Pacific Women Lead Team starts work at Pacific Community (SPC)

24 February 2022
Image Source    The Pacific Community

Pacific Women Lead has transitioned to the Pacific Community (SPC)’s Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) Division. With this transition, Pacific Women Lead is now at the centre of SPC’s regional work on gender equality.  

Several members of the new SPC’s HRSD Pacific Women Lead team have been recruited from the Support Unit of Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women), which was the region’s former gender equality programme supported by Australia over 10 years.

The new programme’s onboarding of specialist staff from Pacific Women, has ensured continuity of funding and technical support to partners during the transition from the former programme to Pacific Women Lead.

During the transition, there is also a focus on capturing and sharing more than a decade of partners’ experiences from the former programme, to help guide Pacific Women Lead.

This includes the promotion and expansion of a new series of knowledge products garnering lessons learned, experiences, and gender transformative approaches from Pacific Women partners. The lessons learned and good practice contained in the knowledge products aim to guide future gender equality initiatives, including the implementation of Pacific Women Lead. They are available online through the Pacific Data Hub as a result of a dedicated knowledge management process.

This intentional transition approach has been guided by a principle of continuity of critical services. Supporting specialist staff to transition from Pacific Women to Pacific Women Lead has ensured uninterrupted technical and funding support to essential services, including many of the 15 Pacific crisis centre partners supported by the former programme.

As Pacific Women Lead began in 2021, the regional Pacific Women program closed with country-specific support in Papua New Guinea continuing in 2022. Pacific Women connected more than 190 partners and over 180 initiatives across 14 countries, making it one of the largest global commitments to gender equality.

Sharing knowledge  

The series of knowledge products capture and share lessons learned, experiences, and gender transformative approaches from many of its 192 partners over the life of the Pacific Women programme.

The series of knowledge products includes:

  • Pacific Women ‘Legacy video’ – reflecting on the long-term, nearly 10-year journey of the partners supported by Pacific Women, who together paved the way for new initiatives and approaches to progress gender equality in the Pacific. 
  • ‘Pacific Practice Note Series’ – set of three Pacific Practice Notes capture and share nearly 10 years of evidence, lessons learned, gender transformative approaches and experiences from partners supported by Pacific Women (2012 to 2021). The three are:
    • From Participation to Power: Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) in the Pacific – addressing the shortfall of many WEE initiatives to meaningfully address women’s empowerment and provides recommendations and practical actions to strengthen empowerment outcomes of WEE programming.
    • Small Grants, Big Results – highlighting the catalytic role of community-based and women’s organisations to women’s empowerment and social change, this Practice Note provides an evidence-base of successful small-granting approaches and strong partnerships, to influence funders to expand small granting programs.
    • Opening Doors for Lasting Change – Gender Transformation in Practice – sharing programming approaches that have led to gender transformative change in Papua New Guinea, to inform policy, action and practice to include principles of gender transformation. There is also a detailed video slideshow that highlights key gender transformative approaches and examples, as outlined in the Pacific Practice Note.
  • ‘We don’t whisper anymore – ending violence against women in the North Pacific’ – a set of two online publications: gender-based violence (GBV) photo book of Herstories and a ‘story of change’ booklet featuring the extraordinary women working to establish crisis centres and support services for survivors of gender-based violence. 
  • ‘Telephone Counselling for GBV Survivors – a Pacific Toolkit’ – for training counsellors to further improve telephone counselling skills.
  • ‘Pacific Girl Highlights Booklet’ – reflecting on the first three years of the Pacific Girl programme – its inception, context, implementation and learning. The highlights are drawn from programme analysis, with sections on what works to engage adolescent girls in the Pacific as well as what the program is achieving through each of its five outcomes. There is also a video summary of the booklet and its programme highlights.

One of the largest global commitments to gender equality, Pacific Women Lead aims to promote women’s leadership, realise women’s rights, and increase the effectiveness of regional gender equality efforts.

Australia has committed AUD 170 million to the five-year programme, including through its partnerships with the Pacific Community (SPC) Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) division, women’s funds and other development partners.

HRSD Pacific Women Lead is at the centre of SPC’s regional work for gender equality, serving as secretariat to the Governance Board and providing technical, convening and funding support to government ministries, civil society and other partners.

For more information about the program’s design refer to the SPC’s HRSD website or the high-level design framework.

Human Rights and Social Development
Suva Regional Office

Pacific Women Lead ProgrammeAustralian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)womenActivism against Gender-Based Violencegender equality