Churches and NGO in partnership to address gender inequalities

Family violence cannot be addressed without taking due consideration of the gender inequalities faced by women and girls in the Solomon Islands says Ethel Sigimanu.

She is Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs.

Sigimanu was speaking at the opening of World Vision’s three day Channels of Hope for Gender, Church Partnership Conference in Honiara.

Around 50 people from Honiara and the provinces representing churches, government ministries, non-government organisations, communities and stakeholders attended the Conference.

In the solomon Islands:

  • 38% of women report their first sexual experience as having been forced
  • 63% of men believe it is acceptable to hit women in certain circumstances
  • 2 out of 3 women have experienced violence from an intimate partner
  • The program has been implemented in over 59 countries.It aims to strengthen partnership between churches, partners and stakeholders in an effort to curb family violence.

World Vision’s Channels of Hope program brings together and engages faith leaders around biblical texts that affirm the equality of women and men, the need to treat each other with respect, and to act to eliminate gender violence.

The program then equips them and members of their congregations to be activists for gender equality and against gender violence. In so doing, these faith leaders are becoming powerful agents of positive change in their communities.

The program also works with existing support services by providing links for survivors of violence, building capacity to address issues of substance abuse and conflict, and supports church and community leaders to refer survivors to services.

With over 90% of Solomon Islanders identifying as Christian, faith-based responses have been identified as particularly well-placed to tackle negative gender attitudes.

In this context, faith leaders are among the most influential members of the community.

As such they can have a significant effect on social attitudes.

Source

News category: Asia Pacific.

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