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TRC Trains 42 Female Traditional Leaders

Under the aegis of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Women Campaign International (WCI) Women's project, the three days training sessions provided the traditional women basic knowledge and skills of how to encourage their compatriots to come to the ongoing TRC process and detail their experiences.

Held at the Traditional Women Peace Village in Dudu Town, Brewersville, outside Monrovia, the 42 female traditional leaders engaged in interactive sessions with facilitators and recounted experiences of what happened to them during the civil war. The women were trained to utilize traditional methods of communication to encourage women's participation following their return to their respective towns and villages, TRC Commissioner with oversight for Women and Gender Issues, Madame Massa A. Washington said.

During the discussions, facilitators lectured the participants on reparation for women, prosecution and amnesty in the TRC Process. Facilitators included TRC Commissioner John H. T. Stewart, Madame Maima Sirleaf-Kanneh of the Women Development Association of Liberia (WOCDAL), Liberia's Cultural Ambassador Julie Endee who is assisting the TRC implement the projects and Ralph Ambiem of UNMIL's Human Rights Section.

The sessions were preceded last week by the training of 15 Psychosocial/Trauma Counselors to provide follow-up psychosocial treatment to women who have given testimonies to the Truth Commission.

Meanwhile, simultaneous Zonal Workshops for male partners of women wanting to access the TRC will commence next week in the capitol, Monrovia.

During the workshops, 200 spouses and partners of women will be trained around the country to support their female love ones wanting to access the TRC and also those who have come to the TRC.

Husbands and partners of women will be sensitized on the importance and benefits of cooperating and supporting their partners coming to the TRC.

Four Hundred male partners are expected to be trained at the end of this session which will also convene simultaneously in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, Gbarnga, Bong County and Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County.

These activities are preludes to the ensuing Women's Thematic Hearings slated for the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia. Throughout the hearings the women population will receive special attention as women's organizations, groups and special interest category will formally present the experiences of women covering the period of the TRC mandate.

The hearings will be climaxed by a National Conference for Women, where final set of recommendations will be adopted by the women and forwarded to the TRC for inclusion in the commission's final report. The recommendations are expected to focus on reparation, amnesty, prosecution and various kinds of institutional reforms.

Funded by Women's Campaign International (WCI), the women's project is organized by the TRC Women and Gender Committee headed by Commissioner Massa Washington.

WCI is an organization that works throughout the world to remove political, social and economic obstacles that limit women's active involvement in decision-making processes. WCI's programs increase the number of female elected officials, ensure their effectiveness once elected, and build the capacity of advocacy and civil society organizations to improve the lot of women and their families. The organization is based in Philadelphia, PA, the United States of America.

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