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29 May 2015

Independent women’s rights organisation medica Liberia

Press Release: Cologne, May 29, 2015. From June 1, 2015, the women’s rights organisation founded in Liberia in 2006 by medica mondiale will be operating independently, under its new name medica Liberia. As with all programmes established by the Cologne-based NGO for the benefit of survivors of sexualised violence, this project in Western Africa is also now being handed over to the local colleagues. Their vision: A just and non-violent society where women and girls can live in dignity. medica mondiale will continue to support its Liberian colleagues on an advisory basis.

"We are proud to become an independent organisation, securing our long-term commitment to bring an end to violence against women and girls. We consider ourselves part of the Liberian women's movement," explained Caroline Bowah Brown, Director of medica Liberia. "Our wish is for women's rights to make it off of the paper and into the daily reality of life, even in small villages in the rainforest." The new association medica Liberia was already registered in mid-2014 as a civil society organisation. Seven Liberian women's rights and peace activists are supporting the organisation as members of the board. The official handover of the programme had to be postponed until 2015 because of the Ebola crisis.

The staff of medica Liberia are also planning an expansion of their preventive healthcare work in schools

Currently, the staff of medica Liberia are providing assistance to Ebola survivors and their families and helping healthcare professionals to cope with the effects of this stressful and traumatic time. They are also planning an expansion of their preventive healthcare work in schools in the south-eastern regions of the country. Liberia has a high rate of teenage pregnancies. In order to reduce this, staff of medica Liberia are informing young girls about contraception and sexual self-determination.

medica mondiale has been working in south-eastern Liberia since 2006. The aims are to provide psychosocial, legal and medical counselling to women and girls in order to help them process their experiences of violence, and to bring about long-term changes in society. For this, medica mondiale established solidarity groups in remote village communities. The women active in these groups inform others about sexualised violence and involve village elders in conflict resolution. In this way they contribute to non-violent cohabitation in their communities.