Source: Save the Children
A partnership between three of New Zealand’s most well-known NGOs today launched a new project aimed at ending violence against children in Solomon Islands.
Solomon Islands Endim Vaelens Agenstim Pikinini (Ending Violence Against Children) is supported by the New Zealand’s Government’s Aid Programme and is being implemented by Solomon Islands and New Zealand partners in the Joining Forces Coalition of ChildFund, Save the Children and World Vision. The coalition will work at a community, regional and national level to support families and communities to protect children, respond to and address child protection issues.
This includes working alongside the Solomon Islands Government on policy and legislative reforms to protect children from all forms of violence. Particular legislation highlighted for reform by the coalition is the Islanders’ Marriage Act, which currently puts the legal age of marriage in Solomon Islands at 15.
The coalition will also work to increase children’s participation and introduce children’s voices into legislative processes and issues that concern them to become agents of change in Solomon Islands and advocates for ending violence against children.
The official launch of the three-year project – held today in Honiara – was attended by New Zealand and Solomon Islands representatives from the three partner organisations, MFAT, and Solomon Islands government officials, community and faith leaders, and other key stakeholders. Local school children composed and performed an original song at the event about working together to make Solomon Islands safe from violence against children.
“This coalition marks a significant milestone in our longstanding commitment to improving the lives of children across the Pacific,” says Save the Children New Zealand’s Chief Executive Heidi Coetzee.
“Collectively, we are stronger. Ending violence against children across the Pacific is an ambitious goal but we need to be ambitious for children if we are to ensure children are protected, and able to live happy, healthy lives, now and into the future.”
World Vision National Director Grant Bayldon says the project marks a new way of working together for greater impact.
“Protecting and responding to all forms of violence against children requires governments, communities, faith leaders and NGOs working together if we are to make a tangible and lasting difference.
“We are excited about the opportunity to share knowledge and resources amongst our organisations, with a singular focus on bringing the fullness of life for every child”.
“Working to end violence against children in the Pacific is not about individual goals and logos, it’s about working together with local people for the best outcome for local children and their communities,” says ChildFund CEO Mark Collins.
“This project to end violence against children in the Solomon Islands, including the proposed legislative reform, is to provide long-term, sustainable change and improve outcomes for children.”