Barely two weeks after the planned June 7 ‘peaceful protest’ that brought the country to a standstill, the Council of Patriots (CoP) has called on President George Weah to remove the First Lady, Clar M. Weah and what they have called other ‘unqualified partisans’ of the ruling establishment from the national budget.
At a news conference on Wednesday, June 19 in Monrovia, CoP’s spokesperson, Henry Pedro Costa, said government’s failure to adhere to the CoP’s mandate will lead to continued street protests against the Weah administration.
Costa: “We are counting the days, and will get there again on day 2 of the protest, and this time, unending days until President Weah can adhere to the CoP’s demands. The President does not need a round table to publish his assets, which file is with the General Auditing Commission, the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission, restructuring of the TEMT, and the conduct of a criminal investigation into the misuse of the US$25 million mop-up fund.”
“The CoP understands that many Liberians are about to experience a huge pay cut of over 63 percent of whatever their salaries are but, sadly, this is going to be the second cut of salary in less than a year. This so-called exercise coincides with 26.5 percent food inflation, and an overall inflation of 23.3 percent, putting us among the countries with highest rates of inflation in a year,” Costa said.
According to him, food inflation means the price for the things we can eat, including rice, oil, pepper, etc will go up by 26.5 percent from what the cost is; and when things prices are going up, it does not make broad sense to reduce salaries. When you reduce salaries, you are undermining the people’s ability to spend and as well improve their lives.
The CoP’s statement further called on the government to put an immediate freeze on all new employment across government to stop ballooning the payroll; remove from the payroll the names of the thousands of unqualified partisans the government recruited, “but actually have no work to do in those ministries and agencies.”
“The government should then do a payroll audit with the aim of having an actual appreciation of the size of the payroll, and identifying and removing ghosts from the payroll. The government should then do skills audit determining current capacity with the goal of removing the names of some of the unqualified folks taking paychecks, and centralize all employment related matters concerning civil servants through the Civil Service Agency,” Mr. Costa said.
He said the Liberian people did not elect the CDC led-government to pay its partisans, but that “only a few people work for the government, so it is wrong for the government to use all the taxes to just pay a few people, because they are loyal to the president.”
“As we speak, all the hospitals cannot even receive their monthly supply of drugs, and other medical consumables, fuel among several things. In some cases, patients have to buy fuel for the running of the hospital’s power supply,” Costa said.
He added, “We find it very surprising that since the CoP submitted the petition to the president’s office on June 11, 2019, signed for by Vera Parker, a staff at the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs, we have not even received an acknowledgement of communication.”
“Today is Day 8 of that deadline with 20 more days remaining. We want the application of the same energy used to remove Kabineh Ja’neh to get his folks to pass into law the domestic violence bill and publicly commit to adequate funding Criminal Court E; make a bold declaration of auditing the legislature this year and halting the attempts by his party lawmakers to make rape offenses bailable,” he said.
“Today, CoP focuses on several issues bordering on the state of our governance, which we find extremely concerning, and need our immediate action. We will first speak to the so called payroll harmonization intended to reduce salaries of civil servants, and other professional Liberians just to accommodate the thousands of unqualified and inexperienced partisans of the ruling party,” Mr. Costa said.
He said if the ability to spend is being reduced, then the government is putting strains on the economy, especially hurting the cost of living, small and medium enterprises, and overall increasing the suffering of the very poor people, who the pro-poor agenda is meant to help.
“The civil servants and other Liberians employed with the government should not be made to bear the pain for the very government’s own problem it created,” Mr. Costa said.
He said in January, 2018, the government incurred a wage bill of US$297 million, but instead of taking actual steps to reduce the wage bill, “the government and its surrogates employed their unqualified partisans, and gave them salaries higher than the real professionals they met in the civil service and in government.”
With just three weeks to the end of this year’s academic calendar, many public schools in Bong County are reportedly not certain as to whether they would resume classes after the break, because there are reports of a diminished number of trained teachers.
Already some of the public schools have closed down primarily due to shortage of trained teachers in the schools.
An investigation conducted by the Daily Observer on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, established that in the Suakoko and Sanoyea School Districts, the Raymond Town, Waymue and Piata Public Schools have closed down due to the lack of teachers.
Wallee Brown, 61, principal and registrar, as well as a classroom teacher providing instruction from the nursery thru the sixth grade classes at the Piata Public School, told the Daily Observer that he closed down the school because of the absence of teachers.
