Advocacy calls for open relations among teens


Open conversation with boys and girls  aged between 12 and 15 years can help change negative ideas about relationships between men and women and create a safer city, an official says.
Equal Playing Field advocacy and communication officer Joshua Kiruhia told The National that violence against women was a major issue in PNG so their eight-week programme on healthy relationships focused on talking about problems before they happened.
“Talking about it, we can stop a problem before it happens as a tool of primary prevention in ending gender-based violence and so that was an area where UN Women looked at in our programme and brought to us on to the Sanap Wantaim campaign,” Kiruhia said.
“We believe that what we do with the children in schools, because these children access public spaces, market places, bus stops and also the people that these children associate with – the parents, family, relatives – we need to talk to them about the five key messages from the Sanap Wantaim campaign.

“The campaign actually runs parallel with what we are already delivering to the children in our existing programmes.”
Kiruhia said two in every three women according to UN Women’s statistics experience sexual assault while accessing public transportation.
“We believe in working in collaboration with other organisations that also have special target audiences so that we come together in a collective effort,” he said.
“It has the power to reduce violence against women and girls at public spaces and we are very pleased to be part of the campaign.
“We believe that it should go on for a very long time and not just a three months’ campaign – there should be sustainability in it.”
Kiruhia said behavioural changes did not happen overnight and it took up time, resources and money.
“For change to occur, a consistent sustainable programme was needed to change some of the negative views on how people perceive certain issues in the community.”

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