WPHF is supporting local civil society organizations in Fiji, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu working to enhance women’s participation in emergency response and planning and increase the protection of women and girls in conflict and crisis settings.
Across the Pacific, WPHF is channeling urgent and flexible funding to local women’s groups and civil society actors mobilizing to increase women’s participation in emergency response planning at the community and regional level.
WPHF is also strengthening the capacities of civil society organizations working to integrate gender analysis into their work and enhance the protection of women and girls, who are disproportionately affected by climate change and natural disasters..
WPHF has supported 15 projects implemented by 13 women-led and women’s rights civil society organizations across the Pacific:
- Medical Services Pacific (MSP) on a project to increase protection for women and girls, action human rights provisions, enable women’s participation and agency, improve health, social services and security and better enable the prosecution of sexual offenders in Fiji and Solomon Islands.
- FemLink Pacific —together with Talitha Project, Vanuatu Young Women for Change, and Vois Blong Mere Solomon.
- Adventist Development and Relief Fiji (ADRA) —together with CARE International.
- Samoa Red Cross Society (SRCS) on a project that seeks to increase women’s participation in emergency response planning at the community level, institutionalize gender analysis and planning in the organization, and ensure its sustainability beyond the end of the project.
- Matavale Women’s Association (MWA) on a project to promote women’s resilience against humanitarian crises and climate disasters through a combination of activities, ranging from the establishment of emergency committees, development of emergency response mechanisms, to trainings on humanitarian situations assessments, enhancing women’s capacities in emergency-resilient agricultural techniques, and supporting them to set up their own agricultural businesses.
- Oxfam Solomon Islands on a project that is mainstreaming gender into humanitarian response.
- Ministry of Women, Children, Youth and Family Affairs (MWYCFA) — together with the National Protection Committee.
- Matavale Women’s Association (MWA) — together with Mother’s Union, Dorcas Society and Women’s Fellowship.
- Tonga Community Development Trust (TCDT) on a project to empower the Amatakiloa ‘a Fafine Tonga women’s group network to participate in decision-making processes in community-level initiatives to enhance disaster and climate resilience targeting particularly vulnerable women, girls, elderly people, and persons with disabilities by supporting them with the development of 400 home gardens with disaster resilient crops and implementing awareness workshops about climate risks.
- Sanso Sunset Women’s Environment Network (SSWEN) on a project to promote women’s resilience through community disaster and climate change mobilization targeting 5238 women, girls, elderly women, men, and persons with disabilities in remote villages in Vanuatu. This will be achieved through trainings of 300 women and community leaders to support them in establishing Community Disaster and Climate Change Committees in 42 remote villages, empowering women to serve as chairwomen of the committees, and providing essential disaster relief supplies.
- Save the Children Vanuatu — together with CARE Vanuatu — on a project to support other CSOs to strengthen their understanding of gender and protection, as well as their capacity to develop proposals on gender and protection through a mentoring scheme. The project will also train female disaster committee members at the local and provincial levels on gender and protection.
The Solomon Islands experienced a period of violent open conflict and ethnic tensions between 1998-2003, which left over 200 dead and displaced more than 20,000 people. Although law and order has largely been reestablished in the country, the root causes of conflict have not been sufficiently addressed due to weak governance systems, which are now being tested by the increase in disasters and resulting competition for resources.
Climate change and natural disasters represent a growing threat to peace and security in the region. Chronic cyclones and droughts, growing food insecurity, scarcity of resources, and climate-induced population displacement are putting additional pressure on already economically weak communities, ultimately fueling conflict.
While there has been some progress in recent years regarding the situation of women and girls in the Pacific, the region retains some of the worst indicators in the world in terms of overall gender equality. Violence against women is at pandemic levels, with over three quarters of the female population experiencing physical and sexual violence. On top of this, women and girls in the Pacific are disproportionally affected by climate change and natural disasters, and are systematically kept away from preparedness and response processes.
While women’s organizations have been the most successful in the region in terms of networking, lobbying efforts, and service delivery, they remain small, have limited capacity, and suffer from a lack of core funding to sustain actions.
WPHF aims to ensure the financing and coordination of local civil society organizations working to mainstream gender into emergency response and ensure the safety and well-being of women and girls across in Fiji, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu.