Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association (SIPPA) together with Ministry of Health and Medical Services – Social Welfare Division Gender Based Violence Program 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 Gender Based Violence (GBV) Program through advancing gender equality, contributing to the prevention of sexual and gender based violence at the community level as well as working to improve the clinical response for survivors within health facilities.
The Nokim Daon Vaelens project works to prevent sexual and gender based violence through awareness raising activities in communities on gender equality and sexual and gender based violence. Nokim Daon Vaelens works through training Community Health Volunteers that are based within communities.
To date, the project has trained 48 Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) in Guadalcanal, Central Islands Province and Malaita. The CHVs act as a focal point for questions or concerns related to sexual and gender based violence within their communities, conduct awareness raising activities and work as agents of change towards improving the status of men and women to prevent and respond to sexual and gender based violence.
Ms Damaris Kovila (CHV from South East Gele, Central Islands Province) and Ms Serah Paul (CHV from Vulolo, Guadalcanal) took part in the 2013 International Youth Day Celebrations – Honiara Youth Seminar held by the Honiara City Council on the 12th August 2013.
The two CHVs discussed the definition of sexual and gender based violence, the status of GBV in the Solomon Islands, what they felt needed to change in their communities and the important role that youth can play.
Ms Kovila says ‘I’m very glad to have had this opportunity to present at International Youth Day on this important topic of sexual and gender based violence. I hope it has been helpful for the youth attending and that they can use this knowledge in their day to day lives to prevent GBV happening. I hope that in future if they come across a GBV survivor that they can now help that survivor to get the care they need.’
Ms Paul said ‘We must respond with compassion and urgency to end violence against women and girls. I hope that the youth attending today will go back to their communities and share what they learnt.’
Ms Paul also highlighted the tollfree gender based violence helpline (phone: 132) that is run by the Social Welfare GBV Program. 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.
Source: Press Release, Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood