Tear Fund Unveils Reports on Ebola, SGBV

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Gender Minister Julia Duncan-Cassell and the head of Tear Fund, Richard Onega

British charity organization Tear Fund has introduced a qualitative report on sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) and Ebola virus recovery programs.

The report revealed that there is still a degree of impunity   for men who perpetrate violence and abuse against others, including women and children.

The report disclosed that survivors of SGBV are still stigmatized in society.

According to the charity’s report on SGBV, patriarchal norms informed by religion and culture still dominate people’s world views and informed opinions and perspectives on gender relations and SGBV.

The report further revealed that patriarchal norms are accepted with scant consideration of the possibility of any change to the status quo.

The report stressed the need for faith communities to play a key role in the response to SGBV, saying that their capacity for the task is inadequate.

The report also revealed that this incapacity includes the lack of both adequate and up to date theological and theoretical knowledge beyond their church practices and doctrines, and the requisite knowledge of practices and strategies in the gender equality/women’s rights sector.

The charity asserted that poverty overshadows almost everything else in communities and relegates gender issues to secondary concerns.

The charity has forwarded several recommendations aimed at addressing SGBV in Liberia.

Among them is shifting the dominant negative gender norms that still view men as leaders with women as subservient, and that promoting gender equality requires an intervention that focuses on women.

Sexual and gender based violence against women and children is primarily a result of the unequal power relationship between men and women.

The charity envisaged an intervention to transform masculinity that should be accountable to women’s rights struggle, and promote empowerment programs  Introducing the report, Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cassell called on partners to coordinate efforts to ensure the fight against SGBV is successful.

She said SGBV in Liberia is alarming and there is a need for stakeholders to be proactive in solving SGBV related issues in Liberia.

Minister Cassell used the occasion to appeal to the National Legislature to pass the Domestic Violence Act.

She said when the act is passed; it will put in place proper measures in the fight against SGBV.

Cassell commended Tear Fund and other partners for introducing the report describing it as a tool that will give a clear picture of the SGBV situation in Liberia.

The charity has also released a report on Ebola with the aim of establishing Ebola recovery policies in Liberia.

The Ebola research report is also intended to evaluate support received in practical terms by survivors and other affected persons, and record lessons learnt for recovery periods in future health emergencies.

Deputy Health Minister Dr. Francis Kateh said the foundation of a good health service delivery system is cardinal for the community.

Dr. Kateh noted that the community plays a pivotal role in ensuring that they appreciate services rendered them by health workers.

He said if the community appreciates the services provided, then the issue of resilience will be of paramount concern to the community.

The Deputy Health Minister stressed the need for robust awareness with the aim of educating community members about health services.

Part of the findings released by the charity group on Ebola is to produce a recovery policy that will inform communities of their rights in a timely manner.

The charity also stressed the need for the dissemination of information as part of other key recommendations.

The launch brought together several international partners and local groups.

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