On Tuesday, January 19, 2010 one of a four-man delegation from Nordic (Norwegian) parliament arrived in Liberia to visit some of United Nations Population Fund Agency (UNFPA) sponsored programs in the country, especially the Sexual Gender-based Violence (SGBV) project.
The Nordic parliamentarian, Peter N. Myhre, along with Madam Esperance Fundira, UNFPA resident representative, visited Touching Humanity in Need of Kindness (THINK Inc) SGBV clinic in Du Port Road Clinic compound in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
The THINK Inc, which along with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare are implementing partners of a UNFPA project, Clinical Management of Rape (CMR) Training and Services, which had already been carried out in four counties, Montserrado, Bomi, Nimba and Lofa, from June 2008 to December 31, 2009. The project was aimed at helping rape victims.
The CMR objectives were capacity building and training of clinical staff on the clinical management of rape, community awareness on the referral and clinical services and institutional strengthening of THINK to provide clinical services of rape survivors.
Madam Fundira, in her welcome remarks, acknowledged how critical the issue of rape is in Liberia, indicating that victims range from three years to adults. She added that the issue is of priority to the United Nations (UN) with the Nordic parliament playing a pivotal role.
She said that because of the critical nature of rape, the United Nations had joined programs with the Government of Liberia on Sexual and Gender-based Violence which comprises of five pillars, namely, coordination, health, psychosocial counseling, legal intervention and protection.
Madam Fundira lauded THINK for the their efforts in the health and psychosocial counseling in helping victims of rape from not only in Montserrado but also from other leeward counties that make referrals to them.
The UNFPA Liberia boss highlighted a number of other UN agencies which have been supportive to the CRM project and in combating SGBV, including the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), among others.
She further thanked the Nordic countries such as Denmark, The Netherland and Sweden, among others, for the support and funding that the UNFPA had been receiving and which had enabled them to reach out to the girls who are in need.
Also speaking at the gathering was Mrs. Rosanna D. H. Schaack, Executive Director of the THINK. She thanked the donors for their efforts in supporting the organization but stressed the need for more staffers at the THINK-operated clinic which, she disclosed, receives about 60 to 70 cases per month.
She added that THINK, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare with funding from the UNFPA in 2009 identified a gap in clinical management that prompted a clinical management training in which the 60 health workers in three counties benefited by receiving reproductive health and rape kits.
She made mention of a ‘safe house’ for victims whose parents cannot afford to feed them while on their drugs.
Mr. Myhre, in his statement, appreciated the effort of the UNFPA in supporting the project.
In an interaction with journalists, Myhre said that his government was supporting such project because its security, especially for the young people, is fundamental for a prosperous society.
“Therefore,” Myhre said of his government’s support, “this is some initiative which is very important to maintain the good work and transforming Liberia into a country where there is security for all.”
He added that the purpose of their visit to Liberia is to get an overview of the country and the people that are working toward the development of this nation.
He added that monitoring the SGBV in the different counties where his country provides support, will help in the improvement of programs to meet the needs of victims of the SGBV program.