Liberia, with funding from European Union (EU), has embarked on a campaign for the government through the annual national budgets, to prioritize the tackling of gender-responsive problems, including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), harmful traditional practices and domestic violence.
The campaign formally began with the first training of 40 civil society actors from the 17 electoral districts in Montserrado County.
On Friday, November 22, at the end of a four-day Gender Responsive Planning, Budgeting and Monitoring Training with 40 civil society organizations (CSOs) in Monrovia, UN Women Country Representative, Madam Marie Goreth Nizigama, said gender-responsive budgeting is a part of a global program which aims to strengthen rights initiatives and ending sexual-based violence and harmful traditional practices.
“….we want to end all sorts of sexual-based violence and harmful traditional practices in Liberia, because there are many reports of sexual-based violence and harmful traditional practices (including the FGM),” Madam Goreth said.
She expressed optimism that gender-responsive budget will help to strengthen the fight against ‘gender and societal ills.’
Nizigama said UN Women’s partnership with the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) is a hallmark in ensuring that the capacities of social actors are developed for proper policy planning, to ensure that the CSOs work with the government to consider [inclusive] gender issues in the formulation of the national budget.
She underscored the importance of CSOs which, she said, is vital to ensure that the national budget is more gender-responsive.
Madam Nizigama said CSOs should also be able to analyze the national budget in making sure that it is reflective of gender needs.
“This is the first of many training opportunities we have organized; this training is helpful to address the hindrances of gender, most specifically how the national budget can address some of the hindrances,” she added.
It all started on Tuesday, November 19, when IREDD, in collaboration with UN Women, trained 40 civil society actors in the understanding of the national budget, specifically in the gender-responsive arena.
IREDD Country Director, Harold Aidoo, said the project brought together CSOs from the 17 electoral districts of Montserrado County to build their capacities, with emphasis on the national budget reflective of gender needs.
Aidoo said that strengthening the capacity of CSOs and women’s rights institutions on gender response planning and budgeting will help address many of the difficulties faced in order to meet the needs of women and their male counterparts.
He stressed the need to think outside the box, to be more practical in crafting a national budget that will be gender-responsive.