10 January 2018

Liberia: Nipo Advances Gender Equality and Women Empowerment

A local prodemocracy group promoting the rights of women and girls in Liberia is sparing no efforts in advancing gender equality and women empowerment in Sinoe County, southeastern Liberia.

Under sponsorship from Oxfam and Impunity Watch, the National Institute for Public Opinion (NIPO) recently coordinated the celebration of the 16 Days of Activism and completed the formation of one women platform in the county.

The celebration of the 16 Days of Activism began with a month-long sensitization and awareness campaign in four of the seven administrative districts of Sinoe. During this period, NIPO conducted a surgical house-to-house outreach, sensitization and awareness campaign, educating women and girls about their rights under national and international legal frameworks with regards to women's participation in politics and decision making processes and the social, economic and political rights of women.

They also conducted a long standing fight on sexual and gender-based violence and discrimination against women, among others. Districts that benefited from the sensitization, awareness and outreach initiatives included Greenville, Juarzon, Dugbeh River and Kpayan.

At the end of the exercises, 1,050 homes were covered representing a total 5,250 local residents.

In an effort to continue the fight for gender equality and women empowerment (GEWE), NIPO led a number of civil society organizations towards the reformation of one women platform in Sinoe.

The platform is called Amuyan which, in the local Kru Vernacular reads "Let's Move Ahead". The Amuyan Women Platform comprises of twenty local women organizations that cut across the four districts mentioned above.

The Amuyan Women Platform is now a lead voice that advocates for gender equality and women empowerment, coordinates and advances issues relating to women's participation in politics and decision making at the district and county levels and develops programs and strategies aimed at fighting sexual and gender-based violence and discouraging discrimination against women at all levels of the social ladder in the county.

It also leads efforts to facilitate coordination and collaboration among member organizations and seeks the welfare of individual women in and outside the membership of the Platform.

Other civil society organizations involved in the reformation of the Platform were Foundation for Community Initiatives (FCI) and WONGOSOL.

Prior to the formation of the Platform, NIPO had earlier this year provided training for40 women in politics and decision making across the targeted districts of the county.

This training contributed immensely to women's political participation in the county. Based on the training and the efforts of other civil society groups, two female candidates participated (for the very first time in post-conflict Liberia) in the just ended 2017 legislative elections and a host of others served as campaign managers and political foot soldiers for their respective political parties and candidates.

All these efforts are part of a program codenamed "Tackling Violence against Women beyond Borders: Burundi, Guatemala & Liberia," implemented by a consortium of national and international non-governmental organizations and composed of OxfamIbis and Impunity Watch.

The National Institute for Public Opinion (NIPO) is a not-for-profit human rights organization established in 1999 as the Movement for Peace and Democracy in Liberia (MOPAL).

It later metamorphosed into NIPO with greater mandate to transcend peace building, conflict resolution and reconciliation to wider human rights and prodemocracy initiatives.

Since its founding, NIPO has immensely contributed to enhancing the human rights landscape, implementing projects in justice and the rule of law, gender equality and women empowerment, democratic governance and the rule of law, general human rights advocacy and fighting sexual and gender based violence, just to name a few.

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