A group of Civil Societies Organizations (CSOs) has called on the government to put in place some plans to recognize and prioritize the needs of people in vulnerable situations including women, children, elderly, people with disabilities, people with compromised health, people living in rural communities, homeless people, survivors of violence and people living in poverty as well as people living in under-served communities.
The CSOs said, “Importantly, we urged the government to adopt an integrated gender-based approach into the response plan to address the special needs of women, girls and violence occurring during this outbreak and have a robust response mechanism in place.”
The group said COVID-19 pandemic has a disproportionately harmful impact on women’s and girls’ ability to enjoy their human rights and the severity of domestic violence, including intimate partner violence, against women and children will probably surge as tensions rise during this crisis.
“We would like to urge the government of Liberia through the Ministries of Justice, Gender Children and Social Protection, Health and Security apparatus to provide accessible space and increase response to the spate of violence against women and girls during and after the State of Emergency,” the release said.
The group in a release issued on Thursday, April 16, 2020, said they look forward to seeing a multi-sectoral national COVID-19 response plan because CSOs have an integral role to play, adding that collective action will be key to kicking COVID-19 out of Liberia.
They said as CSOs, they remain apprehensive and extremely concerned over several issues in the Government-led national response.
“In these extremely critical and life-threatening moments, a comprehensive national response is crucial in defeating COVID-19,” the release said.
They urged the Government to develop and deliver a unified national response based on expertise and not driven by partisan politics.
According to the CSOs, the government response should be driven by experts and appointments be made based on merit and not party or personal loyalty and called on the mandated institutions to provide clear, complete, correct and consistent information on COVID-19 national response including testing and contact tracing.
“This does not mean that actions and decisions should go unchallenged,” the release said, “healthy opposition is key to a healthy democracy.”
The CSOs said the public at this difficult junction needs the government to be transparent and truthful about life-saving and other assistance such as food relief, non-food items.
The CSOs group that signed the release are; Foundation for Community Initiative (FCI), Organization for Women and Children (ORWOCH), Sisters Aid Liberia Incorporated (SALI), Paramount Young Women Initiative (PYWI), Helping Our People Excel (HOPE), Community Healthcare Initiative (CHI), South Eastern Women Development Association (SEWoDA), United Youth for Peace Education, Transparency and Development in Liberia Livelihood Development Center (LDC), Restoring Our Children Hope (ROCH), Westpoint Women for Health &Development Organization (WWHDO) and the National Union of Organizations on Disabilities (NUOD).
Others include Natural Resources Women Platform (NRWP), Her Voice Liberia Rural Education Sponsorship Enhancing Communities Together (RESPECT), and National Institute for Public Opinion and Kids Educational Engagement Project (NIPPO) Kids Education Empowerment Program.