Issue eight - October 2015

Delivered bi-monthly, Pacific Women E-News provides readers with information and updates on Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development - an Australian Government program focused on improving gender equality and women's empowerment across the Pacific. Catch up on what you missed in the last edition of Pacific Women E-News here.

Fiji, PNG and Samoa Learn About Adaptive Leadership

Viva Tatawaqa was one of the 21 women leaders and gender advocates at the Adaptive Leadership Training held in Fiji in July. Photo: Shazia Usman, Pacific Women.

Strengthening the skills of Pacific women to better represent their gender equality agendas at regional and global forums, was the objective of a pilot Adaptive Leadership Training held in Fiji from 23-25 July 2015.
Attended by 21 women leaders and gender advocates from governments and civil societies from Fiji, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Samoa, as well as participants from key regional organisations, the training was part of a Pacific Women and Pacific Leadership Program (PLP) led pilot program. While PLP has been using adaptive leadership concepts in its support of Pacific leaders since 2012, this was the first time the training brought together advocates working to address regional gender challenges.
Adaptive leadership equips change makers with the skills needed to make positive change on important issues, often in challenging and uncertain environments. The framework focuses on four key distinctions between: (1) exercising authority and leadership; (2) technical problems and adaptive challenges; (3) exercising leadership to make progress on adaptive challenges rather than just having power; and (4) personality and presence.
Part of the methodology of the training utilised a ‘case in point’ approach where the group or the room became a live case study. Participants used the process to demonstrate learning, to practice concepts and elements of the adaptive leadership framework. 

Some of the participants shared their advocacy work and reflection on the three-day training:

Luisa Miracle Tinai, Fiji Disabled People’s Federation’s Women’s Group President and a member of the Fiji Young Women’s Forum: “I am a young woman with an acquired disability and new to disability work, having started in 2012. I hadn’t heard about it [adaptive leadership] before but I was excited to be part of the training. I saw it as an opportunity to enhance my capacity. My expectation is to know where I can apply the skills that I will gain, in the work that I do. I want to know if adaptive leadership is what we need to sustain the work that we do for the longer run.” Read more here

Louisa Apelu, Samoan Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development’s Division for Women’s Assistant Chief Executive Officer: “I was grateful to be part of this training as it’s a concept I had not heard of before. I was interested to see how such an approach to leadership could be used as a tool to support my efforts in Samoa. Those were my initial expectations – to see if there was a way I could be able to adapt it for my work and how to best share it with my colleagues.”  Read more here.

Florence Naina, Project Officer, Bougainville Women's Federation: “What I learn here is not only for myself, it is for the Federation and all the women we work with. I learnt how we can change existing structures and attitudes. I also learnt that projects that have not done well can be used as examples of how to do something better next time round." Read more here
Viva Tatawaqa, Management Collective Members of Diverse Voices and Action for Equality Fiji (DIVA for Equality): “It would be a real challenge for me to practice this form of leadership. Speaking about it is one thing but actually practicing it would be something else but from what I have seen and heard since the beginning of this training is that, you will never get to the real issue if you don’t talk about the uncomfortable things.” Read more here.
Cherelle Fruean, Samoa, Member of the Young Women's Christian Association and FRIDA: The Young Feminist Fund’s Advisory Committee: [The training] has provoked us to think deeply. As advocates we get many opportunities to get together and speak. At this training we are doing a lot of thinking and I feel that there is more freedom to delve into the issues because there is no restriction on time.” Read more here.

Seventy-eight per cent of the participants found the training useful, having learnt new concepts and skills and a willingness to adapt it in their work. Some key recommendations to Pacific Women and PLP by the participants include the convening of a refresher session for the pilot training participants, as well as sharing the experience and learnings of this training at the Pacific Women’s leadership dialogue proposed for 2016.   

Pathway to Establishing RMI’s First Support Service for Survivors of VAW

Women United Together Marshall Islands staff. Photo: Emily Miller, Pacific Women. 

