Government of Liberia and the Spotlight Initiative launch community engagement campaign to prevent violence against women and girls
Date: Friday, May 15, 2020
As part of its continuous efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls in Liberia, the Spotlight Initiative is supporting the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Council of Chiefs and Elders to launch a campaign for monitoring the implementation of the Ganta Declaration which calls for a one-year suspension of all Sande society activities; and to raise awareness among communities on measures to prevent the spread of corona virus and respond to sexual and gender based violence.
The Ganta Declaration signed on 25 June 2019 calls for a one-year suspension of Sande society and bush school activities, where young women and girls are initiated into adulthood through a series of activities including Female Genital Mutilation.
“We hope the closure of the bush schools will pave the way for the elimination of all harmful practices against women and girls in Liberia,” says Marie Goreth Nizigama, UN Women Country Representative for Liberia. “As the custodians of culture and traditional practices, traditional leaders play an important role in ending all forms of violence against women and girls. We commend the European Union and the Government of Liberia for providing the platform to eliminate harmful practices.”
To enable traditional leaders to reach the grassroot communities, UN Women within the framework of the Spotlight Initiative is donating ten motorbikes to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Council of Chiefs and Elders to facilitate the monitoring of the closure of the bush schools and alternative livelihood support.
“We commend the Spotlight Initiative for the provision of motorbikes to enable the Ministry to enforce its mandate to close bush schools and to help eliminate violence against women and girls in the communities,” says Honourable Varney Sirleaf, Minister of Internal Affairs.
Additionally, in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic affecting Liberia, the traditional leaders will raise awareness on the virus and its implications on sexual and gender-based violence in eight counties, including Grand Gedeh, Nimba, Lofa, Montserrado, Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Bong and Margibi Counties.
COVID-19 conditions are putting a lot of people under strain and increasing the risk of violence against women and girls. The Spotlight Initiative urges the Government of Liberia and civil society actors to provide a comprehensive response with interventions to prevent violence against women and girls, says Theodorus Kaspers, Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation in Liberia.
The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations. In Liberia, the Initiative seeks to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls including Female Genital Mutilation.