The launch of Spotlight Initiative in PNG aims to bring an end to violence against women

Papua New Guinea joins the rest of the world in shining the spotlight on the darkness of gender-based violence and continues the work towards improving the safe

The highlight of International Women’s Day in PNG was the launch of the Spotlight Initiative by UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed.

The Spotlight Initiative is the world’s largest effort to end all forms of violence against women and girls. It is a partnership between European Union and the United Nations that brings groups together from governments, civil society and the private sector. It provides a large-scale, targeted support, backed by a global investment of €500 million. Of this, approximately €22m (over K75 million) is invested in PNG, making it one of the largest investments globally. Over the next three years, Spotlight will be in 11 provinces across the four regions of PNG to work with government, community and faith-based organizations, human rights defenders, schools and traditional and religious leaders to address the root causes of violence against women and girls.

The UN estimates that one in three women experiences violence in her lifetime but in Papua New Guinea, that number is much higher.

“That means that one in three men raises his hand against a woman”, said Ms. Mohammed. Addressing the men during the launch event at Gordons Market in Port Moresby Ms Mohammed said; “It is not a strength to raise your hand against a woman. It is a weakness. It makes you a weaker man for not being able to use your voice instead of your hand.”

Ms Mohammed commended the Government and leadership of Papua New Guinea in taking on the issue of violence against women at the Cabinet level and in the Parliament. Joining the launch, Deputy Prime Minister Davis Steven called on every citizen to end the “terrorism in our homes” and reiterated the government’s strong commitment to creating a generation of Papua New Guineans who live free from gender-based violence.

Governor of National Capital District Powes Parkop also expressed similar sentiments, highlighting the important role of men and boys in ending violence. “It is time for our men to stand up, to be heroes, to be champions,” said Governor Parkop.

Also present at the launch was Mr. Jernej Videtic, Ambassador of the European Union to Papua New Guinea; “What the EU and UN want to achieve through the Spotlight Initiative is to promote an environment in which women and girls live free from violence, always and everywhere,” he said.

The Spotlight initiative will build on the strong work that is already in place that are led by the Government and other stakeholders.

“Violence against women poses a grave threat to sustainable and inclusive development, and that is a building block for building a stable and a peaceful society. If there is no peace in the home there can be no peace in the community and there can be no peace in the country, “said Ms. Mohammed.

About Spotlight Initiative

In Papua New Guinea, the Spotlight Initiative is strengthening the capacities of key institutions in charge of the coordination and implementation of the Gender Based Violence (GBV) Strategy. The Initiative will build on innovative social norms transformation programmes; work with the law and justice, child protection and health sectors to improve the quality and reach of basic services for survivors of intimate partner violence/domestic violence.

The programme will help service providers to improve the quality and comparability of administrative data in order to feed into planning and budgeting; and will establish a capacity building/development unit for local organizations and across the Pacific region, including groups led by youth, and those facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, to increase their access to funding and technical assistance.

Direct beneficiaries: 8,400,000 | Indirect beneficiaries: 10,000,000


Mobile Technologies for Prevention During the 2018 earthquake in the Highlands region, with support from Digicel, violence prevention messaging and phone counselling reached more than 2 million users. This successful experience will be expanded to reach women in remote communities, as well as youth networks.  

CSO Capacity Building Hub Strengthening indigenous CSOs in this way is a first of its kind in the country. It will strengthen the effectiveness and accountability of CSOs in Papua New Guinea whose work contribute directly to effective service delivery and advocacy towards EVAWG, to create transformational change.

Innovative Partnerships Forging partnerships between government agencies, private sector companies, faith-based communities and traditional leaders, and most importantly, the women’s movement, Spotlight will address the needs of marginalized women and girls.

Operational Innovation To maximize efficiency gains, the Resident Coordinator will pool the requisite Monitoring and Evaluation and Communications resources from two significant EU programmes—Spotlight and STREIT. The cost for these officers will be shared between the two programmes and will ensure quality support to the donor as well as compliance requirements.

UN entities involved in this initiative
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations Children’s Fund