Stories written by Bonnie Allen

LIBERIA: Chronic Malnutrition Blamed on Mothers

Mercy Freeman sits on a small hospital cot in one of Liberia’s emergency hospitals, looking down at her frail son, whose dark eye sockets have sunk into his bony face.

Many Liberian women are uncomfortable with being attended by male midwives. Can this resistance be overcome? What are the alternatives? Credit:  Bonnie Allen/IPS

LIBERIA: Men in Testing New Role as Midwives

Henry Teh gently slides down a blue hospital sheet to expose the bare belly of a pregnant woman. As he pokes around to feel the position of the foetus, the midwife-in-training knows he is breaking tradition and changing the face of obstetric care in Liberia.

Berniece Johnson, now 19, says poverty led to sex with an older man to pay for fees and a uniform. Pregnancy forced her to quit school altogether. Credit:  Bonnie Allen/IPS

Universal Education an Empty Promise for Liberia’s Girls

In a small office tucked behind the stairwell in Liberia’s Ministry of Education, the once-proud staff of the Girls’ Education Unit appear defeated.

LIBERIA: Paper Rights Flimsy Protection

Just a few metres outside the front door of a large white-washed courthouse in north central Liberia, Tete Garwo sells small plastic bags of cold water and passes time by pleading her case to thirsty customers. The 40-year old woman describes how she was forced out of her house by an abusive husband, then deprived of her half of the property.

For women like Queen Smith, it's a long trek from their forest homes in northern Liberia to health care at a hospital in the region's principal town, Ganta. Credit:  Bonnie Allen/IPS

HEALTH-LIBERIA: Rainy Season Deadly for Pregnant Women

As heavy rain hammers the grass thatch roof of her mud hut, Goromah Borbor huddles inside and quietly describes how her daughter Annie died while giving birth.