Safe homes lack basic services
A survey by the Women Empowerment for Self-Employment (WESELF) reveals that safe homes for victims of rape, abandoned children and domestic violence are poorly run in the country.
The survey, funded by the European Union and Irish Aid through Mercy Corps Liberia reveals that safe homes in Sinoe County have been abandoned completely.
The key findings were made in a research briefing paper titled: “Project Overview, Key Findings and Recommendations” released by the WESELF at a one-day stakeholders’ meeting on safe homes assessment study in Monrovia recently.
On training capacity building initiatives of safe homes, it was discovered that only 25 percent of service providers in the country are provided regular training and capacity building on livelihood.
The findings also indicates that 25 percent provide literacy and numeracy training while 50 percent provides no form of training at all.
“From the study,” the research briefing paper went on, “it was established that only 50 percent of the safe homes received humanitarian aid in the past, while another 50 percent have never benefitted from any humanitarian assistance.”
On the question of electricity, it was established that there is lack of power supply from the Liberia Electricity Corporation to safe homes in Montserrado and Sinoe counties.
As for basic needs of survivors, it was established that 100 percent of the safe homes in the two counties are without mosquito nets, monthly supply of sanitary pads, clothing and feet wears, food and safe drinking water.
The research paper also revealed that safe homes are all privately-owned and there were 53 survivors, including 43 females and 10 males in those homes at the time of the assessment.
The findings point out that data on primary healthcare indicates that only 25 percent of the safe homes have an employed nurse and that arrangements are in place with nearby health facilities for emergency cases, while three do not have any in place.
The survey identifies three main cases that were being handled across the safe homes, totaling 38 with rape constituting 60.5 %; abandoned children, 38.8 % and domestic violence 2.6 %, respectively.
Meanwhile, the research paper has advanced a five-count recommendation to improve services at the safe homes in the counties.
The paper proposes a need to coordinate planning and logistical arrangement with ministries and focal points of the targeted safe homes in the future, as this will help with contacting relevant stakeholders to improve participation.
According to the paper, there is a need to ensure that all safe homes are adequately informed about the data collection activities in advance.
The document recommends a need to make additional efforts to reach out to local authorities before the policy dialogue on key findings from the assessment study.
It was also proposed that the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection should train and empower safe homes staff with the necessary materials to carry out awareness and sensitization on sexual and gender-based violence.