The Uncommon Man

May 18, 2008

MRI in Liberia: Traveling to Liberia

May 18, 2008: Traveling to Liberia

We're on our way. Our fourth trip to Liberia over the past year and a half. It's a familiar journey now -- a short hop from Hartford to Washington; overnight to Brussels (arriving early morning after a short night's sleep); four hours in the airport; and another eight hours to Monrovia.

Men's action groups (MAGs) working in partnership with women's action groups (WAGs) have formed in 15 different communities throughout Liberia as a result of our collaboration with the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Together they are forging new community-based strategies and a powerful national network to end gender-based violence and promote positive masculinity.

The relationship with between Men's Resources International and the IRC has enabled us to provide ongoing in-country and remote support for staff training and the development of these action groups -- something we have not yet been able to do in other settings. During this visit we will be meeting with representatives from most of these WAGs and MAGs for four days of training, consulting and planning for the next steps in their community mobilization. This will include advanced training on cross-gender dialogue skills, the development of a behavior change continuum model for engaging men in GBV prevention, initiating an action planning process for engaging boys and girls in GBV prevention and gender equality, and planning for the creation of sustainable community based organizations.

In the Brussels airport we met the Liberian country director for Search for Common Ground, an international NGO dedicated to using media for peace-building. We had an inspiring conversation about how the men's and women's GBV prevention action groups could be a resource for media representations about peace-building initiatives in Liberia, and how SFCG could be a resource for helping the MAGs and WAGs to get our their messages about GBV prevention, positive masculinity and healthy families.

On the drive into Monrovia from the airport we listened to a radio program where one person after another made announcements about missing family and loved ones from the war that they are trying to find. It was a heartbreaking reminder that the impacts of the war are far from over in this beautiful and traumatized country.

In connection,
Steven Botkin

To read all Liberia entries in chronological order and to see photos from the trip, click here.

Posted by Daniel at May 18, 2008 10:54 AM


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