As part of their project to establish the first ever support service for survivors of violence against women and girls in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI), in partnership with Pacific Women, has been busy implementing a comprehensive community engagement program on the design of the proposed service. 

Early results show that women want the following support services: alternative, safe accommodation for women who are experiencing violence; a focus on prevention of violence against women through community education and awareness raising regarding women’s rights as well as the laws surrounding violence against women; intervention programs with men who choose to commit violence against women; assistance in accessing justice, especially through the assistance of the police.

WUTMI has consulted more than 175 people from four atolls, including through discussions with over 150 local women in participatory community consultation workshops and case study interviews with women who have experienced intimate partner domestic violence. Ninety-five of the women who have participated in the workshops completed a questionnaire about their experience of violence, with 56 per cent self-identifying that they had experienced some form of domestic violence.

A number of issues have emerged, including observations from facilitators that before participating in these consultation, the majority of the women were unaware of what violence against women is, many being led to believe that it is normal or a natural way of life.

WUTMI’s Domestic Violence Counselling Service Project Coordinator, Lilly Samson, shared her experience of seeing women realise for the first time that they are survivors of violence: “So many of the ladies, they think this type of violence from their husbands is normal.  I see in the workshop when they realise it is not. It can be hard for them to learn this but also makes them happy to know. And then they want to know more and how to stop it.”

Participants of the workshop included representatives from women’s groups who also identified the lack of awareness of domestic violence as a crime, as one of the main reasons why violence against women is an underreported experience and have questioned the reliability of the official statistics of the number of women and girls experiencing domestic violence in the RMI. 
Women who were familiar with domestic violence, tended to only associate it with physical violence. A workshop participant shared: “He was once in jail for punching my daughter on the head with a rock. She called my brother and my brother called the police right away and they went and arrest him.” Said another: “…before we only think physical abuse is the only abuse but now we know that there are more than this.”

On the topic of unwanted sex, many women expressed shock and disbelief when learning that wives are not obliged to have sex with their husbands and that men who coerce or force their partners to have sex are perpetrating sexual violence. Shared a participant: “I didn’t know before that we have right to say no to our husband when we don’t have to have sex with them.” Said another participant: “I have so many friends do this but I did not know. I always thought because they’re partners or husband and wife, its ok.”

The consultations also revealed that some women regularly undergo physical inspections by their partners, to determine if she is having sex with someone else. It is only during these workshops, that women learnt for the first time that this is a tactic men use to police women’s choices and actions, conforming them to rigid gender roles that restrict their freedoms and blame them for intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Many women are unware that these actions are a crime under the laws of the country.

These tactics of intimate partner domestic violence further reinforce other notions of gender norms that allow men to use violence with impunity, such as the belief that men cannot control their sexual desires and that women are to blame if their husbands cheat on them.  Notions of femininity require women to prioritise family harmony and stability over their own rights and well-being.

* Quotes are verbatim.

Article prepared by WUTMI. 

Increasing Political Participation of Women in Samoa 

L-R: DFAT Tonga Post's Gender Program Manager Ronicera Fuimaono with Dr. Namulauulu Nuualofa Potoi at the election information session held in Apia. The session focused on the impact of the Constitutional Amendment Act of 2013 that guaranteed 10 per cent of seats in Samoa's Legislative Assembly for women. Photo: UN Women. 

As Samoa winds up for next year’s general election, a joint program is drawing on the combined expertise, resources and relationships of the United Nations and government to help increase the number of women in parliament. Just three women are currently in the 49-seat parliament. In the 2011 election, just eight of the 162 candidates were women.

The Increasing Political Participation of Women in Samoa (IPPWS) Program is a joint program between UN Women and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Government of Samoa, with funding from Pacific Women, UNDP and UN Women. 

The March 2016 election is the first since a constitutional amendment in 2013 that reserved 10 per cent of seats in parliament for women. Samoa is the first country in the Pacific, outside of French Polynesia, to put in place measures to ensure women’s representation at the national level. If five women are not elected, extra seats will be added; however, if five women are elected then the measure is not activated.

“The 10 per cent mark should not be seen as a target, but a minimum,” explains UN Women’s Country Program Coordinator for Samoa, Suisala Mele Maualaivao. “Ideally, we’d like to see a much higher representation of women in Samoa’s government and the IPPWS program is designed to support candidates, voters, and parliamentarians in making that happen.”

The IPPWS program focuses on awareness-raising, capacity building for women participating in the parliamentary process, and providing information and training to political parties ahead of the election. It also includes post-election mentoring support for all members of parliament on subjects such as gender-responsive budgeting and gender-sensitive legislation.

Since it launched in April 2015 workshops have been held for journalism students, nongovernmental organisations, potential candidates and community trainers on the amendment itself, election processes and the issue of women in parliament. Over the next few months more training will be held for potential candidates including a practice parliament.

Partners such as the National Council of Women, Samoa Ala Mai and Samoa’s Umbrella Organisation for NGOs (SUNGO) have also begun rolling out their contributions to the program. Elections Talk, a weekly radio talkback show that provides a platform for partners, women candidates and local experts to reach both urban and rural populations started broadcasting in August, while a radio drama series that follows the challenges a woman candidate faces on her journey to the election went on air in September. SUNGO’s trainers will be heading out into communities across the country in October to help educate Samoans about their voting rights, registration processes, and the importance of having women in parliament.

IPPWS Coordinator, Gatoloai Tili Afamasaga, says increasing women’s political participation in Samoa relies on a shift in attitudes around the roles women can and should play in politics: “There is a tremendous amount of leadership potential among Samoa’s women, and they have a right to a voice in parliament. These activities provide opportunities to share information and resources, answer questions, provoke discussion and encourage change.”

The IPPWS program officially launched in April 2015 and will finish at the end of September 2016.

Article prepared by UN Women. For more information visit their website and Facebook.

Solomon Islands Women Entrepreneurs Participate in Business Expo
SIWIBA Coordinator Nina Tuhaika (second from right) and members set up their stall at the Expo in Port Moresby. Photo: SIWIBA.
The Solomon Islands Women in Business Association (SIWIBA) attended the Digicel ‘Women in Business Expo’ in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG) from 2 - 12 July 2015.
The PNG Expo, which coincided with the 2015 Pacific Games, was an initiative of the PNG Women in Business Foundation to raise the profile of women entrepreneurs in the small and medium enterprises. SIWIBA was invited to participate in the Expo by the President of the PNG Women in Business Foundation, Janet Sape. According to her, the Expo was “an ideal avenue to promote trade and commerce opportunities in the region for our women”.
Eight women from SIWIBA attended the Expo, taking handicrafts from all the nine provinces in the Solomon Islands. The women sold more than 3,000 products on behalf of the broader SIWIBA membership. This trip provided opportunities for SIWIBA to increase its partnerships and linkages with similar women’s organisations in PNG. It provided the members valuable insights on the potential to connect with larger markets outside of Honiara and the demand for niche products from Solomon Islands, in the region.
The Australian High Commission in Honiara provided financial support to assist SIWIBA’s participation in the Expo. This support is in addition to DFAT’s three year financial support of more than $485,000 to SIWIBA announced in October last year, under the Solomon Islands Pacific Women country plan.
Speaking at SIWIBA’s 10th anniversary celebrations this year, Australian High Commissioner to Honiara, Andrew Byrne said: “Running a business, whether it be large or small, is about much more than just earning an income. The vision of SIWIBA is that women will also be empowered - that their businesses will give them a sense of pride and an opportunity to demonstrate their skills.”

Article prepared by DFAT, Honiara Post.

Registration Signals Positive Change Ahead for Vanuatu Market Vendors  

The Treasurer of the Silae Vanua Market Vendors Association, Janes Kalo (far right) signs the founding constitution at the Port Vila Central Market on 15 May 2015. Photo: UN Women. 

Market vendors in Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila are looking forward to improvements in their work place as registration of the country’s first fresh-produce market association took effect in early July.   

The Silae Vanua Market Vendors Association (Silae Vanua) has gained certification under the Charitable Associations (Incorporation) Act. This gives the association legal standing to engage in decision-making, and agree on improvements and operating conditions with market managers and the municipal council in charge of the Port Vila Central Market. 

Women make up over 90 per cent of Silae Vanua which includes vendors from off-shore islands around the main island of Efate. In total around 1,000 market vendors are represented by the association.

Registration of Silae Vanua followed large celebrations at the signing of the association’s founding constitution attended by more than 200 people at the Port Vila Central Market on 15 May 2015.

Silae Vanua spokeswoman, Salomè Perkonè said the association is focused on growth, with a recruitment drive next on the agenda: "Over time we hope to build up the skills and resources to represent our members in any market in Vanuatu where Silae Vanua membership is represented.”

Silae Vanua was set up as a result of “Getting Started” workshops held in Vanuatu in late 2014 as part of UN Women’s Markets for Change project. The workshops focus on supporting market vendors in getting organised so they can take part in the decision-making processes that govern their workplace; an important part of this process is forming and running representative, inclusive and democratic associations.

Markets for Change International Project Manager for Vanuatu, Begona Vazquez, said many members of Silae Vanua lost their homes and gardens when Category 5 Cyclone Pam devastated the islands in the south-east of Vanuatu on 13 March 2015. She said it is testament to their determination that work on the founding constitution and incorporation of Silae Vanua maintained momentum in the months following the cyclone: "This is an exciting step ahead for all market vendors in Vanuatu. Participating in economic activities, such as selling surplus produce at the markets, allows women to effect positive change in their own lives and their communities, with ripple effects for the whole nation,” she said. “We look forward to working with the association and local government counterparts to establish market places that support women’s economic aspirations, are safe, inclusive, and accountable to the needs of women.” 

Article prepared by: UN Women. Markets for Change is principally funded by Pacific Women and aims to strengthen women’s economic security and rights in market places throughout Vanuatu, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands. The six-year initiative includes three markets sites in Vanuatu – Port Vila, Luganville and Marobe – as well as five Shefa Province ring road markets.

Formal Education Opportunities for Rural Women in Fiji

L-R: Sonam Narayan, Mereseini Kuruivadra and Nandini Raman are part of the 25 scholarship recipients working towards a Certificate in Beauty & Spa Therapy and a more secure future. Photo: Shazia Usman, Pacific Women. 

A dream come true” is how students enrolled at the South Pacific Academy of Beauty Therapy described their selection into the Academy’s scholarship program.

Supported by Pacific Women, the Nadi-based Academy, is providing 25 students (24 women and one man) from rural areas around Fiji between the ages of 18 and 40, a chance to attain a Certificate in Beauty & Spa Therapy Level IV.

The program is the brainchild of award winning business woman Debra Sadranu, who is the Principal of the Academy and Managing Director of Essence of Fiji: Rejuvenation Centre and the chain of Senikai Spas around Fiji. The Centre is where the students do their theoretical and practical sessions along with practical attachments throughout the Senikai chain.

The Academy is recognised by the Fiji Higher Education Commission and is a member of the Advanced Association of Beauty Therapists Australia which provides quality assurance on the curriculum to maintain international standards.

According to Sadranu, who established the Academy in 1998, the number of students enrolling at the Academy declined significantly after the Fiji National Provident Fund stopped giving educational assistance to students wishing to study in private institutions: “The demand for students graduating from our course is high in the tourism industry but we were unable to meet the demand because students were unable to enrol without FNPF assistance. We tried to do a scheme, where if students were able to pay half the fees, the Academy would make up for the other half, but the majority still couldn’t afford it. Our courses are of the same quality as those in Australia but provided at half the price but we still had that issue.”

Through Pacific Women’s support, the Academy is now not only able to cover the tuition cost of 25 of the students but also provide them with text books, uniforms and living allowance - a much needed relief for all the students, who come from low income earning families.

