Bel isi PNG EVAW Walk
Port Moresby, NCD, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Nearly two thousand people marched in peace and solidarity to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW). Governor Powes Parkop led the walkers through the city with the chant, “Strongpla man respectim meri”.
This year’s walk attracted the largest numbers ever with corporate partners and leaders, the public sector, the Brisbane Broncos Rugby League Club, the Internal Inland Revenue Commission (IRC), the PNG Orchids Women’s Rugby League team and Governor Powes Parkop’s NCDC walkers joining the effort to raise awareness about the need to address family and sexual violence (FSV).
Community leaders called for action including Kathy Kiage who told the crowd, “I am here today because I am passionate about change in Papua New Guinea and in our community. I will promote an end to gender-based violence by working with women and girls to find solutions to their violent situations.”
Oil Search Foundation with Bel isi PNG, a public private partnership to address FSV, organised the walk. Bel isi PNG offers case management, safe house and counselling assistance to women and their children. Staff from companies that subscribe to the initiative can access a full suite of services and their leaders can find professional support to drive behaviour change in their companies and communities.
Studies reveal that three out of four women in PNG will experience violence in their lifetime. The large number of people participating in today’s walk shows the community commitment to changing attitudes towards women and girls.
It is well recognised that FSV also is a cost to business. One company surveyed lost an estimated K3million in one year due to the impact of FSV and 68% of employees surveyed had experienced family violence.
Peter Botten, Managing Director of Oil Search is a strong supporter of the Bel isi initiative, “At Oil Search we have a domestic violence procedure and subscribe to Bel isi PNG. This combination of support is designed to assist our staff and is the right thing to do as human beings.”
Bel isi PNG is supported by the Australian Government in partnership with the Government of Papua New Guinea as part of the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development program. The initiative would not have been possible without the founding support of Bank South Pacific, Steamships, Oil Search and many other partners.