The Vice President of the National Peace Hut Women of Liberia, Mrs. Edith Washington-Garr says it is more gain to invest in grassroot initiatives, especially ones that involve women and girls.
Accepting the 2019 United Nations Population Award—a gold medal, diploma and monetary prize– on behalf of the National Peace Hut Women of Liberia at an elaborate ceremony at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, Mrs. Garr said the women of Liberia remain committed to contributing to the sustenance of peace in the country.
She noted that the women of Liberia through Peace Huts established across the country have provided an alternative justice system for rural women that lack access to the statutory legal system due to isolation and financial constraints.
Said Mrs. Garr: “For the past 15 years, women in the peace huts have been volunteering. We leave our homes and gather in our various centers just to be available when the community needs us.
We spend our days listening to complaints from community members, mediating cases of various sorts, gathering information on violence against women and security threats to the community. Some of the common cases brought to the Peace Hut include; domestic violence, money and family disputes, and abandonment cases. When there are serious crimes such as murder or rape, we step in to support the victim and their family to bring the case to the police where it is dealt with by the security and justice sector.”
Founded in 2004, the National Peace Hut Women of Liberia helped women and former child soldiers become agents of change in their communities following the country’s civil war. The organization also provided safe spaces for survivors of gender-based violence and rape, becoming a beacon of continued hope to the people of Liberia.
Also speaking, the National President of the National Peace Hut Women of Liberia Madam Annie Nushann expressed joy that the invaluable contributions of the women have not only been noticed at the local and national levels, but internationally. She called on the United Nations and the International Community to continue to support the Peace Huts in Liberia.
Both women leaders thanked Nobel Laureate LeymahGbowee, who birthed the idea of the Peace Huts and Madam LindoraDiarara for building the capacity of grassroot women. They also thanked the United Nations Women for believing in and supporting the work of the National Peace Hut Women of Liberia over the years.
Madam Nushann and Madam Garr also used the occasion to thank the Government of Liberia under the leadership of President George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, for its vision in nominating the Peace Hut Women of Liberia for the 2019 United Nations Population Award. The nomination was made upon a recommendation from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Liberia to the United Nations, in February 2019, pursuant to an application in the Institutional Category for the Annual United Nations Population Award.
The National Peace Hut Women of Liberia defeated Nine other Institutional Nominees by a vote of Six (6) out of Ten (10), during a selection process by a Ten (10) Member Award Committee chaired by His Excellency Ambassador Ion Jinga, the Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations, and Vice Chairman of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission.
United Nations Deputy United Nations Secretary-General Madam Amina J. Mohammed presented the 2019 United Nations Population award in the Institutional Category to the National Peace Hut Women of Liberia in recognition of its contributions towards conflict resolution and women’s empowerment in Liberia. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Gambia received the award in the Individual category.
Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981, the United Nations Population Award is presented annually to individual (s) or institution(s) in recognition of outstanding contributions in the fields of population and reproductive health.
At a joint reception in honor of the winners of the 2019 United Nations Population Award in both the Individual and Institutional Categories, Liberia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dee-Maxwell SaahKemayah, Sr., said “it was gratifying to see the dynamic women of Liberia who strive for peace everyday in their communities, being rewarded for their hard work.”
Said Ambassador Kemayah: “For us as a country, we know how much this noble accomplishment means. President George Manneh Weah, and the Government and People of Liberia, take deep pride in this priceless achievement. We can assure you, that the Peace Huts will continue to be a bastion of justice for the Government and People of Liberia; and will remain a towering inspiration for all peace loving persons.”
Ambassador Kemayah thanked the United Nations through the UNFPA for continuing to reward actions, which promote dignity and the improvement of humankind and encouraged the International Community not to waver in continuing its support to meaningful initiatives around the world.-Dispatch