The House of Sarah is an initiative of the Association of Anglican Women (AAW), launched in 2009. HoS is managed by a dedicated team of volunteers committed to promoting equal and respectful relationships and supporting women throughout the Pacific. The organisation’s mission is to provide a listening ear, a warm heart and a welcoming hand to those women who are facing violence through the provision of counselling, support services, and education, networking, partnerships, and referrals. The organisation works with women, youths, male clergy and laypersons across Anglican parishes in Fiji.
Project Date: February 2018 – January 2020
Grant Value: Type A – FJ $250,000
Area of Focus: Preventing violence against women in Fiji’s faith settings
Project Status: COMPLETED
In Fiji, the 2010/2011 national study on the prevalence of violence against women released by the Fiji Women’s Cris Centre in 2013 showed that every day: 43 are injured, 1 is permanently disabled, 71 loose consciousness and 16 women are injured badly. The study also showed that on average, 64% of women in intimate partner relationships are facing physical and sexual violence throughout their life-time.
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a human rights violation: of their dignity, humanity, a right to safety and protection, to express and have freedom of opinion. It can further restrict women and girls from achieving freedom of mobility, in making a decision of their own health and reproductive choices, in-home settings, in public life and limiting their access to benefit through opportunities of education, employment and so forth. At one level, the root cause of VAWG is considered to be due to the deep-rooted gender inequality attitudes, values, norms and practices. Girls and women are traditionally viewed and treated as inferior to boys and men.
In Pacific island communities, the influence of the church and faith-based organisations (FBOs) are quite pervasive on people’s attitudes, values, norms, practices, and expressions. This traditional outlook is commonly seen for example, in the misinterpretation of God’s Creation story of a man and a woman in the Bible. The female as equal image-bearer of God with the male as outlined in Genesis Chapter 1 verse 27 is quite often down-played. This commonly held misinterpretation continues to fuel patriarchal values, norms, and practices that women are to be submissive to men in relationships, at home and publicly.
The planned program is aimed at community mobilising of faith communities to recapture God’s vision of human relations, human rights, equality, gender equality and preventing violence against women.
The Grant will enable House of Sarah to conduct activities to achieve outcomes across the two key programmatic areas; Preparing Faith Team and Network (Phase 1) and Awareness (Phase 2).
– Preparing Faith-based team and network via trainings, partnerships, suitable training materials, baseline survey, meetings, developing referral list and establishment of support network system
– Review training materials and plan awareness for Faith team
– Conducting awareness for target group via meetings, workshops
– Monitor and conduct an assessment of the activities implemented
– Celebrate and share learning with Faith Team and Network, update any material, existing referral list and community asset map