Yesterday was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. In Papua New Guinea, where I work for FHI 360, violence is a serious, widespread problem that affects many women and girls on a daily basis. While exact figures are difficult to obtain, recent estimates show that violence occurs in more than two-thirds of families living in the country.
FHI 360 is tackling this pervasive problem through a new project. The Komuniti Lukautim Ol Meri Project (KLOM), funded by Australian Aid, supports women and girls who are survivors of violence in Papua New Guinea by providing community services focused on prevention, response and empowerment. The project, which is managed by FHI 360, is being implemented in ten communities in the Sandaun and Western Highlands provinces. Each community has two “mobilizers” who play a pivotal role in helping women and girls who survive violence. For example, when two primary school girls were gang-raped coming home from school in April, the girls’ families reported the incident to the two community mobilizers, who then accompanied the girls to town for medical and legal assistance. FHI 360 works closely with these mobilizers, as well as two provincial hospitals, a faith-based organization and a community-based organization.