UN Women and the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) have inked a partnership deal to address the regional epidemic of gender-based violence. The project comprises a regional mapping of faith-based responses to Violence Against Women and Children, gender equality and child protection.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, PCC Moderator Deaconess Tamalesi Makutu said that under the partnership, the regional “Break the Silence Sunday Campaign” would help churches to engage regional and national leadership on the issue of violence against women and girls and to deliver strong messages to faith communities on the necessity of education, attention and response to this issue.

Launched as the “Just and Safe Pacific Communities of Women and Men” as part of the PCC’s 2020-2024 Strategic Plan, the collaboration also includes developing and implementing a Safe Church Policies and Codes of Conduct in member churches.

The partnership is significant as it recognises the importance of faith communities in the Pacific region “as partners in a common vision of safe and peaceful communities and homes” and “not just as target audiences of secular programmes on addressing Gender Based Violence”, she added.

“There will also be a specific focus on increasing the participation and access of women in Church leadership and theology and on the role of Church Leaders as advocates,” she affirmed.