The work of ActionAid in ELRZ has led to women becoming increasingly involved in local community police work and peace making.
Zleh Garlo, a mother to 6 children, is one such example of how attitudes to women are altering radically as they assert their right to equality.
Zleh is now head of the Women and Children’s Section for the Community Police and is also a member of the Women’s Forum.
Before ActionAid began working in her community life was different, something she recalls clearly.
“During my young girl days, I used to have a lover that helped me. Through that, I got married. I had people working for me. I didn’t have to do anything. I was married well in Monrovia, but during the war, my man died and four of my children died. Since that time, I struggle by myself” she said.
In 1990, I went to the Ivory Coast, suffering with the children I had left. I came to grand Gedeh in 2001.The war ended here, it met me here.
“Before I was a native woman and not even exposed. At least my eyes are open. I never mixed with men. Today, I am not ashamed or afraid to be among men and take part in discussions or argue with them. Since I was born I never joined or knew about community policing, but right now I am one of the commanders for the women.
“When somebody is beating on their wife I identify myself as one of the community police commanders and first try to stop them. If they continue, I call for more community police members. I don’t decide cases outright about who is right or wrong. My business is to make peace. Since I have been judging cases, people know me and call me Mother and Police Commander."
Before, people teased me and made fun about what I do, but right now I am respected. I have more than 100 women under my command and more are joining.I feel fine because my eyes are opened now.