Mr. Brown: The government, in 2018, deleted the names of three teachers from the payroll, because it said the teachers were not qualified, so I am the only one teaching all the subjects.
“The school was built by the townspeople in 1973 to cater to the educational needs of school-age children in the community with a population of 3,600 inhabitants” Mr. Brown disclosed.
Mr. Julius Tokpa, Principal of the Raymond Town Public School in Suakoko District said his school has also closed as the result of limited classroom teachers to meet the teaching needs of the pupils.A school in Piata, neglected and closed.
“We have four government employed teachers in the school with two volunteer teachers. For the volunteer teachers, I do not have control over them because they are not on government payroll” Mr. Tokpa said.
“One of the factors that dispirited the children to leave school is mainly the irregularity of our teachers in class. Students come to class but there is no teacher, so the students will not be encouraged to come the next day” Mr. Tokpa said.
He said the Raymond Town Public School was built by the African Development Foundation (ADF) in collaboration with the community in 2010, aimed at strengthening government’s quest in providing education to its citizens.
He said since then the school has been challenged by the lack of assigned teachers, adding, some of our colleagues do not want to take assignment in the interior, probably because they may be out of touch or they will only be restricted to teaching to one school, unlike in the urban areas.Inside a classroom at the Piata Public School
Some parents who spoke to the Observer blamed the closure of the schools to teachers’ inability to be regular in school, noting that, “if our children go to the school today for example, and they did not see teacher in their class, the next day they will not be encouraged to go.”
“The problem has been significantly compounded by the Ministry of Education. It was announced over and over the discovery of so-called ‘ghost’ or ‘phantom’ teachers in schools who receive salaries but are non-existent. This exercise is yet to take place,” one parent said in a loud voice.
When contacted via mobile phone June 18, the District Education Officer for Sanoyea, Mr. Silas Juakollie, admitted to the premature closure of the schools but squarely blamed it on parents for not sending their children to school.
“The parents do not want to send their children to school. The teacher will go to school but the students are not in class. More importantly, the parents prefer sending their children to the traditional Poro or Sande school rather than the academic school,” Mr. Juakollie added.
The DEO said the shutting down of these schools before the end of the regular school year is due to several factors ranging from teachers’ unwillingness to take assignment in the interior and government’s failure to provide resettlement to teachers who want to venture into the interior.
“The premature closures are not only unique to these schools but several schools in the district have been closed down, either because there are no teachers, or parents fail to send their children to school,” the DEO explained.
“Despite the current situation of unpaid teachers, DEO Juakollie agrees there is a need for the recruitment of more teachers, adding, in the interior of the country, some schools with 300 or more students have only two to three teachers. This is unacceptable and it is in fact responsible for the falling standards in our educational system.
It can be recalled this paper also reported the desertion of the Waymue Public School in Sanoyea District but the DEO said his administration is working out modalities for the re-opening of the school for academic 2019/2020 school year.
President George Weah has reinstated the suspended principal of the Booker Washington Institute (BWI), Harris Fomba Tarnue. The action took place at the Executive Mansion on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at an afternoon meeting convened by the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill.
Present at the meeting was the Minister of Education, Ansu Sonii, and the BWI Board of Governors, led by its chairman, John Youboty, a BWI alumnus and road construction entrepreneur.
Mr. Tarnue’s removal followed a “vote of no confidence” against him, which the Board of Governors adopted on Thursday, May 16, 2019 during a meeting on the BWI campus.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, with the consent of the BWI Board of Governors, appointed Mr. Tarnue, BWI principal on January 6, 2016. Following its “vote of no confidence,” and suspension of principal Tarnue, the Board, with the concurrence of Minister Sonii, appointed Mr. James Walter who, like Tarnue, is a BWI alumnus, as acting principal.
Mr. Walker has been a staff member at BWI for 19 years. The “vote of no confidence” followed eight months of investigation into alleged malpractices by principal Tarnue in his administration of the school. These malpractices included what the Board called “nepotism,” whereby Mr. Tarnue placed on the BWI payroll his wife and several other family members, and alleged arbitrary mishandling of the BWI staff, including demotions, dismissals, etc.
In his letter of suspension to Principal Tarnue, Minister Sonii said that of all of the allegations the Board had against Principal Tarnue, none was more serious than the decision by Mr. Tarnue to send 11th graders forward to take the 2019 National Examinations, something contrary to the rules and regulations of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).
