By ERIC PIET
THE Department of Community Development, Youth and Religion will go into districts to try to bring under control violent social issues.
Minister Soroi Eoe said they would establish community development centres to address increasing sorcery-related and gender-based violence and child labour in the country, which were core issues affecting the lives of many Papua New Guineans in rural centres and villages.
According to Eoe, the step taken by the Government to expand to districts would initially see centres established in six districts this year – an addition to the two existing ones in Imbonggu district in Southern Highlands and Talasea in West New Britain.
The six districts are Yangoru-Saussia (East Sepik), Pangia (Southern Highlands), Abau (Central), Finschhafen (Morobe), Gazelle (East New Britain) and Kikori (Gulf).
“Sorcery-related violence and violence against woman are big issues in the rural areas of the country, with many innocent lives being lost every day. Only a few cases are being reported in the media, there are many unreported cases, which need to be adequately addressed,” he said.
“We are, therefore, going into the districts to have our presence felt in the rural areas so that our officers will work with the communities in raising awareness on all forms of violence and disseminate information to them that sorcery accusation is wrong.
“We will work with inter-governmental agencies to address these issues so that men know what their roles are rather than abusing their wives and children or torturing innocent people accused as sorcerers.”
Eoe said the implementation of the programme in the districts entails working with district officers through the approval of the district development authority.
“The DDA will have to fund a third of the amount needed to establish the centres as its contribution while we cover the rest of the cost,” he said.
“Once that agreement is in place, we will go through the checks and balances and if we are satisfied with what we expect of them, then we go into signing the agreement that we call the Sanapim Post Agreement, and we step in with our funding.”
By ERIC PIET