On a mission to cut Papua New Guinea’s high levels of sexual violence |

“Most of the survivors of gender-based violence we see in the clinic are young adults,” said Primrose, Youth Coordinator for the Family Health Association (FHA) in East New England.

She just took the stage after giving a presentation to Kokopo Middle School seniors as part of the FHA’s outreach program, in which she told students they could contact the FHA. if they need help and the violence is never on the victim’s side. error.

Primrose and her team of peer educators are hoping to cut physical and sexual violence through their outreach work in schools and communities across Eastern New England.

Primrose, Family Health Association (FHA) Youth Coordinator in the Eastern Province of New England, speaks to seniors at Kokopo High School, Papua New Guinea.

Spotlight Initiative / Rachel Donovan

Primrose, Family Health Association (FHA) Youth Coordinator in the Eastern Province of New England, speaks to seniors at Kokopo High School, Papua New Guinea.

As well as speaking to students at schools, the FHA team also distributed pamphlets and condoms, as part of their efforts to educate the community about sexual and reproductive health as well. as prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

“We are involved in the clinical and community outreach process,” she said. “We focus on family planning and especially on preventing unwanted pregnancies so young girls can complete their education.”

The group started with 20 peer educators, but during the pandemic that number has been reduced to 10. Primrose is currently looking to recruit new educators who can join her in promoting the services. medical care provided at the Family Health Association; provide information about healthy, non-violent relationships; and share information about sexual and reproductive health.

The highlands of Papua New Guinea.

© Spotlight Initiative / Rachel Donovan

The highlands of Papua New Guinea.

Speak the same language

FHA Director Michael Salini said: “We believe it is very important to ensure that young people recognize that violence is against anyone, whether it is in an emotional relationship or between any other person. any other young person,”.

“We need to get that message across to them. So that’s why we’re engaging these young people to do it on behalf of the organization. Young people talking to young people is the most effective way to change perceptions and values ​​in the community. ”

“When peer educators talk to young people, it’s like we’re speaking the same language,” says Primrose. “We’re in the same peer group and we can get that message across better.”

This approach is important, because older people often fail to recognize the experiences of younger people.

Margaret, a senior at Kokopo High School, confesses: “Personally, I went through such an experience with online harassment. “At that time, none of the teachers really understood it.”

According to the United Nations Children’s Agency, UNICEFOne-third of young people in 30 countries are victims of cyberbullying, and one-fifth report dropping out of school due to cyberbullying and violence.

“I think cyber-harassment is one of those issues that is very difficult for older people to understand,” says Margaret.

The Spotlight Initiative in Papua New Guinea

The Spotlight Initiative is supporting the Family Health Association of East New England with youth outreach activities to promote positive relationships and connect young people with sexual and reproductive health services.

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