Gender Ministry lauds World Bank US$ 44.60M Women Empowerment Project

Gender Ministry lauds World Bank US$ 44.60M Women Empowerment Project

Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr has lauded the World Bank for approving a financing package aims at enhancing women’s empowerment by addressing social norms (with a focus on gender based violence prevention) and improving access to livelihoods. 

Minister Tarr said the project when implemented will drastically reduce gender based violence and help improve access to livelihoods of women.

The Liberia Women Empowerment Project (LWEP) is financed by the International Development Association (IDA) in the amount of $44.60 million ($17.80 million grant and $26.80 million concessional credit).

Liberia will implement LWEP with the involvement of the following Ministries: Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP) as implementing agency and its technical partners Agriculture, Education and Health.

LWEP will focus on the barriers to equality and empowerment: Using a “whole community” approach, the project will implement evidence-based methods to shift social norms through work with communities to address the norms that drive gender based violence.

LWEP will also pilot investments to increase access to basic gender based violence and Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASAP) services at the local level and promote community engagement on girls’ empowerment linked to schools.

Economic and social empowerment interventions for women to build their economic resources and agency will also be prioritized. LWEP will build the capacity of key institutions, in particular the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (the Implementing Agency) and the Ministry of Agriculture to address gender inequality within their mandates, and create a platform for greater government of Liberia engagement on policies and actions to empower women and girls.

The Project has five components:

Component One: is tied to enabling positive social norms and community mobilization: At the community level, the project will fund activities to address the social norms that drive gender inequality, specifically the norms that drive GBV (with a focus on intimate partner violence). 
Component Two: will enhance basic services in Health and Education: At the community level, the project will pilot health and education sector activities to address local access to Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health services and GBV services, as well as school-driven community engagement on social norms related to early marriage, pregnancy and girls’ education. Both pilots will be preceded by studies which may result in further recommendations for implementation. 

Component Three: will promote resilient livelihoods through community-led approaches: the project will fund women’s livelihoods support and grants using a community-driven, group-based approach. Using the livelihood group setting as a platform, the project will also deliver life skills and gender training/dialogue to build agency,address GBV and strengthen the climate resilience of women’s livelihoods. 

Component Four: will strengthen public institutions: At the institutional level, the project will support institutional capacity building for the gender machinery in Liberia, providing support to the Ministry Gender, Children and Social Protection and the Ministry of Agriculture to enable them to better generate sex-disaggregated data and deliver gender-focused programs in line with government of Liberia policies. 

Component Five: project management, and knowledge management. This component will finance the implementation, management, coordination and oversight of the project. The component will also fund knowledge management, including an impact evaluation to generate lessons learned about the project’s model and its potential for scaling on a wider basis.

Given the project’s innovative design, counties will be sequenced to provide lessons learned from early activities before scaling up to additional counties in the second year of implementation.

750 communities from across the country will be selected using targeting criteria that take into account areas of particular need (including comparatively high rates of poverty), the presence of existing community groups (women-only groups or mixed groups with a higher percentage of women) that can be strengthened, (in later stages when the project machinery is established, the focus may shift to creation of new groups where necessary), the presence of basic healthcare and education infrastructure, and feasibility of access to multiple communities by project staff in early stages.

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