Amid the Global campaign against Violence against women, OXFAM Liberia along with six (6) key partners has joined the campaign with the formulation of strategies to ensure women and girls are free from violence.
Liberia as a country is currently striving to achieve goals on protecting women and girls from SGBV and other forms of violence especially the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls, UN1325 and among others.
As it stands, cases of SGBV are on an alarming rate in the country as efforts are being made by the government, local and international partners to help fight forward.
Liberia is currently completing several criteria as part of the Global campaign ranging from researching the root causes of violence against women, country’s strategy to guide the campaign among others.
The Global campaign named “Enough” seeks to protect women and girls from all forms of violence and ensure sustained strategies to combat SGVB.
As part of Liberia’s obligation, OXFAM Liberia with support from the Dutch government has concluded three-day training reviewing key findings from the research with civil society actors, gender advocates, and while also focusing on creating sensitive messages, find out root causes of VAWG and ensure the implementation of the strategy throughout Liberia.
According to the Oxfam program coordinator for Funding Leadership Opportunities for Women under which the VAWG campaign being implemented, Madam Beatrice Newland, violence trend against women and girls in Liberia calls for proactive actions to ensure a society free and paramount livelihood.
Madam Newland noted that the local campaign will go beyond the normal messaging on SGBV awareness and tackle key social norms that undermines the fight against women and girls.
“Dress code has been earmarked as some of the social norms that are pointed to as some of the root causes, so we have designed messages that will be reviewed to move on with the campaign”, she said.
Madam Newland believes that if social norms are addressed it will help to change people’s perception of women and girls in the society which will contribute immensely to the campaign.
“This campaign will go on a step-by-step basis which will start in places that OXFAM is working which include Monrovia, Montserrado, Sinoe, and Grand Gedeh Counties respectively and the next step will take on other counties”.
Several key activists, advocates and organizations were a part of the research revision workshop in which they designed campaign messages targeting young people between the ages of 12-35 with the hope of impacting, changing perception to end Violence Against Women and Girls in Liberia.
Andrew Dean, Secretary General of the Sociology and Anthropology students Association of the University of Liberia stated that the achievement of the country’s strategy on the global stage requires commitment and collaboration throughout Liberia.
He expressed joy at being one the many HeForShe’s who believe that championing women and girls rights will hugely impact the country’s development and ensure peace.”We must begin to see women differently in Liberia and not as causes of SGBV”.
Also Speaking Paramount Young Women Initiative Program Manager Hawa Wilson urged the continuance of further education on women and girls rights; this she believes will help the campaign and enable ownership of the process.
“Currently PAYOWI is involved with young women and girls in schools and at the community level teaching them their rights; ways to detect abuse among others”, Hawa said.
Speaking further Girls for Change Executive Director Ora Barclay Kelleh pointed out that civil society and government must ensure that passage of stronger laws to protect women and girls in the country.
Ora runs an organization that caters to young women and girls at the community level, which currently runs 9 health clubs in school educating youths on healthy living etc.
“Though violence against women and girls existed long ago I believe awareness and information have helped significantly in addressing SGBV as a country”, Ora noted.
The Ministry of Gender 2017 statistics showed a total of almost 900 sexual and Gender-Based Violence cases reported, of which more than 500 were rape cases, and 475 involved children.
President George Weah in one his latest statements acknowledged the increasing number of violence against women and pledged his government’s commitment to ensuring the full protection women and girls; securing more funding to allow the rape court to operate on a yearly basis which will fast track cases while serving justice to survivors.