By Tina S. Mehnpaine
UN Women in partnership with the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), have launched a publication titled: “Mapping and Assessing the Gender Responsiveness of Peace Infrastructures in Liberia”.
The overall objective of the study, according to UN Women, was to conduct a mapping exercise of existing peace infrastructures in five targeted counties, namely: Bomi, Lofa, Bong, Grand Gedeh and Grand Bassa, to research their gender responsiveness.
The five counties, according to the publication, were targeted for several reasons, including that they are among those worst affected by the civil wars and they provide a good geographic and demographic sample in terms of the composition of ethnic and religious groups.
The research also assessed the mechanisms of coordination and intersection between the palaver huts and the peace huts and other decentralized peace infrastructures, which should inform the implementation of the recommendations put forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
Speaking at the launch of the document, Dr. Ibrahim Bangura, who authored the publication, said the exercise takes into consideration the locations, composition, capacities, roles and functions undertaken by peacebuilders. He said the document validated a lack of coordination among peacebuilders across the country.
“In some counties, women themselves were spending 300 Liberian Dollars every month to maintain their peace hut,” According to Dr. Bangura.
Assessing gender responsiveness of peace includes whether they are designed to be gender-responsive, the types, level of participation and roles played by women and men, satisfaction with the services received by women and how the structure could be strengthened to be much more gender receptive.
Rev. Bartholomew B. Colley, Acting Chairperson of the INCHR, said the publication will help state actors and partners to improve coordination and strategy to promote peace and support builders across the country. He said most of the peace infrastructures in the counties were gender streaming.
“The INCHR has been very instrumental when it comes to gender mainstreaming building peace infrastructures in districts, towns, villages and clans through the palaver hut meetings. Sangeeta Thapa, Deputy Country Director, UN Women, said her organization is so delighted to be a part of the mapping exercise, validating the huge impact women have made on peace throughout the country. She said during the time of fact-finding, the community plays a major role in building peace and reconciliation, using a gender-sensitive approach. “Over the years, we have supported peace infrastructures, especially the peace huts in the counties. We are glad that the studies succeeded in engaging all of the peace infrastructures because they are vital and they contribute significantly to peace and stability in the communities.”