Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation, Madam Isabela Löven, has disclosed that her government’s assistance to Liberia will now be directed toward post-Ebola recovery activities.
According to Madam Löven, the deadly Ebola virus “exposed a lot of weaknesses,” so her government will be looking at new post-Ebola development cooperation strategies.
However, the Swedish Minister emphasized that their focus will still remain on gender equality, which she termed as being a “very fundamental thing” for the Swedish Government.
Ms. Löven spoke to journalists Wednesday, February 18, after touring two Paynesville City health facilities, which cater to survivals and victims of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV).
Speaking at the Hope for Women International Liberia, despite Minister Löven telling reporters that she was impressed with what her government had done at both centers, including the Duport Road SBGV One Stop Center, she, however, stated, “But also my impression is that the needs are also overwhelming when it comes to sexual and gender-based violence. I think this is a huge problem here in Liberia; it needs to be addressed not only to take care of the victims but also to use every mean to discuss why this sexual-based violence is so common.”
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Minister who said her country’s government is the second largest development cooperation bilateral donor to Liberia, stated that while they are still focusing on gender equality, they are going to join the Liberian Government take the discussion further on how to prevent rape, sexual-based violence and domestic violence. She cited legislation as one thing that can be done to prevent SGBV.
She emphasized: “We must see gender equality in order to see real development in the world.”
Asked as to what message she would take back to her boss, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, she said: “My message back to my Prime Minister would be that Sweden is making an important contribution here in Liberia to address the acute and emergency situation for women, who have suffered sexual-based violence.”
Ms. Löven stated that the world needs men like her Prime Minister, who, according to her, say, ‘violence against women is not okay; it’s nothing with being a real man.’