With funding from UNDP (United Nations Development Programme)/UNMIL (United Nations Mission in Liberia) joint Rule of Law program, Rural Integrated Center for Community Empowerment (RICCE), a local non-governmental organization (NGO) has conducted series of training workshops for locals along the Liberia/Ivory Coast border as a means of accelerating the access to justice project for survivors of “sexual violence,” particularly rape victims, a release has said.
According to the release, survivors of sexual violence in Buu-Yao and Gbehlay Geh districts, in Nimba County, seek legal redress through the strengthening of effective community response mechanisms and pro bono (free) legal support for rape survivors.
The primary focus of this project is to contribute and strengthen the rule of law, to meet the urgent needs of women and children facing sexual violence to seek legal redress.
During the project, RICCE will carry out community outreach activities that are designed to spread awareness of sexual violence as the most serious form of violence against women and children, and to mobilize stakeholders involvement in ending violence against them.
They will also build the capacity of women’s groups in the two districts, to lead community awareness and advocacy on women’s rights.
The training, which was recently held in Dinplay Town, Buu-Yao Administrative District, brought together 61 participants, including health workers, town chiefs, quarter chiefs, youth, representatives of community watch forums, school teachers and religious leaders.
The participants also included paramount chiefs and town chiefs representing Buutuo, Nyor-Diaplay, Nyor-Gomahplay, Glarlay and Dinplay.
“The project aims to tackle cultural norms and traditional practices, while working to minimize all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls in Buu-Yao and Gbehlay-Geh. For this reason, RICCE is conducting this training workshop for stakeholders to build their capacity on how to seek justice for the victims,” said Lareta George, RICCE Gender officer.
“This training is also intended to create awareness among stakeholders and service providers on the prevention of Sexual and Gender Based Violence [SGBV] and for adequate and timely response through referral networks to relevant service providers, most especially with cases of rape,” said RICCE executive director Salome Gofan.
“We are also mobilizing stakeholders involvement and commitment by developing an action plan to prevent and respond to SGBV issues in their communities,” Madam Gofan said.
The training manual took into consideration child rights, inheritance law, rape law, criminal procedure law, with an overview of SGBV concept, such as consequences and causes of SGBV, power and consent, and referral pathway.