DILI, 18 February 2021: Under the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, a National Forum for Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (EVAWG Forum) was launched today by National Women’s Network Rede Feto in partnership with World Vision Timor-Leste to enable collaboration and solidarity across diverse groups working on EVAWG.
The establishment of the EVAWG Forum will be a new way to raise the visibility of local expertise and good practices on EVAWG and foster collaboration among groups. The knowledge-sharing and mentoring will encourage solidarity and complementary initiatives.
The EVAWG Forum will involve civil society organizations from national and municipal levels, including women's rights groups, organizations of persons with disabilities, domestic workers’ associations, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons, informal youth and girls' networks, men’s organizations working to prevent violence, media organizations, people living with HIV/AIDS toward increased skills and organizational capacities of EVAWG actors.
Andrew Jacobs, Ambassador of the European Union to Timor-Leste, said: “The European Union is proud to support the Spotlight Initiative. We are strongly committed to the ending the terrible crime of violence against women and girls, which is a terrible stain on all our societies. It would be impossible to fight gender-based violence successfully without civil society playing a major role. Civil society organisations are often the first to detect and respond to problems. They reach deep into communities and families, governments and institutions, sparking change and finding solutions. This Forum is a real opportunity for civil society organisations to decide together how best to join forces to prevent sexual violence, to protect victims, to end impunity for perpetrators, and to ensure access to health and justice for victims.”
Rede Feto Board President Ms. Yasinta Lujinda stated that “Rede Feto Timor-Leste as an umbrella organization for 46 women’s organizations across the territory has expertise, knowledge and experience for ending violence against women and girls through awareness-raising, media campaigns, and providing shelter, safe houses, medical forensic services, counselling, legal assistance and economic empowerment to survivors of violence. We have worked in partnership with State Secretary for Equality and Inclusion and other relevant ministries to implement the National Action Plan for Gender Based Violence. We recognize that ending violence against women and girls is not only the responsibility of women’s organizations; it is our responsibility to work hand in hand with men’s organizations, youth organizations, media organizations, community leaders, religious leaders and state leaders to end violence against women and girls in our society”.
The establishment of the National Forum for EVAWG is part of a USD 98,781 partnership led by Rede Feto and implemented together with World Vision, with support from UN Women as one of five UN agencies under the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative. The partnership is part of the Spotlight Initiative’s efforts to strengthen the women’s movement and civil society organizations so that they can more effectively influence and advance progress on ending violence against women and girls.
Roy Trivedy, UN Resident Coordinator, shared his remarks on the importance of the Forum. “Violence against women and girls is a scourge that must be eliminated in every society. In Timor-Leste, if we can address gender-based violence in the next five to ten years, we can be sure that our chances of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 will increase substantially. The National Forum for Ending Violence Against Women and Girls opens up a space for further collaboration between CSOs, the UN and other key partners to work with the people of Timor-Leste to eliminate, once and for all, all forms of violence against women and girls. The UN stands ready to support this EVAWG Forum and to ensure that women and girls enjoy their lives free from violence.”
The three-year investment of the EU-supported programme in Timor-Leste amounts to USD 15 million. It aims to strengthen country’s legal frameworks and institutions, promote positive social norms, increase access to support services for survivors of violence, improve the collection and use of data for better policy making and to strengthen partnerships with civil society organizations.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Background Information on Rede Feto
Rede Feto is a network of organisations in Timor-Leste working to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment through advocacy, networking and capacity building. Established in March 2000 during the first Timor-Leste National Women’s Congress, Rede Feto Timor-Leste has maintained an essential role as a network of women’s organisations advocating for gender equality and women’s empowerment through the creation and monitoring of a Platform of Action (PoA), which are commitments to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment and ending all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls in Timor-Leste.
Rede Feto is built upon its constituency: it has 44 member organisations of which 30 members are active players delivering services and advocating for ending violence against women and girls (EVAWG) in all 13 municipalities. The members work in multi sectors advancing women and girls’ rights through advocacy, support services delivery and capacity building by working directly with those affected including marginalised groups including rural and poor women and girls, abandoned women and girls, young mothers, women with disability and mental health, women living with HIV/AIDS, people from the lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LBTIQ) community and domestic workers.
Background Information on World Vision
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Inspired by our Christian values, we work with the world’s most vulnerable people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. World Vision Timor-Leste began its first project in Aileu municipality in 1995. Shortly after the country’s independence referendum in 1999, World Vision opened its national office in Dili. Today, we have three Area Programs implementing projects in four municipalities: Aileu, Baucau, Bobonaro and Covalima.
Our mission is ‘Healthy children for strong communities’. We recognise that children’s health is holistic in nature and includes their physical, mental, intellectual and social wellbeing. We aim to empower Timorese children to transform their lives, in partnership with their families and communities. The 4 strategic areas for World Vision are: to ensure children enjoy good health, safe water and improved sanitation, ensure children are educated for life, reduce gender-based violence and enhance community resilience and livelihoods.
Background Information on EU-UN Spotlight Initiative
The Spotlight Initiative, launched in September 2017, is a multi-year global partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. It represents an unprecedented global effort to invest in gender equality and women's empowerment as a precondition and driver for achieving sustainable development goals.
In the Pacific, the situation is particularly worrying. In some countries in the region, 76 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. Most affected are marginalised women and girls facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.
The overall vision of the Spotlight Initiative in Timor-Leste is that women and girls enjoy their right to a life free of violence, within an inclusive and gender equitable Timor-Leste. The Initiative is led by the UN Resident Coordinator in Timor-Leste and is implemented jointly by UN Women, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, and ILO."
This will involve strengthening and widening partnerships and solidarity across civil society, Government, media, private sector and development partners. The Initiative will empower individuals, equip institutions at national, sub-national and community levels with the policies, systems and mechanisms to prevent and respond to VAWG, and encourage the public to challenge harmful gender norms. Using innovative approaches, the SI will build a social movement of diverse advocates and agents of change for gender equality and social inclusion.
The Spotlight initiative deploys targeted, large-scale investments to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific. For more information about the Spotlight Initiative, visit https://spotlightinitiative.org
For media inquiries, please contact:
Ahmed Saleem, Communications Specialist, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office.
Santana Dos Santos, Rede Feto