THE Girls Rise Up! Project in Honiara would this year like to reach further out to the provinces to support more adolescent girls in rural Solomon Islands where they face particular risks.
Project Manager for YWCA Kristina Saueha said there is a need for expansion of the project to the provinces to support more girls due to the safeguarding risks they face related to logging and mining operations. Expanding to the provinces was the whole idea behind this project as YWCA has one centre in Munda and two partners in Guadalcanal, namely Aola and Visale.
“I think the whole perception is around safeguarding adolescent girls. It’s a concern for YWCA that most abuse cases have not been reported from provinces, especially those in remote areas.
“Some forms of abuse have become ‘normalised’, so the safeguarding program by YWCA is also a form of advocacy and awareness for government and communities.”
Kristina said “stopping abuse of adolescent girls should be everyone’s business!”
She added that participants of the Girls Rise Up! project are community women trained to be mentors and the project is targeting girls who are most vulnerable to ensure they: have confidence, are aware of and can access services, and use the mentoring services leading them to make good choices. The most important component to the project is the inclusion of girls with disabilities and safeguarding for adolescent girls – ensuring “do no harm” in all activities for safety and empowerment of young girls.
Kristina acknowledged partners and stakeholders who render support to YWCA and Care International for recognising the importance of this project and the positive changes it brings to adolescent girls in Honiara. Importantly, more government and non-government organisation are becoming stakeholders and partners such as Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association (SIPPA) and Family Support Centre (FSC), Guadalcanal Provincial Council of Women (GPCW), People With Disabilities- Solomon Islands (PWDSI) and others.
Girls Rise Up! is an ongoing project, with Kristina “looking forward to seeing it reaching out to YWCA partners outside of Honiara and beyond when possible.”
Girls Rise Up! aims to develop the confidence, skills and knowledge of over 200 at-risk girls to help them establish supportive peer networks and the opportunity to safely advocate for issues that affect them. The project is led by the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) in partnership with CARE International and supported by Australia through the Pacific Girl program, managed by Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women).