HONIARA, April 5, 2013 - Today the World Bank and the Solomon Islands Government signed a grant agreement to help improve services for survivors of domestic and gender-based violence.
The US$130,000.00 grant from the Institutional Development Fund of the World Bank was signed by World Bank Country Director for Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and Pacific Islands, Franz Drees-Gross who is visiting Honiara this week, and the Solomon Islands Minister of Finance and Treasury, Hon. Rick Houenipwela.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by Hon. Minister Peter Tom and Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Ethel Sigimanu from the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs (MWYCFA), which will be implementing the project.
Incidence of violence against women is high in Solomon Islands. A 2009 study by the Solomon Islands’ Government revealed that 64 % of Solomon Islands women between 15 and 49 have experienced physical or sexual violence, or both, by an intimate partner.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, World Bank Country Director Mr. Drees-Gross said, “Gender violence is not only a violation of human rights, it affects the economy and places a heavy burden on services. We know that violence against women has a devastating impact on societies – it is a priority for the World Bank.”
The project aims to support the Solomon Islands Government to improve access to services for victims of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and in particular Domestic Violence (DV) by bringing together key organizations that are in the frontline of providing support services to survivors of domestic and gender-based violence in a forum that allows them to identify gaps and priority actions.
Minister of Finance and Treasury Mr. Hou said, “There is strong commitment by the Solomon Islands Government to promote gender equality. This project is part of a broad framework to address gender-based violence in Solomon Islands which will be critical for the country’s development.”
Permanent Secretary for Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, Mrs Sigimanu said, “Gender equality and violence against women is an economic issue, a human rights issue, a family issue and a development issue. We are thankful that the World Bank is helping us to address a very important issue for the country.”
The project will help the Ministry to undertake a diagnostic study on capacity constraints in the institutions and services which aim to protect and support women who are victims of, or vulnerable to gender based violence. It will also support service deliverers in health, legal and other social services to help identify needs, responses and implementers.
It will host a workshop to bring together all organizations and donor partners that involved in or support protection and service delivery for women and men affected by domestic violence. From this, steps can be taken to meet the needs of the sector. It will also deliver a pilot project to strengthen frontline response and help co-ordinate referral services and training responders in responding sensitively and in a timely fashion to the needs of the victims.