Former President Sirleaf launches third edtion of the Women Situation Room

August 30, 2023

Former President Sirleaf (middle) flanked by former Foreign Minister Akerelee (left) and head of ABIC Counselor Wureh (right).

UNDP Liberia

Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has launched the third edition of the Women’s Situation Room (WSR), which aims at promoting a peaceful and inclusive electoral process in the country. 

The Center, which is managed by the Angie Brooks International Center (ABIC), is a pioneering initiative that has played a significant role in ensuring peaceful elections in various African countries including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and Zimbabwe.

It is supported and funded by the European Union, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), among others.

Its approach involves a multi-stakeholder engagement strategy, bringing together women leaders, political parties, security agencies, election management bodies, and other key actors to support and advocate for peaceful elections.

“With all of our differences, counties of origin and political parties, we are one people dedicated to preserving this peace not for ourselves but our children,” Sirleaf said at the launch of the WSR on August 29. “And to give them a place where they can pursue their dreams and ambition or whatever they want and that’s why we come together as one.

“Once again, we have come together in the spirit of unity, togetherness, and the spirit of preserving the peace of this country. Let us vote because it’s a sacred responsibility and duty,” Sirleaf added. “Also, let us maintain the peace of our country for our generation here and to come. With that, I hereby launch the WSR.”

The WSR concept, which was initiated in 2011 by Counselor Yvette Chesson-Wureh, the Coordinator for the Angie Brooks International Centre, an NGO specializing in women’s rights, empowerment, and leadership, has been adopted by the African Union as a unique mechanism that seeks to prevent conflict before, during, and after elections.

The initiative also seeks to combat hate speech, and political violence and enhance peaceful co-existence during and after the 2023 presidential and legislative elections.

It serves as a neutral space where women can monitor the electoral process, mitigate tensions, and mediate disputes.  The WSR ensures that women’s voices are heard, and their concerns addressed, ultimately fostering a more inclusive and peaceful electoral environment.

The 3rd edition of its launch in Liberia comes as the country prepares for a critical time, the upcoming 2023 elections on October 10, which would either make or break the country depending on its outcome. 

Earlier, Chesson‐Wureh said that the third edition would focus on key activities such as voter education, and advocacy for peaceful conduct. Other areas of concern, according to Chesson‐Wureh, include conflict resolution and the deployment of women election observers across the country among others.