explained the project will be implemented in four counties—Bong, Grand Gedeh, Gbarpolu and Montserrado—focusing on girls, young people and other disadvantaged groups, promoting such rights as sexual and re-productive health, as well as building the capacity of civil society organizations and advocacy groups, state and non-state actors, to support government’s effort in ending violence against women and other underprivileged groups.
Madam Subramani maintained that the project also seeks to protect and ensure that violations, including domestic violence, sexual abuse, etc., are minimized.
The ActionAid Program and Policy head pointed out that her organization will also concentrate on harmful traditional practices including female genital mutilation.
The project will also build the capacity of the justice system to adequately respond to justice issues working with forty-five communities with a targeted number of a little over five thousand persons, to be reached during the course of the project using the baseline survey to determine where the gaps and needs are.
For her part, Madam Juanita Ramires, a Commissioner of the National AIDS Commission, who officially launched the project, said if Liberia is to make progress in the fight against gender-based violence, all citizens, irrespective of status, need to join hands in battling the crime.
Madam Ramires observed that if Liberia is to make a difference in its fight against sexual and gender-based violence, it is important for everybody to work together in ensuring that no crime is meted against women and girls.
She further extolled ActionAid for the initiative and SIDA for providing the funding for the project.
Also speaking, Bong County Superintendent Selena Polson Mappy called on Liberian women to protect their girl children and avoid compromising sexual gender based violence offenses.
“Women and girls will have increased protection from all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation through regular monitoring, risk assessment and prevention efforts by parents and state actors,” Superintendent Mappy intoned.