Late last year, the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) delivered counselling training to women trainers who work with women and girls in Tuvalu. The two-week training covered gender, violence against women and girls, and human rights challenges that women and girls in Tuvalu are faced with regularly.
Mesitta Faasiu, Social Development Officer from the island of Nanumea, said that being part of the training has allowed her to delve deeper into the topics of gender, domestic violence and the importance of counselling.
“I have also learned about how to support those who face violence,” Ms Faasiu said.
A total of 25 women from government, civil society and church organisations participated in the training, including women from all nine islands of Tuvalu.
The training focused on understanding gender inequalities and power relations and their link to gender-based violence. It also addressed both cause and contributing factors.
In a second step, the women learnt about counselling and used their new skills in interactive sessions to support survivors of violence.
The program is aimed at establishing a pool of trained counsellors who are sensitive to women disclosing gender-based violence experiences. In Tuvalu, the Family Protection and Domestic Violence Act includes a provision for certified counsellors to provide counselling services for victims, but Tuvalu does not have any certified or trained counsellors on the island.
This year, the training will be expanded to include male advocates who are supporting efforts to eliminate violence in Tuvalu. The program is jointly funded by the Australian Government, through Pacific Women, and the World Bank.