To curtail rape, and all other forms of sexual violence that are meted against women and girls across the country, the Female Journalist Association of Liberia or FEJAL embarks on two days training here, for media desk coordinators in Montserrado County.
Addressing reporters here Thursday, August 27, 2020, at FEJAL head office in Baptist Seminary community along the Robertsfield highway outside Monrovia, Coordinator Siatta Scott Johnson said the training is geared toward creating a gender desk in various media institutions to initiate gender sensitive reporting on sexual and gender base violence.
“We’re conducting this training to build the capacity of gender coordinators and to mainstream gender in various newsrooms”, Ms Johnson explains.
She says the initiative is to create opportunity for the media to mainstream gender at various levels by training reporters and providing gadgets to help enhance their works.
“We want our gender coordinators at various media institutions to flag issues relating to women’s participation in decision making process; as you may be aware women are underrepresented at various levels in the society and this is what we want to change.”
Siatta further stresses a need to give women an opportunity where their voices would be heard, noting that statistics has shown that women are being marginalized in media content.
Earlier in welcome remarks via mobile, UN Women Spotlight Initiative program analyst, Dhogba Mabande expresses heartfelt sentiments to FEJAL on behalf of UN Women for the training of gender desk coordinators.
“As you may be aware this engagement seeks to address issues of sexual and gender base violence, it’s elimination and other harmful practices”, Mr. Mabande says.
He details that the program focuses on six thematic areas, including Law and Legislation, Institutional Strengthening and issues of gender base violence, among others, saying, “We want to ensure that the message are disseminated and understood.”
He adds that part of UN Women’s activities is to focus on victim’s survival and making sure he or she is not exposed to more harm or risks.
“It’s not about the training but rather transmitting it into action; we anticipate that this training will enlighten and build the knowledge.”
Facilitator and consultant at FEJAL, Maureen Sieh, calls on the trainees to consider women voices in their respective newsrooms, saying, “When you don’t promote women voices, you are marginalizing a society.”
According to Ms Sieh, there is a need to create a culture where people will stand up and say it’s unacceptable not to have women’s voices in every story.
Liberia is now becoming a country where women are under attack from the hands of rapists, and other forms of sexual and gender base violence. We want a society that promotes gender equality; that’s the whole idea of gathering here.”
The two days training for desk coordinators, organized under the auspices of FEJAL and partners with support from UN Women brought together over 20 journalists from both print and electronic media institutions in Montserrado County.
The exercise comes at the time women and civil society groupings here under the banner, Affiliation of Women and Child Rights Advocate stage three days Anti Rape protests, calling on the Weah-led government to take robust action against rape, and other forms of sexual and gender base violence that are on the increase across the country.
Meanwhile, speaking to one of the participants at the training, Macpherson C. Marbiah from the InProfile Daily Newspaper expresses delight for the knowledge acquired.
“This is first of its kind for FEJAL to undertake such a initiative, we look forward to getting the needed support to enable us do our work”, Marbiah expresses.
By Lewis S. Teh–Editing by Jonathan Browne