World Vision Welcomes Funding to Fight GBV
World Vision Australia welcomes the announcement of a Gender Action Platform (GAP) grant from the federal government which will enable World Vision to further tackle gender based violence in the Pacific.
The announcement that World Vision and five other Australian non-government organisations would receive grants totalling $10 million was made by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.
World Vision’s Gender Advisor, Sarah Shteir, said the grant, announced on International Women’s Day, was urgently needed in Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea and would be used for both immediate improvements in women’s safety, and broader social norms around gender and violence.
“Recent figures indicating that 60 per cent of women in Vanuatu and 51.5 per cent of women in PNG experience violence at the hands of an intimate partner are among the highest in the world. This grant will not only help women directly, but educate and empower men to work towards reducing levels of violence,” Ms Shteir said.
“The grant will fund our ‘Action against Gender Violence’ project, which builds on the work we have been doing to change attitudes towards gender and violence in the Pacific, including through our Channels of Hope for Gender engagement with churches.”
Ms Shteir said that women in Vanuatu and PNG experiencing violence at the hands of a partner would often go first to a trusted faith or customary leader for help.
“These faith leaders have been asking for practical training,” Ms Shteir said. “This grant lets us provide them with practical strategies, which would include connecting women to local women’s organisations. In both contexts, we have learned that women often strongly prefer to resolve such issues in their own communities, with leaders they know and trust. Our approach respects their choice, while also knowing when escalations to police or health services are necessary.”
Generational norm change is another important component of Action Against Gender Violence.
“We will use games and local customary stories with children and youth through schools to transform foundational societal norms around gender equality and violence,” Ms Shteir said. “This will lay a foundation for healthy adult relationships.”
World Vision will join forces with its partner, Promundo, an iNGO that promotes gender justice by encouraging men and boys to take responsibility for their behaviour within the cultural context of the Pacific.
“Violence is so normalised that men in these communities may never have been exposed to the idea that there are other ways of resolving conflicts with their partners. We can help women by working with their male partners, helping them to recognise the consequences of their actions, and change their behaviour,” Ms Shteir said.
In addition to partnering with Promundo, World Vision will work with Digicel, a major telecommunications provider in both PNG and Vanuatu, developing innovative ways to message and monitor the inroads made in reducing violence.
This program reflects World Vision’s larger commitment to gender equality and to ending all forms of gender-based violence. This program also reflects WVA’s firm belief that the promotion of gender equality is the responsibility of both women and men, and requires engagement with men and boys as partners and allies in achieving gender equality and reducing gender-based violence.
Sarah Shteir is available for interviews. Contact Leah Swann 0421 857 591.
Picture: World Vision works with families in Vanuatu to foster healthier relationships
*Vanuatu figure is from Vanuatu Women’s Centre, PNG figure is from UNFPA.
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