This article presents a summary of the qualitative data from research carried out in post-conflict Liberia by Isis-WICCE, a women’s international non-government organisation, in conjunction with the Ministry of Gender and Development of Liberia and Women in Peace-building Network, WIPNET. Analysis of research findings detail women’s experiences of conflict and the serious effects of sexual violence and torture on their physical and psychological health. The paper also describes the omission of women from justice and rehabilitation processes. In support of women participants’ views, the author’s recommend that funding is urgently required for the provision of holistic and sustainable, gender-sensitive services. Additional recommendations are made with respect to health, justice and policy changes in line with enhancing women survivor’s roles and utilising their skills and resilience.
Helen Liebling-Kalifani is a Lecturer-Practitioner in Clinical Psychology, Coventry University. She helped establish the clinical psychology masters course at Makerere University, Uganda. In collaboration with Isis-WICCE and African Psycare Research Organisation, she has been carrying out research with women war-torture survivors in Africa since 1998. Her PhD and recent research carried out in Kitgum are published as books. She has carried out consultancy and training in northern Uganda and Liberia.
Victoria Mwaka is a Professor at Makerere University and has a PhD in Economic Geography and Development Studies. She was the lead researcher in the Liberia research study and was previously MP for the District of Luwero. She is an active campaigner and supporter of women’s rights in Uganda.
Ruth Ojiambo-Ochieng is Executive Director of Isis-Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange, Kampala. Ruth has been coordinating research intervention projects since 1996. Initially Isis-WICCE carried out research with women war survivors in Luwero and Districts of northern and north-eastern Uganda. More recently Isis-WICCE has carried out research with women war survivors in Liberia and Southern Sudan. This expertise led to Isis-WICCE being awarded a prize for their outstanding achievement
Juliet Were-Oguttu is the Programme Coordinator – Information and Documentation at Isis-WICCE. She coordinates documentation and research on women’s realities in armed conflict. Isis-WICCE is a global action oriented women’s non-government organisation with the aim of promoting justice and women’s human rights. Their major areas of focus since 1996, is documenting women’s realities in armed conflict and peace situations from a human rights perspective.
Eugene Kinyanda is a Consultant Psychiatrist and Research Manager with MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS. He carried out his PhD research in suicidology. He has carried out research with war survivors at the African Centre for Treatment of Torture Victims, African Psycare Research Organisation, Isis-WICCE, and with MOH/WHO Northern Uganda Mental health Project. Through this work he developed training manuals for health workers in the psychological and medical management of war survivors.
Deddeh Kwekwe is the Gender-Based Violence Co-ordinator in the Ministry of Gender and Development in Liberia. She has a Bachelors degree in Chemistry from Cottingham University. Her role involves coordinating all GBV issues in the country and to ensure monitoring and evaluation of these. She also co-ordinates research activities. She attended training at Ghent University on co-ordination training on GBV in humanitarian settings in 2008.
Lindora Howard is the National Network Coordinator of Women in West Africa Network for Peace-building (WANEP-Liberia Chapter). She was recently awarded a Senior Chevening Fellowship to study at the University of York in the United Kingdom. She has a degree in Sociology and Management from the University of Liberia. She is an active campaigner on women’s issues and has over twelve year’s peace experience.
Cecilia Danuweli is the Programme Officer for Women in Peace-building Network (WIPNET/WANEP). She has a Bachelors degree in Management and Sociology from the University of Liberia. She was one of the research assistants involved in the Liberia research, medical intervention and training.
Liebling-Kalifani, Helen; Mwaka, Victoria; Ojiambo-Ochieng, Ruth; Were-Oguttu, Juliet; Kinyanda, Eugene; Kwekwe, Deddeh; Howard, Lindora; and Danuweli, Cecilia
"Women War Survivors of the 1989-2003 Conflict in Liberia: The Impact of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 12:
1, Article 1.