Evidence shows that ‘educated, healthy and skilled adolescent girls will help build a better future, advance social justice, support economic development and combat poverty.’[i]
Pacific Girl demonstrates Pacific approaches to supporting adolescent girls and Australia’s commitment to focus on their needs, rights and opportunities.
Previously managed under the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women) programme, Pacific Girl continues to be funded by Australia and managed through Pacific Women Lead.
Pacific Girl funds projects with selected civil society organisations in six Pacific Island countries:
In the Federated States of Micronesia, Chuuk Women’s Council is reaching marginalised girls through a young women’s empowerment course. With the support of Pacific Girl, the Young Women’s Empowerment Program (YWEP) aims to build the knowledge of 150 marginalised girls, aged 12–17 years, about sexual and mental health, healthy relationships and developing future goals.
In Fiji, the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) Girls Arise program is working with girls aged 10–12 years to build their life skills and confidence. Pacific Girl is enabling FWRM to extend activities to girls outside of the capital Suva, share the organisation’s approach in a toolkit, and raise the profile of girls’ issues with decision makers.
In Papua New Guinea, the Equal Playing Field (EPF) Safe Schools, Strong Communities program seeks to reduce violence by educating girls and boys about the importance of respectful relationships, using sport as an entry point. Pacific Girl assists EPF to reach adolescents in 40 schools (up to 6,000 girls) and work with teachers on establishing Safe Schools Frameworks. The project works with youth facilitators known as ‘Changemakers’ in school and university action groups.
In the Solomon Islands, the Girls Rise Up! project, led by the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) in partnership with CARE Australia, is reaching 200 at-risk girls to develop their confidence, skills and knowledge, and to establish supportive peer networks. Girls are provided with opportunities to safely advocate on issues that affect them, while service providers are engaged to support the needs and priorities of the girls.
In Tonga, the Talitha Project’s My Body! My Rights! program is reaching girls aged 10–14 years in four locations around Tonga, including outer islands. The program will improve community perceptions of girls’ value, amplify girls’ voices through creative media, and train girls on health, sex and sexuality education, and self-esteem, and on key issues including climate change, disaster response, and cyberbullying.
In Vanuatu, the CARE ‘Laef blo mi, vois blo mi’ program works with girls aged 12–19 years in rural and remote areas of Tafea Province. Pacific Girl is enabling CARE to extend life skills and respectful relationships education to younger adolescents in schools, including around 800 adolescent girls. The program includes male peers, teachers and families to ensure girls are safe and respected.
The Pacific Girl programme team provides dedicated resources and technical expertise to partners to accelerate the impact of their work and share the learning across the region.
The programme recognises the principle of ‘nothing about us without us’ and seeks to address the underrepresentation of adolescent girls in decisions that affect them. This includes through involving adolescent girls in program design and delivery.
Pacific Girl has been designed by and for adolescent girls:
220 adolescent girls in six countries (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu) participated in focus group discussions, with some recording their thoughts in the Pacific Girls Speak video.
88 people from 16 countries completed an online survey (including 20 under the age of 20).
20 adolescent girls from Fiji, Tonga and Vanuatu participated in the Pacific Girl design workshop, bringing their priorities and solutions to a wide network of stakeholders (35 people from Australia and Pacific Island countries). Some of the adolescent girls wrote and performed a song during the design workshop.
[i] LO, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNIFEM, WHO (2010). ‘Accelerating Efforts to Advance the Rights of Adolescent Girls: A Joint UN Statement’, United Nations.