By: Jerromie S. Walters
Oldest Congo Town, Liberia: In an effort to combat the rapid increase in sexual and Gender based violence related issues in Liberia, a conglomeration of Civil Society Organizations have launched the Liberia Civil Society Gender Based Violence (GBV) coalition.
The Coalition envisage a Liberia in which women and girls can live, grow, work safe and free of gender based violence and biases. It’s main aim is to also ensure a national wide coalition advocating for positive change, as well as the protection and empowerment of women and girls at all levels.
Giving the overview at the Coalition’s launch, the Chief Executive Officer of Her Voice Liberia Cllr. Margret M. Nigba said that the Coalition primarily seeks to address three focus areas which basically includes: Coordination, Advocacy, & Data Management.
She further emphasized that the most intrinsic purpose of the Coalition is to bring organizations together with like minds in the fight against Gender Based Violence.
Delivering the Keynote address at the occasion, Plan Liberia country Director proxy Mr. Adolphus T. Gblosor stressed the need for a stronger fight against GBV, with a clearer and genuine motive, void of hidden agenda or just to be seen in the spotlight. He believes the rights and space of women and girls are under attack, as such; the fight against GBV needs more hands on deck.
Mr. Gblosor highlighted the significance of collective action of CSOs and activists to challenge gender discriminatory laws and policies and remove structural frameworks that exclude or discriminate against women and girls, especially those from rural and slum communities, and those with disabilities. He furthered that women and girls including persons of disabilities must have equal political representation and participation in leadership and decision making, and just access to resources, protection and justice.
“We must nurture an inclusive society where girls can grow up to know and believe that they have equal rights that are guaranteed in law, respected by communities and men and boys and that they can be all that they wish to be in a society that empowers them and gives them opportunities to attain a brighter future,” he intruded.
At the same time, Bong County District 6 Representative Moima Briggs-Mensah while officially launching the coalition, professed that the establishment of the group is timely, especially as it seems to cordially address the many issues women and girls are confronted with.
Hon. Briggs-Mensah, being a Lawmaker from rural Liberia, assured her commitment to the network in kicking against all forms of violence against women and girls, specifically from her county where several issues of sexual and Gender based violence against women are reported. As a member of the women legislative caucus, the Bong County Lawmaker assured the Women Legislative Caucus willingness to the coalition.
In a brief deliberation, the Rainbow initiative (A CSO solely operating in Sierra Leone) alluded that the fight against GBV can not be fought by a single NGO or CSo, as such; organizations need to conglomerate in kicking against the dreadful nightmare.
The Rainbow Initiative further asserted that it strongly requires commitment, sharing information, and using evidence to ensuring a better result.
The launch of the GBV Coalition also recognized the commitment of several individuals from across Liberia, who have championed the cause of GBV issues in Liberia, as well as international NGOs that have been fast sighted through the availability of the needed funds for organizations that have been kicking against GBV.
The Coalition’s award captured Satta Fofana Saah, Nelly S. Cooper, Martha Karnga, and Mrs. Ne-Suah M. B. Livingstone as National GBV champions. The European Union, Swedish Embassy, Irish Aid, and USAID were also honored with a certificate of recognition for their commitment over the years.
Liberia CSOs GBV Coalition (CSOsGBVC) member Organizations agreed to work together to solve problems, share knowledge, cultivate best practice and foster innovation.
The coalition constitutes several CSOs including: Her Voice Liberia, Foundation For Human and Democracy (FORD), National Civil Society Council, Rainbow initiative, Liberia Association of Female Sociologists (LAFSO), National Institute for Public Opinion (NIPO), Foundation of Community Initiative, Women Solidarity INC, (WOSI), West Point Women for Health and Development Organization (WPWHDO), and the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA).