MONROVIA – As part of the country’s strategy aimed at tackling the menace of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) under the European Union (EU) funded project with support by Oxfam Denmark, several women ‘s advocacy groups have completed a two-day refresher training on SGBV and are now set and ready for implementation.
The project titled: Enough!, is in a transitional phase with the Foundation for Community Initiatives (FCI) taking over from Oxfam’s Liberia Country Office as lead implementer of the project. The Enough Project is designed to tackle SGBV across Ghana, Mali, and Liberia by empowering women, girls, boys, and men to take positive action in ending SGBV in the three West African countries by creating an enabling environment for girls and women to know, exercise and claim their rights to end SGBV.
Speaking to reporters at the end of a-two-day refresher training, the four women’s rights advocacy groups, namely; Her Voice Liberia (HVL), Women Solidarity Incorporated (WOSI), Girls for Change (GFC), and West Point Women expressed great optimism and zest to go all out preaching the doctrine of women’s rights and protection in society.
With the training being so resourceful, Mr. Rufus Jackson, Head of Program at HVL, vowed his group’s readiness to go all out into the trenches of River Cess and Grand Gedeh Counties to engage and educate Liberians in those parts of the country about the evil of SGBV and its consequences to a nation and its people. “Our group focuses on legal aid b providing pro-bono services to survivors by working with community dwellers. Our goal is to enhance legal ownership so that the program is done they will follow the pathways,” stated Jackson. “We will work with community-based organizations in our implementation process. Our first target is 120 survivors, and we will put a survivor response mechanism in place. The 120 survivors will then be divided into 30 persons per month,” he asserted.
Also speaking, the Project Coordinator of Girls for Change, Madam Josephine Tengbeh, in a similar fashion said her group will also work with community members by creating sensitization around SGBV issues. “We are going to be clear with our messages and we are hopeful that people will change their mindset about gender norms by realizing the roles that women have to play in society,” she indicated.
Accordingly, under the extended project, which was approved in March of this year, FCI will serve as lead implementer in the overall ‘Enough’ project implementation strategy having already developed an implementation strategy along with Oxfam Denmark for the three countries (Ghana Liberia, and Mali).
By this, the organization (FCI), unlike before, now has a clearer and narrow scope of focusing on achieving set targets, outcomes, and output levels, while allowing for further solidification and scaling of impact. This will be done through the application of a clear strategic focus on cultivating learning and increasing communication and visibility of the project as recommended in the Result Oriented Monitoring (ROM) report.
In a presentation at the two-day engagement with partners, FCI’s Executive Director, Madam Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai, disclosed that the partners for implementation have been reduced to just four under the extended project. She pointed out that the partners; otherwise referred to as third parties under the project, will basically focus on implementing activities related to outcomes and outputs where targets are yet to be achieved as well as on the concrete development of success stories and other communication products. The FCI Executive Director explained that the third parties will engage in fostering learning on engaging men and boys to fight SGBV and changing harmful masculinities.
According to her, FCI on the other hand, with support from the Program Management Unit (PMU) and Oxfam Denmark (ODK), will take over the responsibility for the overall management and monitoring of the ‘Enough’ project. She furthered that FCI, as part of its roles and responsibilities will coordinate and develop the capacities of third parties. She vowed the organization’s ability to fully implement the sub-regional project so as to win the trust of its international partners. “At FCI, we will prove ourselves to do the work to ally this fear of local NGOs not having the capacity to implement on a large scale,” Madam Pope-Kai asserted.
The FCI boss lauded Oxfam and partners for a successful transition, added: “The transition from Oxfam Liberia to the Foundation for Community Initiatives is a clear commitment to give more support and funding tools to local and national responders” NGOs have been reinforcing local systems, providing support to local responders, and working in partnerships with local actors to build back better.”