Wednesday, 10 July 2013 8:51 AM

Community Volunteers Trained

Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association (SIPPA) together with Ministry of Health's Social Welfare Division are implementing a project funded by the British High Commission called ‘Nokim Daon Vaelens’.

Nokim Daon Vaelens aims to strengthen impact of the Social Welfare Division's Gender Based Violence (GBV) Program.

The project aims to advancing gender equality, contribute to the prevention of sexual and gender based violence at the community level as well as work to improve the clinical response for survivors within health facilities.

One key way the Nokim Daon Vaelens project aims to prevent sexual and gender based violence is through increased awareness raising in communities surrounding gender equality and sexual and gender based violence. Nokim Daon Vaelens works to achieve this through training Community Health Volunteers that are based within communities.

The role of Community Health Volunteers is to act as a focal point for questions or concerns related to sexual and gender based violence within their communities, to conduct awareness raising activities with their communities and to work as agents of change towards improving the status of men and women to prevent and respond to sexual and gender based violence.

Nokim Daon Vaelens has already trained 22 Community Health Volunteers in East Guadalcanal and today, 9th of July, the second training for 3 wards in Central Islands Province began. A further training is planned for Malaita later this month.
The training will be followed by a community awareness sessionthe following day.

While the training and community session are closed, the media is invited to attend the closing ceremony which will be held at 2.45pm – 4.00pm on Friday 12th July at Polomuhu Community Hall, North West Gela (Ward 8), Central Islands Province.

The issue of sexual and gender based violence in the Solomon Islands needs to be urgently addressed. The high rate of GBV was revealed in the Family Health and Safety Study conducted across the country in 2009, which produced the following statistics:

• 64% of women aged 15-49 reported being physical and / or sexually abused during their lifetime.
• 18% of women aged 15-49 reported experiencing physical violence by someone other than an intimate partner
• 18% also experience sexual violence by someone other than an intimate partner
• 36.9% of girls under the age of 15 have experienced sexual abuse
• Male family members including fathers and step fathers were identified as the most common perpetrators of physical non-partner violence
• Boyfriends, strangers and male acquaintances were identified most common perpetrator of sexual non-partner violence

The Social Welfare GBV Program has established a gender based violence helpline that uses the tollfree number (132). It is operational 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The helpline is available for survivors of sexual and gender based violence to call and receive support over the phone. The first priority is to ensure the survivor is safe and then refer them to the appropriate care. Survivors may need emotional and physical care, including counseling, treatment of injuries, and medication to prevent sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) and/or pregnancy. The helpline can assist in referring the survivor to other service providers such as health facilities, the police, public solicitors office, Social Welfare, Family Support Center and Christian Care Center.

A large number of GBV cases are likely to remain unreported. When a survivor takes the courage to come forward for care it is important that they receive the most appropriate care as efficiently and effectively as possible. Providing this care can prevent unecessary disability and death.

For more information please contact George Kaku, Community Mobilization officer, SIPPA (22991, 8651863) or Nashley Vozoto, Referral SAFENET GBV Program Coordinator, (20686, 7499637).

 

Source: Press Release, Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood