EU/UN Spotlight initiative


In Liberia, women and girls are extremely vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), social and political exclusion, and a lack of services especially in regards to access to justice. Persistent inequality and a culture of patriarchy is reflected in Liberia’s ranking in the global gender equality index: 177 out of 188 nations. The European Union and the United Nations launched the Spotlight Initiative aimed at addressing all forms of violence against women and girls, and eliminating harmful practices through a transformative and evidence-based approach, addressing unequal power relations between men and women and focusing on gender equality and women’s empowerment. This is in response to the need for strengthening the capacity of the Government of Liberia (GoL) to eradicate cases of sexual and Gender- Based Violence ( SGBV), Harmful Traditional Practices (HTPs) and building better institutional frameworks for enhanced protection capacities and services to survivors.

Under the Spotlight Initiatives Liberia’s Programme, UNDP focuses on enhancing integrated multi-sectoral capacities of national institutions, organizations and partners in preparedness, prevention and response. It also supports the integration of  multi-sectoral response services to all survivors ensuring effectiveness and efficiency as well as supports the development and operationalization of a coherent and inclusive framework by engaging different actors including CSOs, the private sector and women’s movement groups to eliminate violence against women and girls in Liberia.


The EU/UN Spotlight Programme aims to support the Government of Liberia in its efforts to build a society where vulnerable women and girls and marginalized groups can enjoy their full rights and achieve their potential in a secure and safe environment. Its ultimate goal is to reduce significantly the prevalence of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV),Harmful Traditional Practices (HPs) and their inter-linkages with sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

What have we achieved so far?

-Justice and security institutions as well as civil society organizations now have the capacity to adequately respond to cases of SGBV, harmful traditional practices (HTPs) and Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHRs) after participating in several different trainings and specialized courses. Topics included forensics, case mannagement and investigation, human trafficking, prevention, human rights laws, domestic laws community policing, legal aid services etc. Beneficiaries are applying the skills and knowledge during the conduct of invesitigations, monitoring and reporting of related cases as well as sensitization and public awareness. So far, 45 cases out of 222 received have been prosecuted with 22 convictions secured and 99 survivors receiving counselling.

-Support to the development of institutional frameworks has contributed to improvement in the protection and access to services for survivors. They are benefitting from  psychosocial counselling, feeding and transportation, emergency packages, and medical assistance. 

-The renovation of Women and Children Protection Sections (WACPS) in Lofa, Montserrado, Grand Cape Mount and, Nimba Counties now paves the way for officers of the Liberia National Police assigned to the unit to work in a better environment.

-The Laboratory at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital is fully equipped with assorted forensic equipment provided by the project. Now, the Pathologist has the requisite forensive tools needed to gather any piece of scientific evidence to support the judiciary speedily adjudicate cases of SGBV.