Femili PNG trained a total of 46 participants in Enga and Southern Highlands Provinces in March this year through the EU–UN Spotlight Initiative. The training in Enga Province, which took place from 14-18 March to 26 youth and village court officials, was organised by the Lagaip Porgera Youth in conjunction with the Porgera District Women’s Association. In partnership with the training department of the Southern Highlands Royal PNG Constabulary, Femili PNG facilitated another one-week training in Mendi town from 21-25 March to 20 police officers and community leaders.
The weeklong training covered topics on: the situation of family and sexual violence (FSV) in PNG; different kinds of abuse of children; UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Children’s Rights); the Lukautim Pikinini Act 2015; different kinds of abuse experienced by women, girls, boys and men; CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Abuse on Women); the Family Protection ACT 2013; trauma-informed care; the cycle of violence; and the referral pathways.
Femili PNG training facilitators have always tried to ensure that the topics covered in the trainings are simplified and can be understood thoroughly by the participants considering different educational backgrounds. In Enga Province, a local representative from the Porgera District Women’s Association was engaged in translating between the sessions for first three days of the training. This encouraged the participants in Porgera to actively take part in discussions and provide insightful feedback. Village Court Magistrate in Porgera District, Eporane Lawaipa said, “I know now where I went wrong.’’ He added, ‘’I will correct my mistakes and use the information I have learnt today to sensitize my family first, practice in my family before using this information at court and sharing this information with other village court magistrates and community members.’’
The goal of the training is to educate and stimulate interests of the participants on the issues of FSV, and empower them to advocate on the eradication of all forms of violence. The training also aims to enable participants to assist survivors of violence through accessing services using the referral pathway. The discussions on trauma-informed care helps service providers such as the police and others to be more understanding and sensitive in their approach and handling of cases concerning FSV survivors.
Those who attended the training were happy and expressed that they were fortunate to participate and learn many new things. Yamba Village Court Clerk, Pexy Pewi who participated in the training in Mendi said, “I have travelled quite a distance so that I could learn from such trainings.’’ Working for almost 25 years at the Yamba Village court in Ialibu Southern Highlands Province, Mr Pewi said that majority of the cases heard at the village court are family related, which includes domestic violence and marital separations. The most challenging of these cases are child custody, which he usually refers to welfare or the district court. He said, “I always say that I do not have the power to separate children among their parents because they need the presence of both their mother and father.’’ Mr Pewi added that the training has helped him a lot, and that he is now able to implement the knowledge gained from the training in his work.
Femili PNG training team and participants in Mendi were privileged to have the Rural Commander for Southern Highlands and Western Command Inspector, Leo Walaget to give the closing remarks. Inspector Walaget said, “it has really touched my heart to be here to close the workshop for all that you have learnt, which are common issues that are affecting our families and communities.’’ He thanked Femili PNG staff for facilitating the training, and the participants who committed their time in attending. Inspector Walaget addressed the participants saying, “what you have learnt through this training, will help you and put you in a better position to go and implement and to educate our people so that we can have a trouble-free, safe environment for our children.’’
Chief Sergeant Naring Bongi also thanked Femili PNG and the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative for reaching out to other provinces in providing such trainings to upskill and inform participants with knowledge of the laws and relevant information. He acknowledged the valuable support provided in terms of IT equipment donated in 2021, and that this was the second training conducted in Southern Highlands Province.
The participants at both trainings have strongly expressed through their action plans to share what they have learnt in means of providing awareness in their communities, as well as implementing the knowledge gained in their respective roles in addressing family and sexual violence.