The Liberia Armed Violence Observatory (LAVO), established in April 2011, regularly gathers, analyzes and reports on armed violence data in Liberia. The LAVO is a national facility, working collaboratively with government departments, non-governmental organizations, academics, media actors, and international organizations.
The LAVO was born out of the 2006 Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, a diplomatic initiative endorsed by over 100 states and aimed at addressing the interrelationship between armed violence and development, to which Liberia is signatory.
Implementation of the Geneva Declaration is centered on three pillars; advocacy, measurability and programming. The LAVO works primarily in line with the second pillar – monitoring – to improve understanding of the scope and scale of armed violence, and its negative impact on development.
The LAVO primarily uses existing data sources, bringing together data from actors with established data-gathering capacities, rather than building a new parallel system. In order to create an inclusive picture of the armed violence situation in Liberia, the LAVO receives data from various government and non-government data sources. All data are collated into a single database where duplicates are identified and addressed.
The LAVO uses its empirical analysis and findings to raise awareness of armed violence in Liberia and internationally. The LAVO provides policymakers with an improved understanding of the incidence and impact of armed violence, in order to inform evidence-based policies and programs that effectively reduce armed violence and its effects.
The LAVO is chaired by the Liberian Ministry of Internal Affairs and co-chaired by the West Africa Network on Peacebuilding (WANEP).