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Movement against violence growing

Institutional and individual support to the Government’s programme to protect women from becoming victims of violence is gathering pace in Fiji.

A joint initiative by the Social Welfare Ministry and Fiji Police, the Programme has thus far enlisted 76 new communities, 16 of them joining forces at an event held last fortnight.

The Government launched the ‘Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign,’ to protect women and children against perpetrators from within their families and in the community.

The Kalekana settlement in Lami (Suva) became a beneficiary of the campaign on March 6, as Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Minister Dr Jiko Luveni presented a ‘Certificate of Commitment’ to village leaders.

Dr Luveni praised the efforts of male leaders, she said that the community will undergo eight to ten months of training on Domestic Violence Decree, Positive Parenting, Gender Based Violence, Anger and Stress Management and Family Empowerment.

“It is encouraging to see Village Headman leading the Project with the support of women and youth leaders. The aim is to empower communities to stop violence. Women are key agents of change in their communities and initiatives of this nature will ensure that they become confident to stand and speak out for their wellbeing,” she said.

According to her, the Programme accorded opportunities to communities to work together with the Government in driving national development.

Group leader Venina Rarebe admitted that violence against women persisted but was not discussed in public.

“Kalekana has a population of 500 of which 200 are women. There have been a few cases of child neglect, domestic violence and teenage pregnancies. For the first time since our settlement, a Minister has visited us and understood our problems,” she said.

Village headman Sikeli Tuicaucau said that the opening of a bakery and sewing centre will provide new sources of income for Kalekana women.

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