By: Laymah Kollie
Monrovia -December 9,2023-WTVNEWS: Women Rights Activists and Security Apparatus particularly working in the division of Sexual and Gender Based Violence against women and children in the country on Friday December 8,2023 outlined major challenges they face in mitigating SGBV. The women at a day long roundtable dialogue on GBV organized by Foundation for Community Initiatives and partners, highlighted limited safe homes for SGBV survivors, limited resources, mobility, zero safe homes for adult GBV survivors and limited one stop centers amongst others .
2022 SGBV Statistics show the total number of 1,975 cases reported, of this number, 64.4% accounts for rape ( gang rape & sodomy), 33.6% accounts for other forms of GBV while 65% involves Females & under age girls.
Statistics in 2023 from January – August reveal an increase in the number of SGBV cases. In 2023, cases have so far increased to 2,109 GBV.
The ministry of Gender statistics show that 68.5% / amounting for 1,446 accounts for rape and Sodomy and 68 (1,440) accounting for children under 18years old. Nimba, Lofa, Grand Cape Mount and Montserrado Counties reporting the highest numbers.
The occasion was held in observance of the 16 days of Activism under the European Union ENOUGH project. The project which was launched in 2019 is being implemented by Foundation for Community Initiatives, Kids Educational Engagement Project (KEEP); Organization for Women and Children (ORWOCH); Helping Our People Excel (HOPE); Paramount Young Women Initiative (PAYOWI); Westpoint Women and Health Organization (WPWHO). Women Solidarity Inc. (WOSI), Her Voice Liberia (HVL) and Sister Aid Liberia (SALI).
The focus counties are: Sinoe, River Cess, Grand Gedeh, Margibi and Montserrado.
Giving an overview of the dialogue at the start of the occasion, Madam Hawa Dunor-Varney, project coordinator said the event was intended for Rights Activists and Security Apparatus to have a frank conversation on challenges they faced in tackling violence against women and children.
“The objective is to highlight these challenges. It is for us to have a frank conversation on these challenges, gaps in the fight”
The panelists in the discussion were: madam Ne-Suah Beyan Livingstone Executive Director of REACH, madam Tenneh Seah Johnson Ministry of Justice GBV Crimes Unit, Vivian Kanneh from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Nelly S Cooper Executive Director Westpoint Women and Susie T. Telleh Head of Women and Children Protection Liberia National Police.
For Ne-Suah limited safe homes for SGBV survivors, zero safe homes for adult women facing GBV, no education for women and girls in safe homes as major challenges.
“No Safe space for adult women experiencing domestic violence, No school, grant or vocational education for survivors in safe home”
Like Ne-Suah other activists also mentioned the same.
However, for the Liberia National Police division on Children and Social Protection, mobility and low budgetary support is keen.
“ We only have one vehicle for the hold country, sometimes no fuel in it. Our budget is low” Susie said.
Meanwhile, Anna Brzozowska, Team Leader of the Governance European Union gracing the occasion affirmed the EU commitment to fighting GBV in Liberia and the world at large.
“For European Union Gender Equality is a major issue we fight in Europe, we have this approach on gender action plan and this action plan we are trying to implement. We will continue to give our support in mitigating SGBV in Liberia”
The Roundtable Dialogue was graced by beneficiaries of the project and other Human Rights organizations .
FCI was founded to institutionalize women in leadership position at all levels and showcase women’s ingenuity in building and leading an indigenous women institution that is focused on Women Empowerment, Peace Building, Conflict Resolution and Leadership and Governance Issues, especially in the Natural Resource Management (NRM) Sector.
The FCI mission is to promote community based initiatives especially women actions for sustainable community driven development and natural resources management. FCI’s interventions are focused on forest governance and natural resource management in Liberia, with specific focus on increasing the participation of women and youth groups in decision-making, benefit sharing and other management practices.