Gbarma is one of the five districts in Gparpolu County, the newest of Liberia’s fifteen sub-divisions. It is in an area that was previously known as Lower Lofa County. The district is predominantly inhabited by Gola people. The population of Gbarma district is currently estimated to be 15,972 people (Liberia 2008 Census Results). According to oral history, they originated from ancient Sudan. The Golas are a warrior tribe, who it is claimed were very suspicious of strangers. They settled in this area after migrating from Kongba, near the Sierra Leonean border with Liberia. They migrated in search of the sea and trade with other communities.
Strengthening Communities Capacity to Keep Girls in Schools
ActionAid Liberia and partners have between 2010 and 2013 worked with the project: Strengthening Communities’ Capacity to Keep Girls in Schools. It covered six communities in Gbarpolu County.
The project was initiated due to exceptionally high drop-out rates among girls. The reasons include vulnerability to violence, harmful traditional practices, and dependency on male counterparts.
Via the project, women's and girl's independence was promoted with grants and business training in mother's clubs. Research on harmful traditional practices was done, and awareness about women's rights and violence against women was also raised among women and girls via various girl's forums in each community and in schools.
240 girls were involved in 12 girls forums, and 6 mothers’ clubs were created. These forums were important in order for the participants to provide each other with support.