“All of them also earn trainee wages for the days they are rostered on to do sessions with clients, which is part of their practical work. The good thing about this course is that not only do students learn about beauty therapy, they also learn about the anatomy, financial literacy and stock management. It’s quite holistic. The best part is that demand for their skills is quite high so they will have no difficulty securing jobs in the spa industry once they graduate," said Sadranu.

Head Trainer Anjaleen Kumar has been working with Senikai Spas for the last 10 years and is now training the students. She says she can see the difference in the student confidence as days go by: “They’re more confident, asking questions, helping each other and are just as eager for the theory sessions, as they are for the practical ones.”

Two of the students reflect on how this opportunity is improving their lives and empowering them to be more assertive in everyday situations: 
Sonam Narayan, 27: “I am really glad that I got this opportunity. Before I was always getting help from my mum and my younger sister, and being the eldest child in the family, I didn’t really feel good about always asking for help. After doing this course, I will not only be able to support my seven-year-old son and myself but them as well. After my divorce when I wasn’t working, people had tried to get me married off again but after I have done my course, I can tell them that I can support myself and don’t need a man to support me. I can do it myself.” Read more here.
Lusiana Cawai, 18: “I was so happy when I got the scholarship! My mum was very happy too and she supported my decision to come here. She said she wanted a good future for me. After I finish studying I want to be able to support them better with what I earn. After I finish my studies, I would love to work in other Pacific islands, such as the Cook Islands. I want to earn money and hopefully save up to do a diploma. It would also be nice to become a trainer one day.” Read more here
Republic of Marshall Island's Yoshiko Yamaguchi-Capelle is the first young Pacific Island woman to be appointed to the Pacific Women Advisory Board. She was nominated to the Board through the Pacific Young Women’s Alliance, a group she has been involved with for a number of years now. She shared with Pacific Women: "I have been an advocate for youth from a human right’s perspective since I returned from university in 2012 because of the issues surrounding youth in the Marshall’s. More than half of the population consists of people below the age of 30 who are struggling with numerous social issues. I’m so excited to work with the other Board members. They have all done such great work in their countries. I’m also really excited to contribute from a young women’s perspective." Read Yoshiko's  story in full here.

Photo: Emily Miller, Pacific Women.

Upcoming Events

Third Pacific Women Advisory Board Meeting to be held in Honiara

Comprising eminent Pacific Island women and men, the Pacific Women Advisory Board reflects the Australian Government’s commitment to a Pacific-led response to improving the opportunities for political, economic and social advancement of women across the region.

The Board provides advice on the strategic direction of Pacific Women. The third Advisory Board meeting will be held in Honiara, Solomon Islands on 4 November 2015. Three new members will be welcomed during this meeting including – Natalia Latu, Deputy Chief Executive Office, Policy and Reform Division, Ministry of Finance and National Planning (Tonga); Lesieli Taviri, Chairperson of the PNG Business Coalition for Women and General Manager of Origin Energy (PNG); and Yoshiko Yamaguchi-Capelle from the Pacific Young Women’s Leadership Alliance’s (RMI)

More information on the Advisory Board, including outcomes from the first and second meeting can be found here

Pacific Women’s First Progress Report – 2012-2015

Pacific Women will be presenting its First Progress Report since the inception of the program, following the Pacific Leaders’ Gender Equality Declaration in 2012.

Among other things, the Report will highlight progress against the program's key outcome areas - focusing on women’s leadership and decision-making, economic empowerment, ending violence against women and enhancing agency - as well as by country, through a series of case-studies highlighting the voices and lived experiences of Pacific women.

The Report is expected to be launched during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. A static e-copy will be made available on Pacific Women’s website alongside an interactive version of the report. 

GIRLS Make Digital Stories for 16 Days of Activism

One of the participants of the GIRLS Project learning how to make a digital story using an  iPad.  Photo: Shazia Usman, Pacific Women. 

During an action-packed weekend in late September, 17 girls used all their creative energies to bring to life digital stories capturing their thoughts and lived experiences on issues related to bullying, gender, discrimination, empowerment, peace and education.

