Pacific Girl is a $4.5 million multi-country program to support adolescent girls in Pacific Island countries achieve their full potential. Evidence shows that ‘educated, healthy and skilled adolescent girls will help build a better future, advance social justice, support economic development and combat poverty.’[i] Pacific Girl demonstrates Australia’s commitment to focus on adolescent girls’ needs, rights and opportunities.
Managed under the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women) program, Pacific Girl funds projects with selected civil society organisations in Pacific Island countries. These Pacific Girl partners are working to equip adolescent girls to make informed decisions, while engaging with the boys, parents, carers and communities in their lives to build more supportive environments.
Pacific Women recognises the principle of ‘nothing about us without us’ and seeks to address the underrepresentation of adolescent girls in decisions that affect them. This includes through involving adolescent girls in program design and delivery.
Pacific Girl has been designed by and for adolescent girls:
- 220 adolescent girls in six countries (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu) participated in focus group discussions, with some recording their thoughts in the Pacific Girls Speak video.
- 88 people from 16 countries completed an online survey (including 20 under the age of 20).
- 20 adolescent girls from Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu participated in the Pacific Girl design workshop, bringing their priorities and solutions to a wide network of stakeholders (35 people from Australia and Pacific Island countries). Some of the adolescent girls wrote and performed a song during the design workshop.
Pacific Girl has six grantee partners:
In Federated States of Micronesia, Chuuk Women’s Council will reach 150 marginalised girls through a young women’s empowerment course. The curriculum will focus on sexual and mental health, healthy relationships and developing future goals.
In Fiji, the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement’s (FWRM) Girls Arise program will work with girls aged 10–12 to build their life skills and confidence. Pacific Girl will enable FWRM to extend activities to girls outside of the capital Suva, share the organisation’s approach in a toolkit and raise the profile of girls’ issues with decision makers.
In Papua New Guinea, Equal Playing Field (EPF) Safe Schools, Strong Communities program seeks to reduce violence by educating girls and boys about the importance of respectful relationships, using sport as an entry point. Pacific Girl will help EPF reach adolescents in 40 schools (up to 6,000 girls) and work with teachers on establishing Safe Schools Frameworks.
In Solomon Islands, Young Women’s Christian Association of Solomon Islands (YWCASI) will reach 200 at-risk girls to develop their confidence, skills and knowledge and establish supportive peer networks. Service providers will be educated to better support the target groups of girls, who include girls with disability, sex workers and girls living on the street.
In Tonga, the Talitha Project’s My Body! My Rights! program will reach 375 girls aged 10–14 in four locations around Tonga, including outer islands. The program will improve community perceptions of girls’ value, amplify girls’ voices through creative media and train girls on health, sex and sexuality education and self-esteem.
In Vanuatu, CARE’s ‘Laef blo mi, vois blo mi’ program will work with girls aged 12–19 in rural and remote areas of Tafea province. Pacific Girl will enable CARE to extend life skills and respectful relationships education to younger adolescents in schools, including around 800 adolescent girls. The program includes male peers, teachers and families to ensure girls are safe and respected.
More information about Pacific Girl:
For background about the development of the Pacific Girl program, visit: https://pacificwomen.org/resources/about-pacific-girl/
For more information about the lived experience of Pacific girls, visit: https://pacificwomen.org/resources/pacific-girls-speak/
To hear from the Pacific girls that participated in the Pacific Girl design workshop, visit: https://pacificwomen.org/resources/pacific-girl-song/ and read more about the design workshop here: https://pacificwomen.org/news/pacific-girls-the-next-wonder-women/
[i] LO, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNIFEM, WHO (2010). ‘Accelerating Efforts to Advance the Rights of Adolescent Girls: A Joint UN Statement’, United Nations.