Astarte in Cote d'Ivoire (and Liberia)
Women's Rights International (WRI) helps refugees and displaced women from countries in conflict to create gender-based violence projects. WRI educates individuals and institutions to work towards prevention or rape, sexual coercion, and other violence during war. WRI believes the importance of understanding gender-based violence with a reproductive health lens.
Multiple civil wars in West Africa caused displacement in the region. People from Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Cote d'Ivoire sought refuge in neighboring countries and many moved to look for safety in their country's own borders. WRI worked with IDPs in Liberia, Sierra Leonean refugees living in Liberia, and Liberian refugees who lived in Cote d'Ivoire.
WRI's women's health program for displaced Liberian midwives was designed to raise awareness and mobilize communities to decrease gender-based violence. Through this project, WRI sought to increase the number of traditional midwives who could address gender-based violence in Liberia, and to increase the awareness of gender-based violence among refugees and local institutions.
After the Grant:
The Women's Health and Development Program (WHDP) achieved full autonomy from WRI in 1998, after a 4-year collaboration that emphasized leadership development and skill-building in documentation, program development, and organizational management. The WHDP team has trained the midwives in Liberia using a unique storytelling program that raises awareness and mobilizes communities to decrease gender-based violence. Based on lessons learned from the WHDP, WRI began a long-term collaboration with a team of young teachers in rural Haiti in February 2000.