In an effort to ensure gender responsiveness in the country’s development agenda, and in its quest to promote gender advocacy, medica Liberia (mL) on Wednesday, September 7, 2022 held a one-day stakeholders meeting.
mL is a women’s rights organization operating in five counties in Liberia. The organization offers support to women and girls who have been affected by Sexual Gender Based Violence and has been implementing response and prevention services for survivors of violence since 2006.
The one-day meeting was in continuation of mL and UNDP project titled: “Strengthening women’s rights advocates’ capacities to support the integration of violence against women and girls into county development agendas targeting policymakers and other stakeholders.” It is supported by the Spotlight Initiative of the United Nations with funding from the European Union (EU).
Giving an overview of the UNDP/EU spotlight project, the Country Director of mL, Atty. Yah Vallah Parwon explained that the activity, which is captured under Pillar II of the project, aims to promote women’s rights by providing education on gender issues such as gender inclusiveness and advocacy.
According to her, the project is also geared to address all forms of violence against women and girls as well as harmful practices through a transformative and evidence based approach.
As part of the many activities, she disclosed that mL will strengthen the capacity of 200 females representing grossroot women rights advocates to develop gender mainstreaming strategies and integrate Ending Violence against Women and Girls (EVAWG) in development plans.
“We are also going to empower eight selected women rights groups or women rights defenders with technical capacity and financial resources to implement selected activities from developed GEWE [Gender Equality and Women Empowerment] strategies to prevent and respond to VAWG [violence against women and girls], including sexual gender based violence and other harmful practices [SGBV /HP] and also to promote SRHR [Sexual and reproductive health and rights] for women and girls facing intersecting and multiple forms of discrimination,” stated the women’s rights advocate.
“Also, we are going to provide financial support or resources to eight women’s rights groups to conduct activities geared towards mainstreaming gender in county development plans and processes,” she added.
In remarks, the Deputy Gender Minister Madam Alice Johnson-Howard lauded the mL for the initiative, which according to her, is in the interest of development.
However, she urged the women’s rights group to consider the Ministry in the implementation process or provide outcome/report of project to the Ministry.
By this, Madam Johnson-Howard pointed out will enable government to make informed decision in its policy formulation process and drafting of development plans relative to gender inclusiveness.
Meanwhile, the one-day forum brought together representatives from the Ministries of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Internal Affairs and Finance and Development Planning, the Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL) and other development partners.
There were key presentations by the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Finance and Development that provided insights on critical need for women’s participation and involvement in government’s development planning.