Through Pacific Women, the Australian Government will spend approximately $3.9 million over 10 years (2012–2022) on initiatives supporting women’s empowerment in the Cook Islands.
Country Plans are the mechanism through which Pacific Women outcomes and activities are planned and agreed between DFAT and counterpart governments, following extensive national consultations. They provide detail on what will be funded and how these funding decisions are made. The first Country Plan was implemented from 2013–2017 with two activities working closely with the Cook Islands Gender Development Division of the Cook Islands Ministry of Internal Affairs. The activities:
- focused on research to expand and increase women’s economic empowerment, promote and support women’s businesses in the formal and informal sectors, support women’s access to financial services and other productive assets to develop enterprises and support the integration of women with disabilities into socio-economic development
- improved legal frameworks, law enforcement and women’s access to justice. This included improved coordination of crisis services, improving women’s access to protective systems in rural communities, supporting the counselling services provided by Punanga Tauturu Inc. and providing free legal aid to survivors of violence.
During 2017–2018, Pacific Women is supporting two activities. These activities seek to enable the Cook Islands women to have a stronger sense of agency and support the elimination of violence against women through training, advocacy and access to support services for survivors. The activities under the Cook Islands Country Plan aim to increase the capacity of the Gender Development Office to deliver on the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy 2011–2016.
In addition to Pacific Women, DFAT makes an important contribution to gender equality in the Cook Islands through mainstreaming gender outcomes in the aid program, as well as through political, diplomatic and corporate activities.
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- Date Published: January 14, 2019