Caption: Front row (L-R): Kelera Nai Cokanasiga (House of Sara), Reverend Sereima Lomaloma (House of Sara), Tainivanuavou Bolabasaga (Fiji Girl Guides Association), Keleni Bola (Fiji Girl Guides Association), Jennifer Poole (Medical Services Pacific), Luisana Tabaiwalu (Medical Services Pacific). Back row (L-R): Luisa Vodonaivalu (UN Women), Reverend Anne Dunne (House of Sara), Leaine Robinson (Australian Government), Melissa Alvarado (UN Women), Luse Qereqeretabua (Department of Women), Teresia Ligaiviu (Fiji Girl Guides Association), Shabina Khan (UN Women), Tupou Vere (UN Women).Please credit image to UN Women.
Four projects targeting violence against women and girls in Fiji are among the list of UN Women’s Pacific Regional Ending Violence against Women Facility Fund (Pacific Fund) grant recipients announced today in Suva.
House of Sarah (Anglican Church), Medical Services Pacific, the Department for Women and the Fiji Girl Guides Association are four of 11 organisations in five Pacific countries that will receive grants from a total pool of more than FJ$1.35 million, as well as capacity building and technical support over the next two to three years as a result of the latest call for applications.
The Pacific Fund is a key component of UN Women’s Ending Violence against Women and Girls programme and was established in 2009 to support innovative projects work to prevent violence and provide services to survivors. It aims to help fill two of the main gaps experienced by many organisations and governments in the Pacific – funding and organisational capacity.
Funded organisations have access to a range of capacity development trainings that focus on gender-responsive and human rights based approaches, lobbying and advocacy for policy and legislative change, organisational management, development and implementation of integrated services for survivors of violence against women, and preventative measures and actions to promote the elimination of violence against women.
UN Women’s Ending Violence against Women and Girls programme specialist, Melissa Alvarado says she and her team are looking forward to working with the latest grant recipient organisations.
“We’ve already seen some fantastic developments for many of the organisations we’ve been working with since the Fund started, both in the services they provide and within the organisations themselves. It’s exciting to see the kind of change these grants and targeted capacity development can create on the ground for women and girls in Fiji. We are honoured to partner with organisations that are powerful change agents such as these.”
The new grant recipients are:
House of Sarah: Setting up a support service within the Anglican Church – Diocese of Polynesia for survivors of violence against women and girls, irrespective of religious backgrounds; training of clergy and leaders of women, youth and men’s groups as well as assisting in the implementation of the church’s organisational policy of zero tolerance within homes, schools, settlements and local parishes.
Medical Services Pacific: Educating students to recognise violence against women and girls and access assistance and services in six schools across the Central and Western divisions of Fiji.
Department for Women: Evaluating the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Communities project, which aims to generate community-based support, information, education and training, advice and referrals to other support services.
Fiji Girl Guides Association: After adapting the “Voices against Violence” co-educational curriculum developed in 2013 by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and UN Women, the Fiji Girl
Guides Association plans to roll out the curriculum in 189 schools around the country. The non-formal curriculum is designed for young people aged from 5 to 25 to learn and understand gender, the root causes of violence in their communities, ways to educate and work with their peers and communities to prevent such violence, and where to access support if they experience violence – with modules designed specifically for each age range.
Reverend Sereima Lomaloma, chairperson of the House of Sarah Management Committee says she feels blessed and fortunate that the project had been selected.
“Our aim is to significantly change the culture, behaviour and perceptions of church leaders so that churches are safe and more responsive to victims and survivors of violence as well as advocates for ending violence against women.”
Fiji Girl Guides Association executive officer, Tainivanuavou Bolabasaga, agrees, adding that grant allows the organisation to be the first in the Pacific to implement the WAGGGS and UN Women curriculum focused on children, adolescents, youth and parents.
The Pacific Fund is currently available in eight Pacific countries – Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu – and has active grant recipients in seven of these countries. It is principally funded by the Australian Government and also receives support from UN Women’s National Committees in Australia and New Zealand.
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