The United Nations (UN) Women in Liberia has dedicated two peace huts to the women of Weala, Margibi County and the women of Totota and Salala District, lower Bong County.
Speaking to journalists last week in Weala, the Representative of U N Women in Liberia, Izeduwu-Derek-Briggs said the peace huts are where women gather to discuss matters that affect their day to day livelihood.
She said the peace huts are traditional spaces for reconciliation and resolution of conflicts that have been promoted by UN women as safe spaces for rural women to discuss issues of inequality and together take decisions on women peace and security.
Madam Briggs said the role and participation of women in the peace hut for the maintenance of peace in their communities is increasingly being appreciated, and that the women in the communities now see themselves as crucial players in peace building and conflict resolutions.
She said these women actively engage in peace building initiatives in their communities through engagement with the local police, local male and female leaders and young people. She said this approach is strengthening the communities' responses and approaches to prevention of and response to Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
The UN women representative said UN women have illiteracy program for rural women and that the UN women have helped develop village savings and loans for the women. She said the UN women will give the women what they want and the economic program will depend on what the women are doing.
The Commissioner of Weala, Tarr Sackie said there is a need that everyone be involved in the reconciliation process. He said the men of Weala have been working along with the women of Weala for a very long time and they are still willing to work along with them.
He stressed that they have been advocating for water because the population of Weala is growing. Commissioner Sackie said that they are talking with partners to see how best they can have pumps built in the community because the population has grown over 8,000 people.
Women in Peace Building Network (WEPNET) representative and the head of Totota women Madam Annie Nushanne thanked the UN women for what they have done for them. She said the peace hut will be used for its intended purpose.
Phones were given to the women of Weala and Totota to enable them call the police in case of emergency. Leo Tay of the Liberia National Police gave out the cell phones to the women and he also gave them numbers to call the police.
UN women with support from DFID have established 16 more peace huts in 8 communities within 4 counties in Liberia. The peace huts model is intended to provide a platform for women to meaningfully engage in peace building and resolution of conflicts within the homes and community.
It recognizes gender-based violence as an indicator of lack of safety within the community and strives to reduce incidents of these. Capacities of women and men at community level are strengthened for leadership through a mentoring and coaching approach and issues of teenage and unwanted pregnancy are handled with the provision of community-based contraceptive commodities facilitated by the community themselves.