Spotlight Initiative Activity

-Engages Religious, Traditional Leaders On Human Rights/GBV Through OHCHR

Pictorial view of the traditional and cultural leaders following the training

The Liberian Women Empowerment Network (LIWEN), a conglomeration of people living with HIV (PLHIV) comprising women and girls, has concluded a project focusing on training cultural and religious leaders on ending violence against women and girls with support from the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR).

Implemented under the title,Advancing Rights and Opportunities for Women and Girls in Liberia”, the project trained traditional and religious leaders, advocates, women groups and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to encourage the utilization of the formal legal framework to protect Women and Girls against Sexual and Gender Based Violence  in Montserrado, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Nimba and Grand Gedeh counties.

In her facilitation in Tienii, Grand Cape Mount County, the Executive Director of LIWEN Cecelia K. R. Cole said the training which targeted 25 participants, benefited 32 participants due to expressed interest.

During this training, the facilitator presented on the importance of traditional and religious leaders in preventing SGBV in Liberia with one of the five Spotlight Counties which Grand Cape Mount is part.

Madam Cole who Co-facilitated with Tienii district Commissioner Jenebah said cultural and traditional leaders play a very important role in the community in placing emphasis on the attitude and cultural belief of the citizens regarding SGBV and other harmful traditional practices.

Madam Cole urged the cultural and traditional leaders to use the knowledge acquired from the training to build networks to promote positive value for women and girls in their Communities.

She wants the participants work closely with the women and children Division of the Liberia National police and health care workers in reporting search cases to prevent SGBV/GBV.

Speaking at the training, the head of the Tienii district Platform for Dialogue and also member of the spotlight SGBV Task force in Grand Cape Mounty County, Melvin B. Kamara told the participants there is an increase of SGBV in Grand Cape Mount County, saying this does not speak well for the county.

“As traditional and religious leaders, we need to collaborate to prevent SGBV in our county.  As part of effort to address SGBV issues we meet in our coordination meeting every last Saturday in a month. The meeting is all about giving updates on what is happening in communities on SGBV/GBV to be able to find a way on reporting and preventing cases,” Mr. Kamara said.

Madam Pauline D. Nimbe, County Social Welfare Supervisor of Gender in Grand Cape Mount County informed the traditional and religious leaders that “for us to have reduction in SGBV cases we need to work together to have these cases reported”.

In remarks, the traditional and religious leaders thanked LIWEN for the training because they were able to understand the deference between GBV and SGBV.

The traditional leaders promised to join the campaign in working along with the police and health workers in reporting SGBV/GBC cases in the county.

In their recommendations the cultural and traditional leaders called for more training and awareness to prepare them and that; the training and awareness should be done on the laws that protect women and girls against SGBV.
Established in 2016, LIWEN as a member of LIPRIDE Coalition that seeks to deal Human Base Approached. As part of activities, it provides the opportunity for psychosocial, drug adherence, and microfinance support to its members for economic empowerment.

It has a membership is approximate 5,000 from the fifteen sub-division of Liberia.

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