APIA, SAMOA – 24 AUGUST 2020: The REACH Project aims to strengthen people’s access to justice and essential services regardless of where they live.
The Law and Justice Sector, led by the Ministry of Justice & Courts Administration (MJCA), are joining forces with the European Union and United Nations Spotlight Initiative, under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to roll out the second phase of the REACH Project that was piloted in 10 villages in March 2019.
The multi-stakeholder planning workshop aimed to reinforce REACH’s aim to coordinate, plan and implement initiatives to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls, including domestic violence and intimate partner violence, by using national and sub national systems and institutions available. It also highlights the significance of prioritizing victims and people who face difficulty in accessing government services in the provision of these services.
“We must be bold and ambitious in our approach to tackle violence in all its forms but especially gender-based violence against the most vulnerable members of our communities: women and children,” said UNDP Resident Representative, Jorn Sorensen.
“The Spotlight Initiative is already producing great results here and abroad. We must build on best practices from the region and globally in order for our efforts to be effective and have an impact on those most affected. We need to duplicate what works. We, as decision makers, policy reformists and game changers must continue to assert the central role of gender equality and social inclusion to chart the rationale and actions necessary to achieve sustainable development while integrating efforts to prevent and stop all forms of violence.”
REACH Phase 2 aims to revolutionize and advance opportunities to access information and influence behavioural change by implementing a collective approach to ending domestic and intimate partner violence, and violence against women and girls. It also aims to be informed by critical issues of violence and inequalities that Samoa is experiencing and within the COVID-19 context
“Violence is a growing disaster in Samoa. It destroys our people physically, emotionally and spiritually,” said the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Justice and Courts Administration, and Chairperson of the Samoa Law & Justice Sector Steering Committee, Moliei Simi Vaai.
“We need to do all we can to eliminate this from our society and we are grateful to our stakeholders and partners who are working with us to tackle violence in all its forms in our country.”
The 2018 National Inquiry into Family Violence in Samoa, conducted by the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI), found that six out of 10 women have experienced some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetime, and nine out of 10 children have experienced some form of physical, harsh verbal and sexual violence in their lifetime.
REACH Phase 2 is scheduled to be rolled out later this year.