Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women) Support Unit

Location: Papua New Guinea; Vanuatu; Solomon Islands; Nauru; Tuvalu; Fiji; Samoa; Tonga; Cook Islands; Kiribati; Niue; Micronesia, Federated States of; Australasia

​Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women) is a 10-year Australian Aid program worth a total AU$320 Million.

Pacific Women supports work to reduce violence against women and improve access to support services for survivors of violence. Recognising the extent of the problem and the detrimental impact violence has on women’s lives, activities aimed at ending violence against women account for 47 per cent of program funding.

In the past year, the program has supported 31,844 women to access crisis support services (including counselling, health and justice services) and 257,248 people to participate in community awareness sessions.

Recent program activities include:
  • Pacific Women’s Synthesis Report on Ending Violence against Women – a resource that summarises learning from global and Pacific research on ending violence against women that can influence activity development and implementation.
  • Promoting full and equal participation for women and girls living with disability in the Federated States of Micronesia.
  • Supporting established crisis centres in Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga, as well as the development of Weto in Mour in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
  • Addressing drug and alcohol use as key contributors to violence against women. Pacific Women is partnering on a new court initiative with the Ministry of Justice, Courts and Administration in Samoa.
  • A review of counselling services for survivors of violence in the Pacific to better understand the status of counselling in the region, including the quality, reach and accessibility of services.
  • Supporting UNICEF through its Partnerships for Positive Parenting project to conduct a qualitative assessment of parenting practices with 400 people across four provinces of Papua New Guinea. This informed the development of a parenting resources kit.

The overall Pacific Women program goal is for ‘women in the Pacific (regardless of income, location, disability, age or ethnic group) to participate fully, freely and safely in political, economic and social life.’

In support of this overall goal, Pacific Women’s four key outcome areas are:

  • Women, and women’s interests being increasingly and effectively represented and visible through leadership at all levels of decision-making;
  • Women having expanded economic opportunities to earn income and accumulate economic assets;
  • Violence against women is reduced and survivors of violence have access to support services and to justice; and
  • Women in the Pacific have a stronger sense of their own agency, supported by a changing legal and social environment and through increased access to the services they need.

Cardno manages the Pacific Women Support Unit, worth AU$40 million over three years. The Support Unit’s role is to provide technical, administrative and logistical support to the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) bilateral and regional Pacific Women programs. The primary Support Unit is located in Suva, Fiji with a sub-office in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Cardno empowers women in the Pacific:

Since 2012 Pacific Women has achieved the following:

  • 56,076 women to access crisis support services (including counselling, health and justice services);
  • 5,964 women have access to financial information and services (including financial literacy training and financial services);
  • 3,409 women have had formal opportunities to share their ideas and learn from each other (including learning forum, as well as research and program learning events organised by Pacific Women);
  • 1,053 women to attain formal qualifications;
  • 43,833 people to access civic and voter education;
  • 3,086 men to undertake male advocacy training; and
  • 10,605 women were supported to take on leadership roles at the community, provincial and national-level, including women participating in market decision making structures.

To find out more information about how Pacific Women is working to end violence against women, please visit this webpage.

Other information:

Photos by: Pacific Women / DFAT.