As the 20 Days of Human Rights Activism campaign comes to its conclusion today, with the commemoration of Human Rights Day, the Members of the new Parliamentary Committee on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) commend the Government for awarding 13 NGOs financial grants that will enable them to do more work to address gender-based violence (GBV) across the country.
Governor Parkop, Chair of the GEWE Committee stated: “I am very pleased to see the Government making good on its promises to take more action to address GBV and sorcery accusation related violence as an immediate priority. Our previous GBV Parliamentary Committee used our reports to Parliament to call for more Government funding for NGO prevention and crisis-response services. I am very pleased to see our recommendations have been acted upon”.
Governor Parkop went on to say: “The 2023 National Budget has now been tabled in Parliament and I am very pleased that it again includes funding to address GBV and SARV through Government grants. I now want to the Department for Community Development and Religion immediately progress the establishment of the National GBV Secretariat – something which is more than five years overdue! We need to recruit highly qualified GBV experts into the Secretariat who will be able to effectively drive efforts across the country to work with provincial governments and NGOs to tackle the scourge of violence that is damaging our country and our people.”
On Friday 9 December, the Department for Community Development and Religion (DFCDR), with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) held a ceremony with the 13 NGO grantees to officially award them their funding. DFCDR and UNDP are jointly funding the grants, with the DFCDR drawing on a portion of the PGK 7.93 million allocated by the Government to address GBV in 2022.
The NGOs were selected for grants following an open call for expressions of interest, which sought NGO proposals related to prevention of GBV and SARV and the provision of crisis response and recovery services to GBV and SARV survivors. It is anticipated that another round of grants will be made in 2023, subject to funding being released by Treasury.
The new Parliamentary Committee on GEWE intends to keep a close watch over DFCDR’s administration of the GBV funding provided from the Government Budget. Committee Members are united in wanting to ensure that funds are used effectively and sustainably to ensure that people across the country can live lives free form violence – but also, that where such violence occurs, they can receive proper care and access to justice.
The new Committee has six members, in addition to the Chair: Governor Allan Bird (East Sepik), Deputy Chairperson; Governor Rufina Peter (Central Province); Hon. Marsh Narewec, (Wau Waria); Hon. Ricky Morris (Alotau); Hon. William Bando (Koroba Lake Kopiago); and Hon. Lohia Boe Samuel (Port Moresby North West).
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will be providing technical support to the new Parliamentary Committee on GEWE as part of its gender programming and the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative. This support aims to address GEWE and gender-based violence and to support longer-term efforts to promote women’s participation and leadership in the Parliament.