everyday gandhis Women and Girls' Program and Violence-free Election Awareness
July 7, 2023
Conducted through the eg Women and Girls Learning Program
As a famous African proverb says, 'Use one stone to kill two birds at the same time,' we had the opportunity to talk about domestic violence against women and girls and violence prevention strategies during the election period. There was a good turnout (over 90 participants), including first-time voters from more than eight different communities. The program was interactive and educative, as first-time voters were eager to learn about election procedures. Even though the program was a discussion, Mr. George K. Dorbor (Assistant Magistrate of the Liberia National Elections Commission), Ms. Cecelia K. Howard (Commander for the Women and Children Rights Department—Liberia National Police (LNP), and Morris Kamara from eg guided the discussion.
As usual, Mr. Boakai M. Kromah, head of the eg Voinjama Team, made a welcoming remark. He expressed his heartfelt gratitude for their participation in the forum; he encouraged them to participate fully by asking more questions and sharing their thoughts about ways to prevent violence. In addition to Mr. Kromah's welcoming remarks, Mahawa Komala briefly provided an overview of the discussion; she stated eg has been hosting similar discussions to raise awareness on pressing issues, ranging from domestic violence against women, peacebuilding, sexually transmitted diseases, environmental issues, and others. She emphasized that these types of forums help reshape our thinking and act appropriately and peacefully.
Ms. Howard opened the discussion with thanks and appreciation to everyday gandhis for providing her department the opportunity to discuss with women and girls that she has a duty to protect against all forms of violence. She moved on to encourage the females to report any violence against them, being at home or elsewhere, and they will resolve it lawfully with no favoritism. Gradually, Ms. Harward touched on the upcoming elections; she advised parents to carefully look after their children as many children go missing for a reason, which she clearly does not understand other than ritual purposes with the belief of winning elections. She also highlighted that this is the time we have absolute power to vote out any bad leaders and replace them with a person we believe can deliver on our goals, do not stay at home; go and exercise your citizen right, and it should be peaceful, your one vote can make a difference.
To throw more light on the election process, Mr. Dorbor, who works with the Liberia National Election Commission, buttressed Ms. Howard on the peaceful electoral process. He began the discussion by asking if everyone had their voter ID tight and safe. From their responses, all of them have their cards and are safe. Mr. Dorbor encouraged participants to inform their friends, relatives, and family members who have lost or damaged their cards to go for replacement when the time is right. Mr. Dorbor discussed the entire Liberia electoral process with the participants, from the registration process to the day of the elections and results. He also discouraged voters who exchange their vote for money; by doing so, you are telling the candidate to do whatever he or she wants with the notion that they bought your vote with their money. Mr. Dorbor closed the discussion by emphasizing the need to stay peaceful throughout the process, especially since Liberia is our only county, and we must protect it despite our political differences.
In conclusion, the program was participatory. Many of the participants recommended that we host a similar circle discussion in their community, as many could not turn out for the discussion. Many thanks to Ma Cyndie for always supporting peace in this part of the world, a strategic location that suffered conflict years ago. We remain committed to peace in the region (Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone).