MONROVIA-Fifty (50) young women in Maryland and River-Gee Counties have benefited from two days of training on the WAWiE Protocol ahead of Liberia’s Legislative and Presidential Elections.
The training was organized by Naymote Partners for Democratic Development funded by the Peace Building Fund through UN Women Liberia as part of increasing awareness of women’s Political Participation and Violence Against Women in elections and Politics.
The two-day training brought together participants from civil society organizations, local authorities, People living with disabilities, and members of the National Young Women Political Council.
WAWIE/P is Violence against Women in Elections and Politics. The 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 party 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 that based on the under-representation of women in the legislature and local government, her institution under the project is promoting inclusive political participation and the elimination of violence against women in elections and politics.
Madam Smith said those trained will carry on 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 approach.
Ms. Faith further said the objective of the training is to build the capacity of Naymote’s mentees and CSOs on the protocol who will in return educate more young people to adhere to the document.
The 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.
NEC’s Deputy Magistrate assigned in River-Gee County, Joseph Saylee said “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 political parties”.
The local authorities also promised to work with the media to promote and raise awareness of the privileged access of special groups which include female electorates, pregnant women, breastfeeding 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 an 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, breastfeeding Mothers, Elder, and people living with disabilities during the 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 to their different communities to create awareness of the Protocol and as well monitor electoral activities to ensure the Protocol is ahead and implemented by all parties in Liberia.
According to the Gender local coordinator in River Gee Veronica Dialleh said “Women are facing too many challenges in terms of leadership in our counties, the level and forms of violence women go through in election cannot be overemphasized, culture and societal barriers have hugely impacted women’s leadership and political participation”.
The training was followed by massive awareness on various high school 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 in the House of Representatives, and two (2) women out of 30 in the Liberian Senate.