Kiribati ‘Rises’ for the Second Time

Kiribati OBR
Women dance to the One Billion Rising’s anthem ‘Break the Chain’ in Nawerewere. Photo: Kiribati Family Health Association.

For the second time, Kiribati joined in the global campaign to end all forms of violence against women and young girls.

With support from Pacific Women through Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Office in Tarawa, the Kiribati Family Health Association (KFHA), joined the world in the One Billion Rising (OBR).

This year’s theme, Rise for Revolution, was translated into the local language, Teirake Waaki Ibukin Te Bitaki, and printed on banners and displayed during the drama campaigns and marches. KFHA’s campaign this year focused on the active participation of youth to instil and inspire change for the future.

Similar to last year’s campaign, key stakeholders and members of the community were invited to participate. The one week program kicked off on 15 February, with a radio spot encouraging the youth to come forward and join the campaign.

Tai Ira Te Moan Ang (meaning: Do Not Give in to the First Wave Of Anger) drama was performed by KFHA Youth volunteers and staged at four different selected sites on Betio and Tarawa Teinainano. The highlight of the campaign was on 19 February at the Bairiki Square in Bairiki. Senior government officials from key ministries were invited, along with other dignitaries that included the Australian High Commissioner, church leaders, the two Council Mayors from Teinainano Urban Council and Betio Town Council, New Zealand High Commissioner, Taiwanese Ambassador and community leaders from various other non-government groups and organizations. The Thursday program started off with a march from St Ann Pre-school to the Bairiki Square and was led by the Kiribati United Church Youth Brass Band.

The opening address was delivered by KFHA’s President Mr Teakamatang Eritai, who in his welcoming speech highlighted the significance and importance of the occasion, challenging all I-Kiribati to support the OBR campaign. In her closing address, the Hon. Minister of Education Ms Maere Tekanene (also a member of the Pacific Women Advisory Board), emphasized the importance of the occasion and reminded everyone of their roles, duties and responsibilities in ensuring a safe and happy environment for women and young girls in Kiribati. Empowerment of women and young girls was the highlight of her closing remarks.

During the official opening, the global OBR anthem Break the Chain was performed live on stage in the local language.

The public turnout exceeded expectations, with around 1860 taking part in activities. Of this, 60 percent were young people.