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Fiji Time: 6:44 PM on Thursday 17 April

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Initiative to make a difference

Felix Chaudhary
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

VIOLENCE against women in the country will be brought to the fore under an Australian government funded program.

And Fiji has been chosen as one of four Pacific Island Countries for the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Initiative.

The initiative, funded with a $320 million commitment over 10 years, was designed to "help shift barriers to women's social, economic and political participation across Pacific Island Forum countries", according to the Australian ambassador for Women and Girls, Penny Williams.

Speaking at the opening of the Pacific Network Violence against Women and Girls Conference in Nadi yesterday, Ms Williams said the initiative aimed to make a practical difference in the lives of Pacific women, their families and their communities.

However, the changes brought about would have to be driven by Pacific women and men based on what was important to them.

"If we are serious about securing human rights and national security, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls and delivering effective aid programs then we must be serious about stopping violence," she said.

Fiji Women's Crisis Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali said despite a lot of positive steps in the right direction, violence against women and girls continued to be an issue in the country.

"Donor agencies have come on board and greater resources are now available.

"There are progressive new laws developed and there are attempts being made for better policing," she said.