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16 December 2010

medica mondiale Liberia calls for action to end violence against women

On November 25th an official launch of the 16 days of activism against gender violence and anti-rape campaign was held at the national sports complex in the capital Monrovia. A medica mondiale Liberia representative made the remarks on behalf of all international non-governmental organisations working in Liberia and called on all who are working together to rebuild the nation to continue to work together to end violence against all women and girls.

“The intersection between militarism and violence against women was clearly demonstrated during the war where women bodies were used as the battleground”, said Caroline Bowah, Assistant Head of Mission of medica mondiale Liberia. According to Caroline Bowah, the experiences of women during the 14 years of the country’s civil war are still in people’s minds, and that is why this theme has a special meaning for Liberia.  

She used the opportunity to draw attention to the women of the south-east, highlighting that it is a neglected and under-served region. ”Don’t forget the women of the south-east in all you do to end violence against women!” Bowah said. medica mondiale started working in this area in 2006. While the presence of medica mondiale Liberia is known and respected in the south-east region of Liberia, the organisation was hardly known in Monrovia. This has changed due to the advocacy work and networking that has been done in the capital city in 2010.

The need to work together towards ending violence against women in Liberia at all levels of government and civil society was also emphasized by other speakers of the event, among them president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Moustapha Soumare, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General.

The program which was carried live on national radio and television stations began with a parade through the stadium with the participants wearing t-shirts and banners printed with the campaign theme of this year: “When women benefit, the nation benefits” and the organisation’s own slogan “Promote women’s rights in the south-east and build our roads”. medica mondiale Liberia also put up an exhibition of the 1000 women that had been nominated for the Nobel prize in 2005.
The crowds were entertained by a rousing rendition of “Its My Body, Don’t Force Me” composed by the Liberian singer Peter Cole and performed from the UNMIL band. The ceremony was attended by government officials, United Nations staff as well as international organizations.