To enhance Awareness and Reporting, medica-Liberia trains Media Professionals On SGBV and SASA

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Medica Liberia last week provided training to over 20 media professionals on Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and SASA! Together, a newly adopted program aimed at increasing awareness and support for survivors of SGBV in Liberia.

medica Liberia is one of the leading women’s rights organizations in Liberia. mL has over the years established itself as providing a safe haven for women experiencing gender-based violence. Since 2006, medica Liberia has provided psychosocial, legal, and reproductive health support for women and girls who experienced sexualized gender based-violence.

The work has primarily been taking place in the southeastern part of Liberia, specifically Sinoe, River Gee, and Grand Gedeh Counties. In 2016, mL extended its coverage to the urban counties of Montserrado and Margibi to serve urban counties that have similar cases of SGBV.

The two-day training was held at a local hotel in Monrovia and focused on how media professionals can play a crucial role in raising awareness and reporting on violence against women and girls in a survivor-centered manner.

SASA! Together is a new initiative by medica Liberia that stands for Start, Awareness, Support and Action, and signifies “now” in the Kswahili language. The program aims to enhance and improve the organization’s fight against SGBV in Liberia.

The organization emphasized that the media can be a powerful tool for advocacy if it is strategically engaged to address violence against women. Media institutions are crucial in understanding the methods of reporting violence cases, the effects, and consequences. However, if media reporting does not take into consideration ethical and safety considerations, it causes more harm to survivors and reinforces negative social norms that influence women to experience violence.

The training also addressed the pressing need for a rights-based public relations framework in relation to media reporting on SGBV. This would involve developing guidelines and protocols for media reporting on SGBV that prioritize survivor-centered approaches, ethical reporting practices, and the accurate portrayal of the complex nature of these issues.

medica-Liberia urged reporters to use a survivor-centered approach method and to be balanced in their reporting of SGBV cases. The organization added that the media can influence and reinforce attitudes, beliefs, and practices that affect community members on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the media to share information and build the capacity of media professionals for responsive and ethical reporting of violence against women.

The participants of the training workshop thanked medica Liberia for the knowledge given and promised to work along in fighting SGBV in the society. medica Liberia’s initiative is supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development through medica mondiale and is crucial in enhancing awareness and support for survivors of SGBV in Liberia.

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