Both Education Minister Tarnue and the BWI Board of Governors had advised Principal Tarnue against such action, but he went on anyhow and sent the 11th graders to sit the WAEC Examinations. The 11th graders had to be ordered to leave the examination hall on the day of the exams.
But President Weah, on hearing that Principal Tarnue had been suspended, said both the Minister of Education and the Board of Governors had acted without the President’s approval or permission.
He, therefore, ordered his Minister of State, Nathaniel McGill, to order the Board to reinstate Mr. Tarnue as BWI principal, hence Tuesday’s meeting. Before the Board of Governors, with Minister McGill present yesterday, Education Minister Sonii said the purpose of the meeting was “to reinstate Mr. Tarnue as principal of BWI.
Among members of the Board present, there were two Board members solidly on Mr. Tarnue ‘s side, who had been lobbying relentlessly to have him reinstated. They were the Minister of Sports, Zoegar Wilson, and Jackson Paye, a 1975 BWI graduate.
Reliable sources said Minister Wilson had met President Weah at a Sunday morning football match in Monrovia, and informed him of the Board’s decision to suspend Mr. Tarnue. “Did you know of it?” Minister Wilson asked the President. The President replied, “No” and immediately intimated that the Board would have to reinstate Mr. Tarnue, since neither the Board nor the Minister had secured the permission of the President before acting.
The Charter of the BWI Board, adopted by the Legislature, stipulates that the Board appoints the BWI principal with the concurrence of the President of Liberia. Both Education Minister Sonii and Board Chair Youboty had assured the Board that they had informed President Weah of the Board’s decision prior to taking the action. But it turned out that, though both men showed the Board communication they had addressed to President Weah, the President apparently never received the communication. This has without question taught both Minister Sonii and Board of Governors Chairman Youboty a hard lesson in politics, and the inner-workings in the Executive Mansion.
It should, however, be clear to most people that not every communication sent to the Mansion for the President’s eyes is actually seen by him. There are innumerable political and other intricacies at play in that building, at all times. Anyone who wants the President — not just President Weah, but any President, to see a communication must make sure to secure a one-on-one audience with the Chief of Staff, rather than assume that he will receive the communication sent, no matter how beautifully or powerfully written, or how urgent and necessary the matter at hand.
A high-powered international delegation, including Ghana’s First Lady Rebecca Naa Okaikor Akufo-Addo and Sierra Leone’s First Lady Fatima Jabbie Bio, have arrived in Liberia to attend the launch of First Lady Clar Marie Weah’s flagship program, the “She’s You Movement”, a release has said.
According to the release, Mrs. Weah national advocacy campaign is aimed at promoting women empowerment, and ending all forms of violence perpetrated against women, girls, and children.
Today’s program, which will be launched by President George Weah, is expected to bring together, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, the First Ladies of Niger, and Ivory Coast, along with thousands of citizens, especially women and girls from all walks of life.
The She’s You Movement, which is the first in the country, has also attracted SHEROES’ delegation, including Maxime Menson, Co-founder and president of SHEROES Foundation International, and the president of Nigeria’s Charter, Madam Dame Maureen Tamuno.
Also gracing today’s event is Madam Mame–Yaa K. Bosomtwi, executive secretary of Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD).
“This initiative comes in response to the increasingly alarming wave of gender-based violence across Liberia, and the need to promote the protection and empowerment of women,” the release said.
Mrs. Weah has condemned the wave of sexual and gender-based violence in the country, and is now raising her voice through the “She’s You” program to advocate for an end to such acts.
The name of the program, “She’s You” comes from the backdrop of Mrs. Weah’s experience as a survivor of rape and sexual abuse, while growing up as a child.
“With that experience, she feels the pains and trauma they experience, understands their plights, and is now standing up for them,” the release said.
Madam Dame Maureen Tamuno, president of SHEROES, Nigeria Charter, told newsmen at the Roberts International Airport on Tuesday, June 18 that she has come to support Mrs. Weah in the fight against gender-based violence.
“We recognized that when our first ladies are committed to taking care of the necessary needs in their respective countries; we are there to support them and also offer them the technical help that they need by coordinating with United Nations and other development agencies, as well as the private sector,” Madam Tamuno said.
The program focuses ending gender-based violence; ending child marriage; reducing maternal and newborn mortality; HIV/AIDS Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission; Women Empowerment, and addressing infertility — breaking the stigma.”
