Southeast: Fifty young women in Maryland and River-Gee counties have benefited from a two day training on the Violence Against Women in Elections (VAWiE) Protocol ahead of Liberia’s General and Presidential elections.
The training organised by Naymote Partners for Democratic Development was funded by the Peace Building fund through UN Women Liberia as part of increasing awareness on women’s Political Participation and Violence Against Women in elections and Politics.
The two day training brought together participants from civil society organisations, local authorities, People living disabilites and members of the National Young Women Political Council.
The VAWiE Protocol defines violence against women in politics as any act or threat against women in politics, women activists, women socialists as well as women candidates.The document was signed by the National Elections Commission (NEC) and Political parties executives on February 18, 2022 with support from UN Women.
At the start of the two days training, Naymote Liberia Gender coordinator, Faith Smith said based on the underrepresentation of women in the Legislature and local government, Naymote is promoting inclusive political participation and the elimination of violence against women in election and politics.
Faith said those trained will carry out awareness on the prevention of violence against women in political and electoral processes using the door to door, town hall meetings, radio talk shows and community engagement approaches.
The training aimed at building the capacity of Naymote’s mentees and CSOs on the protocol who will in return educate more young people to adhere to the document.
Local authorities from both counties applauded Naymote – Liberia for taking on such educative activity and promised to do more engaging using the VAWiE protocol especially during the upcoming General election.
“This can only be a reality when all Liberians both men and women have equal opportunities to engage in the electoral processes as voters, candidates, electoral staffs or simply supporters of a political parties”, National Elections Commission (NEC) deputy magistrate assigned in River-Gee county Joseph Saylee noted.
However, local authorities also promised to work with the media to promote and raise awareness on the privileged access of special group which include female electorates, pregnant women, breast feeding Mothers, the elderly and people living with disabilities.
“LNP will ensure women aspirants and candidates are also protected as provided for by the VAWiE protocol, stereotyping of all kind against women in election will be strictly prohibited ensuring that everyone has access” LNP local deputy commander of Police in River-Gee County, Mr. Youlue Collins said.
“We agreed that the police shall enforce the SOP by ensuring priority is given to female electorates pregnant women, breast feeding Mothers, Elder and people living with disabilities during election period”. LNP deputy commander of Police in Maryland county Layee M. Massaley also added.
The 50 young women and CSOs trained have vowed to go back in their different communities to create awareness on the Protocol and as well monitor electoral activities to ensure the Protocol is ahead to and implemented by all parties in Liberia.
According to the Gender local coordinator in Rivergee Veronica Dalieh “Women are facing too many challenges in terms of leadership in our counties, the level and forms of violence women go through in election can not be over emphasised, culture and societal barriers have hugely impacted women’s leadership and political participation”.
The training was followed by massive awareness on various high schools campuses in Maryland and River-gee on the VAWiE Protocol and radio talk show held on radio Gee and radio Phoenix the voice of Tubman University.
Women in Liberia account for at least fifty percent of the population but they are underrepresented in the body politics of the country. Currently, there are nine (9) women out of 73 members at the House of Representatives, and two (2) women out of 30 at the Liberian Senate.