Highlights of a two-day workshop conducted in Zorzor Lofa County, have featured enhancing coordination of Women and Children Protection Sections (WACPS) and Sexual & Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Crime Units.
This exercise is part of a European Union in Liberia funded Spotlight Initiative of the One UN in Liberia.
Under this joint initiative, UNDP is entrusted to ensure the strengthening of institutions and ensuring the delivery of quality and essential services in the prevention and the responses to SGBV and harmful practices at the national, sub-national and community levels.
The aim of the 2-day workshop is to provide support to county level mechanisms on how to effectively investigate and operationalize psycho-social counselling to victims/survivors of SGBV and harmful practices.
It also takes into consideration coordinating, planning, developing and implementing multi-sectoral programmes/interventions.
The capacity of the participants is being enhanced on the management of SGBV and harmful practices, improve coordination, networking and information sharing amongst others.
Participants at this workshop include SGBV Prosecutors, Case Liaison Officers, County Gender Coordinators, WACPS officers, Nurses and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
As part of the EU/UN Spotlight Initiative, this is a multi-national partnership designed to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls as well as increase access to sexual and reproductive health and rights services.
It is expected to be implemented in the five most-affected counties-Montserrado, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Nimba and Grand Gedeh.
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) is prevalent in Liberian society and has been accepted as an integral part of gender relations (UN/GoL 2014 Report). During the long years of devastating civil conflict, the situation worsened as rape was used as a weapon of war driven by unequal gender relations.
Current institutional capacities and mechanisms largely remain weak and incapable of efficiently implementing multi-sectoral programming approaches to plan, implement and monitor interventions to prevent and respond to SGBV -related issues at both national and subnational levels.
Thus, there is considerable public mistrust in the delivery of appropriate services to effectively address the structural causes of the high incidence of SGBV and related problems, fostering a culture of impunity.