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Over 100 Liberian women complete police training under UN-backed initiative

Over 100 Liberian women complete police training under UN-backed initiative

More than 100 female police recruits have completed basic training with the help of a United Nations-backed programme designed to increase the number of women in the Liberian National Police (LNP), now bringing the total number of female officers to 356 – or nearly 10 per cent of the force.

The group represents the first set of female officers to benefit from the special educational support programme for female candidates – a joint initiative between the UN, the Liberian Government and the LNP – which aims to bring the educational level of women up to the high school graduation level so that they can qualify for recruitment into the country’s national police force.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony at the LNP Training Academy in Paynesville, a suburb of Monrovia, the Officer-in-Charge of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) congratulated the female police officers, and charged them to “further the cause of good governance in Liberia by conducting yourselves in line with the tenets of professionalism and the principles of democratic policing.”

Lt.-Gen. Chikadibia Isaac Obiakor added that female police officers have proven to be effective in handling cases of sexual and gender-based violence, perpetrated mainly against women and children. “UNMIL will not remain silent on this matter; we have therefore formed a strong partnership with the Liberian Government and other stakeholders to address this menace.”

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf called on the new female police officers to exhibit good character, credibility and confidence. “The values of these three principles must be embodied in everything you do,” she told the graduates.

The President applauded the increasing involvement of Liberian women in nation building and commended the new law enforcement officers for their patriotism in enlisting into the police.

Launched in January of this year, the special education programme was designed to help overcome some of the challenges faced by Liberian women, who suffered greatly during years of conflict in the West African nation, and to meet the target of 20 per cent female representation in the LNP.