By: Laymah Kollie:
Liberia: Medica Liberia in partnership with Progress and Opportunities for Women’s Empowerment and Rights (POWER Liberia) with support from the UN Secretary General Peace building Funds through UN Women and UNDP has concluded a two day capacity building for over twenty (20) elections Observers and Monitors on Violence Against Women in Elections/Politics and the tracking of these instances.
The training aimed at strengthening the capacity of monitors to detect and report any infractions in the electoral process that will hinder the participation of women and female candidates and how the various elements of the process affect women. The project is intended to increase women’s participation in elections, politics, public life, and peace-building mechanisms. Observers/monitors will evaluate how various aspects of the elections affect men and women in different ways.
Remarking at the start of the training, Medica Liberia head of programs, Madam Mbalu Winnie Jusu told participants that the training was meant to advance their skills in monitoring and making sure that Liberia host a free fair and transparent elections.
She further that their commitment to independence during these elections will demonstrate their dedication to a democratic and inclusive society.
“ We are gather here today to provide you with additional knowledge and skills necessary to fulfill a crucial role in ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections. As election monitors, you play a key role in upholding democratic principles, and promoting the rights of all individuals especially women to participate in the political affairs of Liberia.
Your commitment to independent oversight demonstrates your dedication to a democratic and inclusive society. Throughout this training, we will dig into the essential aspects of monitoring and observing elections, empowering you with the tools to make a meaningful impact”, Madam Jusu said .
She however cautioned participants that they will work collectively to achieve a free, fair and transparent elections in the country.
“ Together, we will work towards free, fair and credible elections that reflect the will of the people and contribute to a brighter future for Liberia”, she noted.
Also, serving as lead facilitator Mr. Oscar Bloh, Head of the Election Coordinating Committee (ECC) stressed the importance of the training.
Mr. Bloh stated that violence against women in past elections have not fully been documented, as such, creating making it difficult to follow up on these cases.
“The training is important, because in the past like 2005, 2011 elections violence against women were not fully documented and it makes it difficult to follow up on cases of such”.
Meanwhile, participants lauded the organizers for the opportunity and promised to gradually track all forms of violence against women and men in the general elections. Elections Observers and Monitors were drawn from LEON, ECC, WANEP, ABIC, WONGOSOL NAYMOTE PBO and ORWOCH.
Medica Liberia and POWER Liberia are rights based organizations that promote female political participation and justice.
However, as women continue to face all forms of violence in elections and politics, Civil Society Actors, International Partners and the Elections Commission continue to formulate means of creating a safe space for female politicians.
In 2022, political parties and the National Elections Commission signed on to a framework to protect women and girls against all forms of electoral violence. The VAWIEP Protocol seeks to prevent and protect women politicians in the elections.