UN Women Pacific Programs

One of our core projects is the Meri Seif Bus Project in Papua New Guinea – making public transport safe for women and girls.

For women, getting on a bus in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, meant an almost guaranteed experience of violence.

A scoping study conducted by UN Women in 2014 found that more than 90 per cent of women and girls experienced some form of violence when accessing public transport, including on buses, waiting at bus stops, walking to and from bus stops, or in taxis.

This included verbal sexual remarks, inappropriate touching, and indecent exposure in terms of sexual violence, and also extortion, robbery, threats or intimidation.

Gender and Humanitarian Action

Key humanitarian preparedness initiatives include:

  • Supporting local organisations in Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Palau through the rapid financing mechanism Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) to enhance the capacity of women to prevent conflict, and engage in peacebuilding, engaging in disaster preparedness, early warning and response to crises.
  • Supported Tonga Safety and Protection Cluster to conduct an After Action Review of its Response to TC Gita in 2018, and supported the refinement of its Terms of Reference, Standard Operating Procedures and workplan.
  • Supported the newly established Solomon Islands Protection Committee to develop a Terms of Reference, Standard Operating Procedures and workplan as well as facilitated a subnational workshop on Gender and Protection in Humanitarian Action for Makira Province.

Ending Violence against Women and Girls

Key initiatives include:

  • Expanding access to coordinated quality essential services
  • Transforming harmful social norms that perpetuate GBV
  • Evidence based research to inform support
  • Providing technical assistance and capacity development

Womens Political Empowerment and Leadership

Key initiatives include:

  • In Solomon Islands, UN Women supported provincial dialogues and activities and is helping connect women at the sub-national level with their national Members of Parliament and creating a space for women and national leaders to discuss women’s concerns.
    As a result of UN Women supported Provincial Gender Equality/Women’s Empowerment policies, the Provincial government in the Western Province has committed 20% of its budget to the implementation of the policy.
    A first in Solomon Islands.
  • In Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Nauru, UN Women strengthened media capacity to report on gender equality and women’s leadership with targeted media training conducted in the lead-up to elections.
  • Radio dramas and talk-back shows about women’s political participation were developed in both Solomon Islands and Samoa as part of broader programming on women’s political participation ahead of national elections.
    The radio programmes had wide reach nationally and contributed to changing the way women leaders are perceived.
  • In Samoa, UN Women partnered with the Office of the Electoral Commission to draft a new gender-sensitive Candidate’s Handbook.
    The sole female candidate to run in the 2014 by-election acknowledged the handbook as having directly influenced her decision to run.
    The project, an Australian Government funded initiative, is currently in its second phase, supporting women in leadership in Samoa.

Womens Economic Empowerment

Key initiatives in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu include:

  • Local governments and councils have started to hold regular consultations with MVAs, including MVAs in key local government consultations, including infrastructure improvements, budgets and development of by-laws and ordinances.
  • MVAs have started to provide services to members in key areas, such as linking their members to health services, savings clubs, banking and financial services, training and other forms of support.
  • Training in financial literacy and business practices have so far been provided to over 2,500 women market vendors.
  • Vendors have also received agricultural training to help improve farm yields. Over 1000 women out of a total of 1,790 vendor farmers trained have received training on improving productivity and income.