These digital story-tellers are part of a Fiji Women’s Rights Movement’s empowerment project called GIRLS. Grow-Inspire-Relate-Lead-Succeed is a critical part of the FWRM’s Young Women in Leadership Program and is one of Fiji’s leading feminist-based gender equality projects for 10-12 year girls.

In the lead up to the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign this year, FWRM, with support from the United Nations Development Programme with funding from the European Union, the International Women’s Development Agency and technical assistance from Pacific Women, worked with the girls to storyboard ideas, script and produce the stories using digital technology. Each story is about two minutes long and were made using the iMovie application on iPads.

Many of the girls were used to taking videos and photographs but none had ever created a story with voiceovers. They found the whole experience stimulating:

Rosene, who put together a story using peace as the central theme, said: “The thing I liked about the two-day training is when I had to look for photos to fit my story and also take videos of the environment. I learnt how to put the photos and videos on iMovie and make a digital story myself.”

Akansha’s story was on the importance of empowering girls: “I liked everything about the training. It was exciting and full of new things to learn. It’s a good experience for every girl – to learn how to make digital stories. I liked editing the photos as well and seeing what fit with my story.”

Barbara’s story highlighted the different expectations from girls and boys in her family: “I loved making my own video and sharing my own story. I leant a lot from the trainers.”

The digital stories will be launched during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. Links will be made available via FWRM’s Facebook page, as well as in the next issue of Pacific Women’s e-newsletter. 

Latest Updates

Tuvalu Country Plan

Tuvalu is about to endorse its first Pacific Women country plan. This country plan will be implemented over a three-year period, from 2015 to 2018, with estimated funding of up to $1.8 million.

This country plan is closely aligned with the Government of Tuvalu’s (GoT) priorities, policies, plans and commitments. It also builds on existing efforts by Australia and other donors to support work in six key areas including: (1) Addressing issues of domestic violence; (2) Increasing women’s participation in leadership and decision-making positions; (3) Increased women’s access to employment opportunities; (4) A focus on the welfare of youth; (5) Support for people with disabilities; and (6) Technical support to strength the capacity of gender and social inclusion organisations and institutional mechanisms.

The plan was developed through a comprehensive literature review; in-country consultations in November 2014 with a wide range of stakeholders representing government, local leaders, nongovernmental organisations, churches and the private sector; as well as through direct discussion with women, youth and people with disabilities.

Once endorsed by the GoT, a copy of the country plan summary will be made available on Pacific Women's website. 

Strengthening Partnerships in RMI 

L-R: WUTMI's Executive Director (ED) Kathryn Relang with former ED and present Executive Committee member, Daisy Alik-Momotaro. Photo: Emily Miller, Pacific Women. 

As part of its commitment to the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), Pacific Women has been working closely with Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI) – the leading voice against violence against women and girls.
The Pacific Women Support Unit’s Senior Programs Manager, Emily Miller, was recently in RMI to undertake an organisational review with WUTMI, to document the current state of organisational processes and to establish a baseline from which WUTMI, with support and guidance from Pacific Women, can make and measure organisational improvements over the next three years.
The review reaffirmed the importance of supporting local women’s organisations, such as WUTMI, who have proven the essential role they play in the political, economic and social advancement of women in their countries.
It was evident from the review that WUTMI has earned the respect of a number of organisations, including government and local nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and has proven its effectiveness, most recently as a critical player in the passing of the RMI’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Protection Act in 2011.
Those interviewed as part of the review process acknowledged WUTMI as an important implementing partner with the ability to “get things done” and tackle the “big issues” in the RMI. The organisation’s structure, with membership from 22 of the 24 outer islands in the RMI, gives WUTMI an unrivaled ability to reach remote and vulnerable communities. One stakeholder shared: “They [WUTMI] have the right network. The Executive Committee has a lot of very powerful women. Women with immense influence and knowledge.”  Another said that before WUTMI’s establishment in 1987, gender inequality was never discussed: “WUTMI has exposed the stigma around domestic violence. Now, more young women are comfortable voicing their concerns”.
Despite this, WUTMI does not escape the common issue of insecure funding for women’s organisations in the Pacific, with their funding to date being project to project based. This challenge has prevented WUTMI from championing important and often time critical issues.  

WUTMI and Pacific Women will finalise the details of their new partnership when the review is finalised towards the end of October. 

Gender Equality Training 

With an aim to further enhance the skills and knowledge needed to undertake gender analysis in the Pacific, DFAT recently held its fourth Gender Equality Training for its gender focal point staff from across the Pacific region and other Australia High Commission staff in Fiji.
The training, held in Suva from 6-7 August 2015 and attended by 30 participants, also for the first time included implementing partners working on DFAT supported investments. Feedback from the group indicated that the shared space contributed to richer discussions and learning.
The objectives of the training were to learn, discuss and understand: 1) key gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment concepts and their importance in achieving development outcomes; 2) Why DFAT’s work  focuses on women’s economic empowerment, ending violence against women and girls and increasing women’s decision-making, participation and leadership; and 3) How gender analysis across the aid program cycle can achieve better outcomes and what are some of the key entry points that can be used.
In opening the training, the Australian Head of Mission to Fiji, Margaret Twomey highlighted transforming attitudes of men and boys as key to challenging gender inequality: “It is necessary to include men in gender and development work.  Gender inequality is intimately tied to men’s practices and identities, men’s participation in gender relations, and masculine discourses and culture. If we want to move faster in progressing change we need to engage and work with men and boys alongside women and girls. Empowering women and girls is a strategic target in the aid program where eighty per cent [80 per cent] of aid investments must effectively address gender equality issues in their implementation.”
The training was also a step towards enhancing partnerships and improving capacity towards this target.

EVAW Toolkit First of its Kind in the Pacific

Image: UN Women

UN Women through its Pacific Regional Ending Violence against Women Facility Fund (Pacific Fund), with funding from Pacific Women, has developed a first of its kind Pacific toolkit on ending violence against women.

Titled How to design projects to end violence against women and girls, the toolkit is designed to be as practical and user-friendly as possible, with a step-by-step guide to every stage of the project cycle – from basic concepts such as gender, human rights and project design through to needs assessments, workplans, data collection, media outreach, stakeholder relationships and monitoring and evaluation techniques. It incorporates a number of group activities, tips, templates and online resources, as well as a list of potential funding sources.
The toolkit uses the story of Moana from the fictional community of Are’tiki, as an evolving case study to guide readers through the steps needed to create and implement effective projects to make a meaningful difference on the ground for women and girls, as well as secure the funding needed to make them sustainable.
According to UN Women’s Representative at the Fiji Multi-Country Office in Suva, Aleta Miller, the toolkit has been developed to provide organisations with a resource that supports them on some of the more technical aspects of project planning, design, implementation and evaluation that are required by donors.
“There is no shortage of passion, ideas, knowledge and understanding when it comes to ending violence against women and girls in Pacific communities. This toolkit is designed to help transform that passion and knowledge into realistic and effective projects that a donor can be excited about and confident to fund. All of which will take us that much closer to our ultimate goal of ensuring that every woman and girl in the Pacific can live a life free from violence.”
The Australian Government is a major funding partner in the Pacific and according to the Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, Margaret Twomey, organisations of all sizes and levels can benefit from the toolkit.
“Pacific Island governments and civil society organisations find it difficult to access funding, resources and the capacity to design and carry out projects that address violence against women. This toolkit contains hands-on, user-friendly content that can help organisations develop and carry out projects effectively in the various contexts they work in.”
UN Women’s Pacific Fund provides grants of up to USD100,000 and extensive capacity building support to government departments and civil society organisations for projects working specifically towards ending violence against women and girls in the region. Funded by the Australian Government through Pacific Women, the Pacific Fund has to date authorised 42 grants across seven countries for a total of more than USD1.7 million.
The toolkit was launched on 23 July and can be here accessed here on UN Women’s website. 

Article prepared by: UN Women. For more information visit their website and Facebook.

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