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Liberia’s Vice President, Her Excellency Dr. Jewel Howard Taylor has launched the Liberia Spotlight Initiative that seeks to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, at an event in Tienii, Tewor District, Grand Cape Mount County in Liberia. The Liberia Spotlight Initiative is funded by the European Union.
A total of US$ 17.7 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 programme 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, Monsterrado and Nimba, the five counties with the highest prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence in Liberia.
“Sexual and gender-based violence has a negative impact on development,” said H.E. Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor. “Liberia’s development and growth will be incomplete if women and girls are excluded from participating in all aspects of society due to violence”.
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, four hundred and twenty 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 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 government of Liberia, 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 or respond to SGBV cases.
”The Spotlight Initiative is grounded on human rights principles which will guarantee the active participation of all relevant stakeholders, especially women, girls, the poor and most marginalized groups.” Said Mr. Yacoub El Hillo, Resident Coordinator.
The Liberia Spotlight Initiative builds on existing programmes to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls. It will also expand some of these interventions, reaching an estimated 2.6 million women, girls, men and boys directly and indirectly.
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.