Published on 25th November 2015
All over the Pacific, including New Zealand, organisations and agencies who work with women and girls are calling for an end. UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka says, very simply: “It is not acceptable. It is not inevitable. It can be prevented.”
Every day, VSA volunteers around the Pacific work to end violence against women. They support our partner organisation to offer survivors of gender-based violence safe spaces, legal help and counselling. They work with governments to create policies to deal with gender-based violence, and they work with perpetrators of violence, to give them the tools to build healthy, respectful relationships.
Many more work to empower women and girls through good education, healthcare and business mentoring, so they have the ability to lead independent lives.
Today, in Fiji, UN Women, supported by VSA volunteers Alia Bloom, Martin Child, Ellie van Baaren and Allanah Kidd, launches 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, ending on 10 December, World Human Rights Day.
In Papua New Guinea, volunteer Rob Francis has worked with the New Ireland Provincial Division to make today part of their 20 days of activism, holding a march in Kaveing to “promote peace in the home”.
This year, VSA volunteers and their partners have made great strides. Lauren Hart worked with ChildFund Papua New Guinea to set up the country’s first toll-free nationwide hotline for survivors of gender-based violence.
Tapu Tuisuga worked as a counsellor with Samoa Victim Support Group, where he helped set up a successful stopping violence programme with male offenders.
In Bougainville, Liz Hicks continued her work with the Nazareth Rehabilitation Centre, providing safe houses for women and children, and working with men to prevent more offending.
Other volunteers working in this field this year include:
• Pauline Dennehy, Family Planning and Youth Sexual reproductive Health Specialist, Cook Islands Family Welfare Association
• Suzanne Marshall, Family Planning and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health Specialist. Kiribati
• Lesley Young, Crisis Centre Adviser, Women and Children Crisis Centre, Tonga
• Ayako Ioroi, Joint Programme Coordinator, Ending Violence against Women, UN Wome, Solomon Islands
• Fiona Morris, Markets for Change Communications and Monitoring Officer, UN Women Vanuatu
• Olivia Owen, Inter-Agency Initiatives Coordinator, UN Women Fiji
• Marni Gilbert, Project and Communications Officer, UN Women Solomon Islands Kate Burry, Youth Worker, WanSmol Bag