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Team Up partners across the Pacific attended workshops physically and virtually / Team Up

Understanding domestic violence

The Pacific region has one of the highest rates of violence against women and girls, with twice the global average. In fact, up to 68 per cent of women in the region have reported experiencing violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

To help combat domestic violence in the Pacific, Team Up, in partnership with women’s rights organisations in the region, recently facilitated a series of domestic violence awareness workshops for our partners in Fiji, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu, led by Team Up Social Inclusion Specialist, Roshika Deo, and delivered in a hybrid format with virtual and in-country facilitation.

Using sport to promote gender equality, inclusion and alleviate violence against women and girls are some of the key priorities of Team Up, and the sessions aimed to build the capacity of partners to:

  • Understand the different types of domestic violence that exist, including other forms of gender-based violence such as sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation
  • Be aware of the different national laws and support services available for domestic violence and family violence victims 
  • Explore strategies for providing support to survivors/victims and to contribute towards ending violence against women and girls in the Pacific

Amongst those who participated was Mary Estelle Mahuk, Lead Social Impact and Inclusion Ambassador and Women’s Cricket Officer with Vanuatu Cricket Association (VCA). Mary, who is also a former national athlete for Vanuatu, helps to deliver the Team Up-supported program, Appeal Against Violence. The program, which is delivered by VCA in partnership with World Vision, uses cricket to promote gender equality, end gender-based violence and reduce non-communicable diseases in Vanuatu. 

“Domestic or family violence affects everyone from all walks of life,” Mary said. “Through the Appeal Against Violence program we target young athletes and participants so they can learn to live a better life. These young participants will one day have families of their own, so it is very important that they learn about domestic violence. They can also help us spread the awareness messages in their homes and communities. For me personally, that is why it was very important that I made sure all our VCA staff and athletes attended the recent workshop.”

She added that the lessons from the session will help strengthen VCA’s cricket programs by upskilling their staff and ambassadors to have more knowledge and confidence in delivering domestic violence awareness activities.  

“We will use the important lessons we learnt to upgrade our VCA awareness booklets and improve awareness activities in the targeted communities. Thanks to the workshop we now have an updated contact list of support services. We have also been able to form a close link with Vanuatu Women’s Centre (VWC) who are an important source of help.” 

Mary concluded that stopping domestic violence will empower more women to take up opportunities in sports. “Eliminating violence in our communities will enable more women to feel confident in choosing a career path in sport, whether through participation or administration.” 

According to Roshika, the sessions offered an opportunity to further strengthen Team Up partners’ capacity and to collaborate with women’s rights organisations in their respective countries. 

“It is very important for sports-based programs with a focus on addressing gender-based violence to partner with key stakeholders like women’s rights organisations,” Roshika explained. “Not only do these organisations have decades of experience working on the issue, but they are also key service providers.

Team Up sports partners are working on various programs to address the underlying drivers of gender-based violence, and the recent workshops provided an opportunity for them to strengthen their capacity and to enable closer collaboration with women’s rights organisations.” 

Over the next few months, Team Up will be providing training and support to specific sports partners for more domestic violence sessions, including on consent. Workshops on prevention of sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse are also being planned.

Participants in the workshops in Fiji (L) and Tonga (R) / Team Up
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