Formidable Initiatives for Women and Girls, Liberia (FIWG) was established in 2016 but legally registered in 2018. It is a women-led NGO that seeks to address issues of gender inequality, social injustices, and human rights protection. The organization is fully committed to adolescent girls and young women advocacy, empowerment and human rights so as to preserve the spirit of leadership, promote health, education, confidence, foster national development and participation in all areas of life. It advances the rights of women, youth and adolescent girls through holistic education, health and economic empowerment programs. We leverage Agriculture as a social enterprise for sustainable programmi... read more Formidable Initiatives for Women and Girls, Liberia (FIWG) was established in 2016 but legally registered in 2018. It is a women-led NGO that seeks to address issues of gender inequality, social injustices, and human rights protection. The organization is fully committed to adolescent girls and young women advocacy, empowerment and human rights so as to preserve the spirit of leadership, promote health, education, confidence, foster national development and participation in all areas of life. It advances the rights of women, youth and adolescent girls through holistic education, health and economic empowerment programs. We leverage Agriculture as a social enterprise for sustainable programming and enhancement of national food security. FIWG believes in providing youth especially vulnerable young women and girls' opportunities to rise above their challenges and develop into economically independent, confident and successful leaders. With focus and contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) nationally, FIWG works support SDGs 3, 4 and 5. FIWG tackles gender inequality and social injustice head on to ensure that women and girls become advocates for their human rights and build their self-esteem and self-worth. Our programs provide knowledge and skills that empower girls and young women to detect and deal with human rights violations and provides them with critical thinking skills to address them. Key strategies for intervention include: advocacy and networking with like-minded CSOs/NGO, awareness raising through community, schools and stakeholders' engagements, training and capacity building/development as well as accountability and good governance. Specific areas of intervention are: Economic empowerment (vocational skills and livelihood (financial literacy and business development) Education (life and soft skills, Mentorship, Technology and Creative Arts) Health Promotion and Services (Mental health, chronic diseases and disabilities, access to and use of medical services all gear towards general health promotion and hygiene, SRHR including family planning) Human Rights & Social Protection (Violence Against Women/Girls, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Harmful Practice, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse etc) Liberia has had three democratic elections including the handover of power from one democratic government to another since it's 14 years of civil war. During these periods, there has been tremendous progress in addressing some of the underlining causes of Liberia's civil war. Some of the underlining causes identified for the outbreak of the Liberian civil war are corruption, nepotism, and gross disregard for the rule of law. The rural poor especially women and girls have found it very difficult to get redress due to the lack of knowledge and information on access to justice. The war had massive toll on basic infrastructures which the country is yet to fully recover. The experience has created confidence crisis in the minds of many Liberians getting justice from the formal justice system if they did. Progress in peacebuilding and security over the last decades has not translated into actions to eliminate violence against women and girls (VAWG) and marginalized groups; rather, VAWG has contributed to destabilizing the peace and security, with increasing media attention leading to demonstrations by the public, with the youth that make up 63% of the population especially expressing frustration at the lack of response and action from the Government. This, eventually, gave rise to trial by ordeal and mob violence as the way out for failure of the system to provide justice to those who demanding it. The need for advocacy, awareness and knowledge about domestic violence and rapes laws remains relatively limited among citizens. The rate of concealing such cases is high and women and girls need to aggressively be sensitized of their rights and channel of reporting particularly the SGBV referral pathways which FIWG will prioritize and make it visible for the community to learn and use. Moreover, FIWG has recognized that, despite positive legal, political, and policy developments in Liberia, relevant laws and policies have largely gone unenforced. As a result, human rights abuses and violence against women continues to take place. Policymakers, community leaders and families often ignore the challenges that vulnerable girls face especially regarding sexualized gender-based violence. There is a need for urgent action to give girls an opportunity to improve their sexual and reproductive rights and their wellbeing. They also need social support and access to information and services in order to protect their rights. Over the years, FIWG intervention included conducting massive community outreach on SGBV prevention and the use of the GBV referral pathway, distribution of dignity kits for women at risk of violence (sanitary pads, underclothes, soap, etc.) and providing psychosocial counseling through mobile phones. We can't do it alone, and with our unique capabilities, we have reached out to others to support our cause. With donation raised through Global Giving fundraising platform, FIWG will continue it program efforts by fully supporting over 500 adolescent girls back to schools residing in rural communities enhance the capacity of community leaders to serve as gender actors and community mobilizers to prevent and report sexual violence and abuses establish and operate a community resource center to provide a safe space to advance the health, educational and social growth and development of adolescent and youth in and out of school. ensure the participation of gender actors in the decision-making processes and advocating for policy reforms as it relates to Gender Equality and SGBV prevention in the Country engage stakeholders (families, religions and traditional leaders, organized groups) in communities to overcome social barriers to Adolescent and youth Sexual and Reproductive Health; and enhance the capacity of FIWG staff for effective programming, accountability and good governance It is essential to mention that since the COVID 19 outbreak, there has been less attention to its (COVID-19) effect on women's and girl's wellbeing. While Intimate Partner Violence remains the most prevalent form of violence that women experience globally (during emergencies/crisis and instability), the COVID-19 pandemic also increases the risk of non-partner violence for women and girls.
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