MONROVIA, Liberia, June 7, 2018/ — ActionAid Liberia, with financial support from the European Union, and in collaboration with its implementing partner, Community HealthCare Initiative launched a three-year project on 8 May 2018, entitled “Enhanced Protection from Sexual Gender Based Violence for Women, girls and sexual minorities in Liberia”. This new initiative is a comprehensive approach to addressing sexual gender based violence (SGBV) in Liberia through prevention and support at community level and enhanced response from providers (legal, health, education, gender) to survivors. By the end of the implementation period, the project is expected to contribute to a more gender sensitive society, benefiting at least 6000 women, girls and sexual minorities in eight communities across three counties of Margibi, Gbarpolu, and Montserrado.

The initiative, funded by European Union, seeks to improve protection from sexual violence and other forms of GBV including rape, domestic violence, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation for women and girls in Liberia and assist survivors. The project will facilitate the social, legal and economic empowerment of women, girls and sexual minorities and enable community leaders and local authorities to take actions to increase access to justice for survivors. It will use a range of strategies including advocacy for implementation of laws protecting women, girls and other groups from SGBV; strengthening community and national mechanisms to support SGBV survivors; and capacity development of local civil society and other stakeholders.

In the course of 2018, the project is working with 440 women, girls and sexual minorities to lead on advocacy demand for protection from sexual violence and other forms of SGBV within their communities while gaining economic independence. Project is also enriching the knowledge of 120 traditional and religious leaders across the eight communities to improve the efficiency of community justice structures to prevent and or respond to SGBV cases at community level. In the three counties, 150 SGBV duty bearers from the health, justice, gender, and education sectors and 10 Liberian media organizations (online, print and radio) will also be engaged in capacity building activities to enhance their ability to perform their duties in a more coordinated and gender responsive way. Emphasis will be placed on promoting an inclusive multi-stakeholder cooperation and civil society dialogue that builds on existing platforms and informs collective actions, including national advocacy campaigns to influence the improvement of policies to help prevent SGBV in Liberia. With this support from the European Union, ActionAid and partner, CHI, seeks to ensure that demands from women, girls and sexual minorities engaged in this action is sustained beyond the project to support the full realization of the rights of all women, girls and sexual minorities in Liberia.

The project will be implemented in the following communities: Banjor, Caldwell and Low-Cost Village in Montserrado County; Kpan’s Town and Larkayta in Margibi County, Gbellekpalamu, Gbarqueta and Smith Town in Gbarpolu County.

The project will work with the following line ministries: Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Justice (specifically, Sex Crimes Unit, Human Rights Division, Women and Children Protection Section.

Strategic stakeholders of the project include the Association of Female Lawyers in Liberia (AFELL), the FGM Working Group, and Liberia’s Initiative for the Promotion of Rights, Identity and Diversity (LIPRIDE), Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL), and Liberian Women Media Action Committee (LIWOMAC).

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