International Women’s Day: ILO engages communities on SGBV

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In commemoration of the International Women’s Day, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, engaged women in the Aberdeen, Crab Town ,Dwazark, Rokupa and Mayenkineh communities on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and on how they could partake in decision making and peacebuilding.

It should be noted that the targeted communities are beneficiaries of the Women for Water Project (W4WP) sponsored by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund. The project is jointly implemented by International Labour Organization, United Nation Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) among other local implementing partners.

The W4WP focuses on providing sustainable water supply for women through maintenance of water- wells, which according to the partners, will help reduce violence against women and build peace in those communities.

 The Water-Well project will be solely managed by those women and they would be charged with the responsibility to manage affairs of the water sites.

Through the project women will also serves as an agent of change through peace and sustainable livelihood opportunities that will contribute to strengthen social cohesion and peace.

The National Project Coordinator for the Women for Water Project (W4WP),  International Labour Organization, Sia Larjaku-Williams, said that most women in those communities  suffer gender-based violence and water conflict in trying to access water. She said  that  the awareness raising on the forms of abuses will help them mitigate the spread of violence against them.

“Women should not suffer abuse such as physical, mental and emotional, simply because they want to access water, and they girl should not drop out of school for that same course,” Larjaku-Williams said.

She pointed out  that when women are put together with one common objective they can achieve great things and contribute in decision making and the existence of a peaceful society.

The Vice President of the Sierra Leone Labour Congress (SLLC), Sarah Thomas-Kamara said that it is important to involve women and men in peacebuilding, adding men should be involved because they are mostly the perpetrators of violence against women.

She mentioned that women should stop sending their girl-child to fetch water during odd hours of the day, citing that by so doing those children will be prevented from sexual and physical abuse.

Representative of the Federation of Urban and Rural Poor (FEDURP), Joana Kaine said that most women are not involved in decision making but noted that ILO knew the importance of women in decision making, thus they are incorporated entirely into the project.

She admonished the women to give their support to the project as its will support their livelihood and also provides job opportunity for those women.

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