End of an era – partners lead the Pacific Women Close Out

The Pacific Women Support Unit welcomed partners, supporters and friends to its Pacific Women Close Out event.

The event served as  a celebration of nearly 10 years of partnership through the Pacific Women program, while also disseminating lessons learned from partners’ initiatives to inform future gender equality programming that is effective and transformative. Additionally, it was a welcome to the Pacific Women Lead program.

Organisations, governments, individuals, communities and other partners of Pacific Women were acknowledged with respect and gratitude for their incredible hard work of paving positive change for all people in the Pacific.

The event began with a panel of women leaders presenting from across the region on the challenges of making gender equality a reality in the Pacific and highlighting successes over the course of the program and beyond. The panellists were:

  • ‘Ofa Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Director of the Women and Children Crisis Centre (WCCC) Tonga
  • Daisy Alik-Momotaro, Executive Director of Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI)
  • Savina Nongebatu, disability inclusion and gender equality advocate from Solomon Islands
  • Virisila Buadromo, Advisory Board co-chair and co-lead of the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights Asia and the Pacific.

The opening remarks were made by Sarah Goulding, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Gender Equality Branch, and facilitated by Tara Chetty, Partnerships Lead.

The second part of the event involved the launch of five of 12 learning products that capture and share partners’ learning, experiences over nearly ten years of support from the Pacific Women program. Three of the new products were the focus of a series of three parallel sessions to learn and reflect on knowledge shared by partners:

  • Gender-Based Violence Telephone Counselling: A Pacific Toolkit
  • Pacific Girl Highlights Booklet 2018–2021
  • We Don’t Whisper Anymore – Ending violence against women in the North Pacific (Herstories published in a photo book and a ‘story of change’ booklet).

These were three of the five new knowledge products regionally released online by Pacific Women at the Close Out event. The five new resources are:

Development of the series of knowledge products has been led by Australia’s Pacific Women program, garnering learning from many of its 182 partners over the life of the program. The series seeks to capture and share partners’ expanse of experience, lessons learned and groundbreaking gender transformative approaches over nearly 10 years, and to support the implementation of the new Pacific Women Lead program that has commenced in 2021.
Through partnerships with Pacific organisations and gender equality advocates, Pacific Women has reached an estimated 1.45 million Pacific women, men and children since 2012. From 2021, the Australian Government continues its commitment to gender equality through the new Pacific Women Lead program.

Over nearly 10 years, the Pacific Women program an its Support Unit have been privileged to support with more than 190 partners implementing over 180 initiatives over 14 countries.