The program is scheduled for Today, June 20, 2019, beginning with a parade at 8:00 a.m. from Ducor, Snapper Hill, Broad Street, to the Centennial Memorial Pavilion where the program will be held.
The proliferation of people, especially foreigners, claiming to have discovered herbs to cleanse the body and cure all sorts of diseases are on the rise in the country, and the Ministry of Health, the Liberia Medical and Dental Council (LMDC) as well as the National Traditional Council of Liberia (NTCL) have admitted, but said the lack of coordination among the ‘approving’ authority is the source.
Recently the House of Representatives has raised concerns over the increase of so-called herbalists who are publicizing their operations through radio stations about the cure for HIV/AIDS and other curable and incurable diseases, which are giving false hopes to hundreds of Liberians. There are reports that, amid the bad economy, many patients who cannot afford the cost of medical care for their serious health conditions are turning to ‘herbalists’.
Dr. Francis Ketteh, the Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, told members of the House of Representatives in session (Chamber) on Tuesday, June 18, during the 39th day sitting, that the amended law of the Ministry of Health authorized the Ministry to create the Complementary Medicine Section to supervise and manage traditional medicine and herbalists including issuing certificates in consultation with the LMDC.
He also said that the LMDC’s code of conduct prohibits the advertisement of traditional medicine.
The Deputy Health Minister also told the lawmakers that, besides the Complementary Section of the Ministry, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the NTCL also have the authority to issue certificates to herbalists.
Chief Zanzan Karwor also told members of Lower House that his office has written countless letters to Chief Boakai Zulu, Vice Chairman for Culture and Custom, over so-called foreign herbalists who are claiming to have solutions to all problems and are using the radio and newspapers to advertise their operations.
“These people are too much in the country, but to restrict them is the problem, because it’s like three men behind one woman.”
“The Ministry of Health, Internal Affairs and the NTCL, all have the authority to issue certificates and that is the problem. Is supposed to be one institution’s job,” Chief Karwor said.
The Registrar-General of the LMDC, Dr. Moses Pewu, also admitted to the lack of coordination among the ‘approving’ institutions, hampering the supervision. He however stated that the LMDC and Complementary Medicine Section have resolved to collaborate with the Ministry of Justice to issue arrest of herbalists who are not certificated by the Ministry of Health, through the LMDC and the Complementary Medicine Section.
Meanwhile, through a motion proffered by Lofa County District #3 Representative, Clarence Massaquoi, the Ministry of Health, the LMDC, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the NTCL are given one month to make report on the way forward regarding advertisements by herbalists who are in violation of the laws of the land; the standard of the curing of incurable diseases; monitoring of the proliferation of herbalists; and the granting of authority to herbalists.
The leadership of the Association of Liberia Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) says it is not willing now or ever to compromise the interest of the Liberian masses, and will therefore, remain “very vocal on national issues,” especially those ones that continue to subject the ordinary people in abject poverty and perpetual deprivations.
The group said it will continue to speak against societal ills, especially the uncontrollable waves of corruption that is currently ongoing in the country.
“We maintain that irrespective of the cordiality, which subsists between the Liberian government and its national leadership, the Association’s continuous assessments of happenings in the country, and its criticism of the brazen thievery in the public sector coupled with the government’s policies, and actions and inactions that are inimical to the peace and stability will not be compromised,” ALJA said in a statement.
The statement, released late Wednesday, June 20, 2019, was provoked by a stinging attack from the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government, when its official spokesman, accused the group’s members of being enemies of the George Weah administration.
Eugene Fahngon, Deputy Information Minister for Press and Public Affairs, in his rant via the social media (Facebook), did not only characterize the Association and its national president, Moses D. Sandy, as enemies of the government, but went further to brand the organization’s membership as a bunch of “carton pushers” in the Americas.
But ALJA said in its yesterday’s statement that it is not perturbed by the “gibberish spewed” of Minister Fahngon, while terming him as a political nonentity, who lacks credibility.
“ALJA asserts it is not troubled by Mr. Fahngon’s characterization and loose talk, because the he is a political nonentity; and lacks credibility,” it said, adding that Mr. Fahngon’s diminishing relevance as a government’s spokesperson makes him a distraction in the Weah administration.
Members of the Association have stated that neither they nor their president is an enemy of Weah and his government.
