To gain field-based knowledge on how gender-based violence (GBV) should be taken into account in future peace processes, CMI and its partner WANEP (West Africa Network for Peacebuilding) organised consultations at the end of February in three Liberian counties (Lofa, Bong, Nimba). These workshops were attended by over ninety women who shared their stories and views on gender-based violence in peace- and wartime Liberia. Among the themes discussed during the consultations were the particularities of GBV during the Liberian civil wars, the effects of wartime GBV on Liberian women, and the dynamics of GBV in today's Liberia. The knowledge gained through these consultations adds to CMI's thorough research on other West African peace processes and serves as the basis for forthcoming recommendations on how peace mediators should address GBV more effectively.
In addition to the consultations, CMI's project team, headed by senior adviser Minister Elisabeth Rehn, met with several authorities in Monrovia. These meetings included visits to five government ministries, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), and the office of H.E. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The meetings focused on the theme of gender-based violence, providing valuable information on some of the challenges that the Liberian government has faced in combating GBV.
The consultations and meetings were organised in the framework of CMI's project “Gender-Based Violence and Peace Mediation in West Africa” and will directly contribute to the project's final recommendations on peace mediation and GBV. The project was launched in early 2011 when CMI and WANEP joined forces to promote professional practice and expertise on gender-based violence in peace processes. The joint project targets West African mediation experts working on violent conflicts around the continent. Through the collection and comparative analysis of experiences from West African conflicts and peace mediation processes, the project develops recommendations on how to address these questions more effectively. Along with Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire will be one of the project's thorough case studies that will serve as the basis for the final recommendations. To learn more about the project, please visit the project's website.