July 16, 2007
Video, Photos, and a Regional Meeting
It is unbelievably great being back here in Liberia in a familiar place and faces. Our day began the way it usually does, with very little sleep and much enthusiasm. Steven and I looked at each other faces and smiled that mischievous look of "can you believe it," we are really here for the second and third time, and acknowledge our blessings.
When we got to the office, big smiles and hugs welcomed us from Ballah, Edwin, Musu and the others. Meeting Navanita Bhattacharya, the new GBV Program Coordinator, for the first time after communicating by email and phone so many times, gave us a great sense of camaraderie. We quickly dove into a discussion about the latest developments in the GBV program, and the goals for our visit -- staff training, developing and testing monitoring and evaluation systems, and facilitating a strategic planning meeting of key constituencies. We also heard news about recent developments in Liberia (such as the shutting down of the University after a student strike).
We then joined the GBV staff meeting, reconnecting names with faces, and beginning to learn how they perceive the successes and challenges of the Male Involvement Project since its inception in November 2006. The 15 people (all but two of whom are women) remembered the many questions and concerns they raised in our first meeting that November. They reported that these questions and concerns had been addressed, men were willingly engaging as partners with women and women were very happy to have them involved. Listening to the current challenges and goals of this amazing staff group, we were impressed with how much has been accomplished over the last eight months using the training and technical support we have provided. It is obvious to us that there are few, if any, similar projects in the world right now.
We spent the rest of the day in additional planning and strategizing meetings with GBV/MIP leaders. Their readiness to move the program to its next stage of development, and receptiveness to our insights and recommendations is inspiring and exciting.
Posted by Jorge at July 16, 2007 01:47 PM