“Contrary to the exposed falsehood spread by the unpolished and conflict-ridden Fahngon, ALJA and the Liberian government remain partners in progress working for a stable and peaceful Liberia,” the statement said.
It added that this does not in any way means that the group will compromise its stance on national issues.
“Just as it has done for the nearly two years since the Mr. Weah ascendancy to Liberia’s presidency, ALJA would continue to commend and criticize the government whenever the need arises, but the Association will in no way become a public relations arm of the Liberian government,” the statement said.
The organization frowned on Mr. Fahngon’s divisive style of public relations as was further attested by his social media rants.
The Association further states that if maintaining the stated neutrality in the mind of Fahngon equates to being an opposition of Mr. Weah and his administration, then so be it.
Meanwhile, ALJA has renewed its call to President Weah to immediately dismiss Fahngon. The Association also wants Minister Fahngon replaced, because he is a “non-governmental material because of his inexperience and controversial nature, which clearly indicate that he is misplaced at MICAT.
“We are very sure that Mr. Fahngon’s days of public service in the Weah administration are now numbered,” the group said.
The foremost statutory duty and responsibility of the Information Ministry is to project a positive image of the Liberian government at home and abroad; and helps consolidate the nation’s peace and stability through the effective interpretation, and propagation of government’s messages, a duty MICAT is deviating from.
“Regrettably, Mr. Fahngon does not understand this critical responsibility that’ is while he dabbles into every matter in the country,” the statement said.
Due to Mr. Fahngon’s arrogance, ALJA said is not only undermining the president and the CDC-led government, but the peace and stability of the country, because Fahngon is putting the president and the government at loggerheads with their citizens,” the statement added.
The management of Firestone-Liberia Incorporated Medical Center in partnership with the American surgical team, Children’s Surgery International (CSI), are gearing up for the next joint mission to be held in January 2020, a release has said.
The mission, according to the release, will mark the 10th anniversary of the partnership.
As with previous CSI Missions, the focus will be cranial facial (cleft lip and palate) to include urological and general surgeries.
To date, the release said, the joint mission has provided surgeries free of charge to more than 900 patients since the first surgical mission in 2010. As with previous missions, surgeries and surgical care are completely free of charge.
“This surgical mission partnership highlights Bridgestone America’s-Firestone-Liberia’s parent company-global commitment to corporate social responsibility. Our Way to Serve, that serves as a framework for the way we do business and how we create a lasting social impact in our communities where we operate,” the Firestone release has said.
The Firestone Medical Center currently treats over 5000 patients, company employees and their dependents, each month. In addition, Firestone-Liberia collaborates with the Ministry of Health and the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) to store and administer vaccines that help prevent a range of diseases for Liberians inside and outside of the company. The hospital also works with the Ministry of Health for the awareness and control of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
The World Bank has named Khwima Nthara as the new country manager for Liberia. Mr. Nthara succeeds Ms. Larisa Leshchenko, whose tenure expires on July 31, 2019, the bank said in a release.
Nthara, a Malawian national, joined the bank in 2005 as an economist in the poverty reduction and economic management department.
According to the release, Mr. Nthara comes to Liberia with extensive World Bank experience in the field and at headquarters. He is currently an economic adviser in the World Bank Operations Policy and Country Services (OPCS) vice presidency in Washington D.C., where his main duties include providing advice and guidance to senior management and task teams on the bank’s strategic approaches to supporting client countries, as well as on specific financing instruments, such as budgetary support.
Prior to taking assignment in Liberia, Mr. Nthara has held various field positions in Africa, East Asia and Pacific Regions, including as program leader in Nigeria and senior country economist for Nigeria, Myanmar, and Malawi respectively.
Before joining the World Bank, he had worked as an economics lecturer at the University of Malawi, country manager for the Malawi Trade and Poverty Program, and country manager for Deloitte’s Development Consulting Practice.
In his new position, Mr. Nthara will lead the bank’s day-to-day dialogue with the government and key stakeholders in Liberia on a broad range of policy issues, including implementation of the country partnership framework in support of the development priorities of the Liberian government. He will also manage the country office, provide leadership, and mentor staff in implementing the priorities of the new Africa strategy.
Mr. Nthara holds a Ph.D. in Economics and a Master’s degree in Economics of Developing Countries, both from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. His appointment takes effect on August 1, 2019.
The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved an additional financing of $24.74 million International Development Association (IDA) credit and $5.26 million IDA grant to increase access to piped water supply services in Monrovia and surrounding areas, and improve the operational efficiency of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC).
