“National police uses a ledger book to records cases of abuse; when it is filled, it takes the government 5 months to provide another.” — Global Citizen's Initiative
months of media campaigns to raise awareness of how to report abuse of children
communities working directly with the project
July 2014 End date
In 2012, the Children’s Law was launched in Liberia under the Ministry of Gender and Development. Although over two years has passed, the Ministry still reports that many people are still not aware of the Children’s Law, and ordinary Liberians play very little part in its implementation.
To help address this lack of engagement and ensure the Law genuinely supports the most vulnerable children in the country, the Ministry has committed to two key actions: raising awareness of the Law among women's and youth groups - in particular, around provisions that combat sexual abuse of children; and providing opportunities for women, children and stakeholder organisations to guide policies and action plans that will be used to implement the Law.
This project, implemented by the Global Citizen's Initiative and iLab Liberia, is creating a feedback mechanism enabling citizens to comment on the Children’s Law implementation plans as they are developed.
Working with the Ministry, the project team is communicating key information about the Children’s Law through of a range of platforms, from a website to mobile phones to radio.
At the same time, they are also supporting women’s and youth groups to improve their communication with the Ministry, and assisting the Ministry in collecting, analysing and responding to this feedback.
A partnership between government, a CSO and a technology group, this project aims to build supportive and sustainable links between government and citizens in Liberia, impacting not only the implementation of the Children’s Law, but also providing a model for future citizen inclusion in policy-making.
The Global Citizen's Initiative helps build the global citizenship skills and capacities of individuals, governments, NGOs, and businesses. They strengthen the ability of individuals and organizations to act as global citizens in their communities, countries, and across the world.
- It takes a concerted effort, using multiple media and channels of communication, to change the behavior of citizens in relation to the issue of sexual abuse; i.e. to make them less afraid of using SMS technology to report incidents of sexual abuse that take place in their communities;
- Incidents of sexual abuse happen in both rural and urban areas of Liberia. Effectively changing the behavior of those affected requires the dissemination of behavior change communications in both standard English and local languages, using visual and face-to-face communications as well as digital communications.
- Local and national government agencies and service providers need to be organized as networks of support to effectively respond to reported incidents of sexual abuse.
- The capacity of government agencies, at both the national and local level, need to be strengthened to better enable them to utilize technology-based systems of citizen engagement, and strengthen their ability to apprehend perpetrators of sexual abuse and provide services to victims.
- Technology supported linkages between Ministry county offices and national headquarters need to be strengthened to help ensure that efforts to combat sexual abuse at the local level are well coordinated and supported.
- Linkages with officials in neighboring countries and with the United Nations need to be strengthened to help address the issue of perpetrators who attempt to flee across Liberia’s borders and the issue of sexual abuse committed by UN peacekeeping personnel.
- The short-term dramatic way in which the project had an impact on the incidence of sexual abuse needs to be verified. During the short 4-month pilot project implementation period CGEP was able to report 32 sexual abuse and child violation cases (15 in Margibi and 17 in Cape Mount), bringing the total to 67 cases that have been reported since the inception of the project. Among the recent 32 cases reported, 11 perpetrators fled into neighboring country Sierra Leone, from Cape Mount and Bong County from Margibi, 14 were persecuted and jailed while 7 are awaiting trails.