13. November 2019
Evaluation Liberia: implement prevention of violence in a sustainable way
By setting up solidarity protection networks in the communities Medica Liberia focuses on changes at grassroots level. Part of the recently finalized project “Sinoe II” was the set-up and support of different solidarity groups in twelve village communities, enabling them to support gender equality and the prevention of violence against women. Simultaneously, Medica Liberia trained specialized staff in hospitals, and justice and police departments about the problem of sexualized gender-based violence (SGBV) and in trauma-sensitive work with affected persons.
Solidarity groups in Liberia: awareness raising about sexualized violence at community level
The evaluators found this approach to be urgently needed and to strengthen survivors in many aspects: awareness raising and trainings in the solidarity groups led to increased knowledge about SGBV and adequate counseling for survivors. In particular, “Women Support Groups” (elected women as village representatives who counsel other women or refer them to specialized staff, and sensitize the communities) increasingly acted independently and are an important link between villages and supporting structures, a link that did not exist before the project. Male villagers and authorities are more alert about the issue, and school girls were informed in “Girls Clubs” about many taboo topics and were motivated to exercise their rights. Investments for small business opportunities for women in savings and loans associations have not been profitable yet because the income was too low and loans were rarely paid back.
Evaluation: ensure sustainability of measures for the protection of women and the prevention of violence
All in all, the evaluation shows that the problem of SGBV is increasingly being talked about. This strengthens affected people and supports the prevention of violence. It remains unsure, however, if the impacts last. Especially men who act as Change Agents in the villages in support of women could give up their role if Medica Liberia does not continue remuneration. Furthermore, a problem for setting up traumasensitive services is that qualified staff often moves away from the remote project areas leading to the continuous need for trainings for replacements. It is therefore recommended that Medica Liberia sensitizes more specialized staff, supports alternative profitable business models in the savings groups, and strengthens their sensitization measures with visual and creative methods.