President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Friday received two senior United Nations officials at her Foreign Affairs Ministry Office in Monrovia. The two officials, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngoka, Executive Director of UN Women and Mrs. Zainab Bangura, SRSG for Sexual Violence in Conflict, are currently visiting Liberia.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the UN Women Executive Director briefed President Sirleaf about current and pending programs of the UN entity in Liberia that focus on women. Some of the programs include a 5-year Community Sanitation
Facilities Program aimed at building sanitation infrastructures by women for women with support from Sweden and Canada, the conclusion of pending market projects in Lofa, Bong and Grand Cape Mount, among others.
Madam Ngoka told President Sirleaf that about 50 women are already in training for the Sanitation Facilities Program and called for attention to be given to women’s political participation as the country moves towards the 2017 General and Presidential Elections
She also called for partnership with a French Engineering Company to train women in road construction and other forms of civil works as a way of empowerment and advancement. Madam Ngoka also requested President Sirleaf to help seek China’s increased role and support for programs that target women and their development.
She personally and passionately appealed to President Sirleaf not to leave the global stage after her tenure as President of Liberia. “Madam President, we need you, the world needs you… and so please remain on the global stage after your Presidency,” she concluded.
For her part, the SRSG for Sexual Violence in Conflict, Bangura, expressed grief about the increased rate of rape and other forms of violence against women and called for increased action and support to end the menace.
She praised Liberia for putting in place the required institutional and legal frameworks to combat rape and violence against women, but noted that these alone cannot yield the needed results without global support to the fight. She promised to pay more attention to the situation in Liberia.
President Sirleaf called for a comprehensive and consolidated proposal for global support to address gender-based violence, including rape. She thanked the two United Nations officials and their respectively institutions for being engaged with the battle to end violence against women, particularly rape and committed her government to the fight.
The Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) in Liberia, Ambassador Farid Zarif, and Mr. Innocent Balemba Zahinda, Team Leader for Rule of Law and Sexual Violence in Conflict, joined Ms. Bangura at the meeting with President Sirleaf, which was also attended by Liberia’s Solicitor General Cllr. Betty Larmin Blamo and the Deputy Minister for Social Welfare at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Lydia Sherman.