This additional financing of Liberia Urban Water Supply Project (UWSP), approved on June 14, will be used to scale-up the rehabilitation and extension of Monrovia’s piped water distribution system, as well as to reinforce LWSC’s operational efficiency. The parent project was conceived as a “first step” to carry out urgent rehabilitation works to alleviate the most binding constraints for the Monrovia water supply distribution network and thus lays the basis for additional investments to further expand access to safe piped water.
“The Liberia Urban Water Supply Project additional financing will help address the critical need for the provision of adequate and safe water supply. It is aligned with Liberia’s ‘Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development’, calling for an increase in households, institutions and communities that have access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities,” said Larisa Leshchenko, outgoing World Bank Country Manager for Liberia.
This new funding will complement the original project by restructuring the current transmission and distribution system to improve the conveyance of water by the main transmission line towards central Monrovia’s main reservoirs and increase the storage capacity in Paynesville areas.
It will also increase access and enhance the quality and quantity of the water supply service to existing customers. This is expected to lead to at least 10,000 new household connections and 50 standpipes, thus serving an estimated additional 52,000 Monrovians.
This number of beneficiaries almost doubles those under the original project, while improving the supply service to the existing 7,000 customers through better regulation of the water demand and supply.
The LWSC will benefit from complementary capacity building interventions under the funding. A focus will be on improving cost-recovery by supporting the operation of district metered areas (DMAs), Non-Revenue Water (NRW) unit staff training and equipment, customer orientation, support to the project implementation unit, as well as reduction of illegal consumption by either legalizing (additional meters) or removing connections.
Additional activities will build on institutional development supported by the parent project and target operational efficiency, including operationalizing the equipment acquired and infrastructure set-up for NRW and reinforcing the current achievements.
Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, launched the Liberia Spotlight Initiative in Tienii, Grand Cape Mount County. The initiative seeks to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, a press release has said.
The Liberia Spotlight Initiative, a global joint initiative of the EU and the UN, according to the release, is funded by the EU. Liberia is one of eight countries in Africa to benefit from the initiative.
A total of US$18.5 million will fund the first phase of the four-year period of the Liberia Spotlight Initiative. Funding for the second phase will subsequently be based upon results achieved, as outlined in the program document.
The initiative will focus on reducing the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence, and harmful practices and increasing women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services. The Liberia Spotlight Initiative will be implemented in Grand Cape Mount, Grand Gedeh, Lofa, Montserrado and Nimba, the five counties with the highest prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence.
“Gender equality is the crux of the matter. Attitudes, Customs and laws will be changed for the betterment of our nation,” said Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor.
“The President,” she said, “will pass an executive order banning female genital mutilation (FGM), as we wait for the Domestic Violence Law to be passed.” Gender-based violence against women and girls is extremely high in Liberia. According to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), 2,105 cases of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) were reported in 2018, 420 more cases than in 2017, which recorded 1,685 cases.
“Many women and girls still suffer gender-based violence, one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations of our time. Gender-based violence must be fought and eliminated,” said Mr. Juan Antonio FRUTOS GOLDARATZ, Chargé d’affaires, European Union Delegation to Liberia.The Liberia Spotlight Initiative will focus on reducing the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence, and harmful practices and increasing women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services.
The Liberia Spotlight Initiative will implement targeted interventions in the five counties to tackle the root causes of violence against women and girls, provide quality services for survivors and reparations for victims of violence.
To ensure success, an inclusive and multi stakeholder process will be implored to build consensus and national ownership. The Liberian government, UN, EU and partners will work with a cross section of stakeholders, including communities, students, teachers, parents, traditional and religious leaders, and other institutions such as the Liberia National Police, the Judiciary and the Legislature to prevent and respond to SGBV cases.
”Progress is possible” said Yacoub EL HILLO, the United Nation’s Resident Coordinator,” and the Spotlight Initiative creates space for all in society, including traditional leaders – who are a powerful segment of the Liberian society – to play an active role in ending violence against women and girls.”
The Liberia Spotlight Initiative builds on existing programs to prevent, and respond to violence against women and girls. It will also expand some of these interventions, reaching an estimated 600,000 women, girls, men and boys directly.
It will also contribute to the achievement of the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD 2018 to 2023), which aims to reduce violence against women and girls, and provide power to the people, especially women and girls, and build a stable, resilient, and inclusive nation.