How women peace huts are transforming lives and communities in Liberia

A group of women smiling in front of a building
The Women of the National Peace Huts of Liberia at the end of a workshop held in Bong County. Photo: UN RCO Liberia/Doreen Kansiime
May 2, 2024

PUTU, Liberia – Evon Gbarduo lives in Putu, Tiama Town, a community along the Liberian-Ivorian border.

In this region, residents buy most of their goods and services from communities in neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire, as travelling to the Liberian capital of Monrovia is difficult due to heavy rains and poor road conditions. Unfortunately, this often means paying a higher price for household essentials.

Ms. Gbarduo, however, can sustain her family through her business, which she started after completing several training courses through the Spotlight Initiative-supported Peace Hut Sustainability programme. She also joined the village saving loan activity, a micro-finance model in which women can safely save money and access small loans, helping to reduce poverty.  

“I have attended many workshops and training [sessions], but the recent ones … on tie dye and soap-making seems to be the best so far. My skills in tailoring gave me an edge because all I needed to do was buy a bale of used clothes or bedsheets and dye them for sale,” said Ms. Gbarduo.

“These skills have expanded my income generating capacity which is making a positive impact in my life already.”

“These skills have expanded my income generating capacity which is making a positive impact in my life already.” - Evon Gbarduo, Peace Hut Chairperson

Peace Huts

Ms. Gbarduo is Chairperson of the Tiama Peace Hut, Grand Gedeh County. Peace huts provide spaces for women to mediate local and family disputes, serve as community watchdogs and to raise awareness of gender-based violence, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. They also help to fight the stigma that can be associated with sexual and gender-based violence, provide information about the services available to survivors and follow up with police, the justice sector, health care and other services to ensure that women and girls get the attention they need.

Other responsibilities include mobilizing socioeconomic support and offering psychological and emotional support to women and girls. 

Spotlight Initiative support has enabled an early warning response mechanism to help detect, prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence to be institutionalized in nine peace huts throughout Liberia. It’s also provided 40 peace hut women with economic and sustainable livelihood skills, so that they can earn an income.

As one of the longest serving peace hut members, Ms. Gbarduo is helping to train other peace hut members and contributes to fundraising to support community outreach and awareness activities in Tiama Town.

“Now I have the skills and resources that are required to produce [goods], I will ensure that the end products are of good quality and affordable to everyone, which will lessen the burden of people traveling far to get these things,” says Ms. Gbarduo.


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