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We are supporting our partner, the Kiribati Uniting Church (KUC), to continue promotion of theological messaging on Gender Equality, through local media and through posters and Bible studies that can be distributed to outer island communities along with workshops. The KUC vision for Gender Equality will also be promoted through road shows in several locations, making the message well known and understood by all.

During 2023-2024, the next phase of this project will be designed through dialogue and consultations with stakeholders and local communities, including a new design to guide KUC’s gender equality and disaster resilience program. An important part of the project is safeguarding and inclusion to make it easy for all to participate, including women and girls, people and children with a disability and other vulnerable groups.

 

In the first three days of March 2023, Vanuatu was hit by two Category 4 cyclones which tracked similar paths, most severely affecting Shefa and Tafea Provinces. The cyclones caused widespread damage affecting approximately 80% of the population. Many families either lost part or all their home, suffered damage to or total loss of gardens, and experienced flooding in low lying areas. A program supported by the Australian Humanitarian Partnership Program targeted cyclone-affected communities, schools and households to have access to appropriate support, services, and resources to stay healthy, informed and feel safer, and increased access to specialist health services in cyclone affected rural communities. 

As part of this recovery effort, our partner, Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu (PCV), and UnitingWorld decided to focus on two strengths of PCV: gender and protection, and health, including:

  • the next phase of PCV’s Plan blong God long laef blong Man mo Woman (God’s Vision for human relationship), Child Protection and Care, and Climate Resilience programs
  • additional focus and new activities relating to PCV having a church-wide policy on Gender Equality and Child Protection and Safeguarding
  • new focus on and activities engaging young people relating to women and children experiencing decreased violence and fear of violence in the home and community.  

These activities include participation of PCV and its Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union (PWMU).

 

Part of this program includes working ecumenically through the Church Agencies Network-Disaster Operations consortium (CAN-DO) funded by the Australian Government as part of the Australian Humanitarian Partnership Program.

 

Banner photo by Seiji Seiji on Unsplash

Our partner, Methodist Church in Fiji, has just commenced this new project phase to ensure MCIF churches and communities provide safe and inclusive environments for women, children and other vulnerable groups, and to support MCIF churches and communities to be prepared to respond to and recover from natural disasters.

The current project priorities are:

  • Setting up a working group to drafting a Disability and Social Inclusion policy.
  • Drafting a Disaster Risk Reduction and Disaster Risk Management (DRR/DRM) policy and a draft infrastructure assessment tool.
  • Building on the Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network (DRCN) that has been developed over the last 3 years, by providing DRCN/trauma healing training and supporting 10 trained chaplains to complete higher training in Pastoral Counselling.
  • Family Life Institutional Transformation (FLIT) is building on the work done over the last five years through Gender Equality Theology – Institutional Transformation (GET-IT), with the new name chosen to better reflect the focus on children and young people, and the MCIF approach of engaging men and boys along with women and girls.
  • Safeguarding and Protection policies and Bible Studies on God’s Vision for Human Relationships will be promoted to church leaders and communities, and be made available in several languages.
  • Organisational strengthening will be undertaken for improved project and financial management and project monitoring.

 

This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). Thanks to ANCP, we’re making a huge difference together.

Gender equality and climate resilience are cross-cutting issues that affect all aspects of life in Solomon Islands. Climate resilience project activities equip church leaders and communities to prepare for environmental disasters in practical, spiritual and pastoral ways. Gender equality project activities challenge churches and communities to value and empower women as equals and transform communities into places where they are safe from violence.

Our partner, United Church in Solomon Islands (UCSI), is developing this project to further previous work on both Gender Equality Theology (GET) and building resilience to climate-change impacts.

For gender equality, a priority is to spread the GET messaging to the grass-roots level in churches and communities.

Workshops and practical activities will help farmers learn innovative farming techniques to improve livelihoods and to become more resilient to climate-related hazards and natural disasters. Bible studies and topics on Climate Change Resilience will be developed by the Director of Theology.

A particular focus of this project is young people, both as recipients of the awareness messaging, and in training them to be active agents in implementing and promoting gender equality and climate resilience. It is planned to pilot youth-led community awareness campaigns in the areas of food security, water and sanitation with respect to reducing climate change impacts.

This project also supports organisational strengthening, including Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy Awareness in UCSI schools, and the development of feedback and complaints mechanisms for project participants.

UnitingWorld and our partner, the the United Church in Papua New Guinea (UCPNG), have been part of the Church Partnership Program (CPP) since its beginning in 2004. It is now one of the longest ongoing projects of Australia’s aid program. The CPP supports churches in Papua New Guinea to improve their capacity to deliver crucial health and education services, especially in rural and remote areas, as well as a broad range of activities in support of gender equality and social inclusion, peace and prosperity, and disaster risk reduction.

The current work in this project has four pillars:

  1. Organisational strengthening of UCPNG’s Development Unit, including staff capacity building and strengthened governance and financial management systems and processes.
  2. Developing capacity for collaboration to solve local development problems, including working with government agencies and CPP partners to achieve change.
  3. Exploring and developing a unique UCPNG social accountability approach connected to theology, leading to increased participation of UCPNG leadership, communities and colleges in social actions, public campaigns, and advocacy to government.
  4. Integrating Gender Equality, Disability Inclusion and Social Inclusion (GEDSI) throughout the program, with the stated outcome that “Church leaders will actively promote gender equality, disability and social inclusion” through awareness, strengthened policy and procedures, increased social action, and increased participation by women in leadership and decision-making in UCPNG.

 

The Church Partnership Program is supported by the Australian Government through the Papua New Guinea–Australia Partnership.

 

 

Use our resources on gender equality theology in your church or Bible study group! Download them here.

Click to download

 

Bible Studies on Human Dignity and Equality

-Rev Dr Cliff Bird and UnitingWorld

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click to download

 

The Theology of Gender Equality

-Church Partnership Program

“The Theology of Gender Equality is built upon ten, theological principles that enable participation and inclusion of both men and women in creating and sustaining communities that reaffirm, respect, and celebrate that being female and male are divine gifts.”

 

 

 

 

 

Banner image: Photo by Vika Chartier on Unsplash

This project aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of our partner, the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, to support and protect vulnerable people by equipping church leaders with the knowledge and skills relating to child protection, gender-based violence (including sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment), disability inclusion and human trafficking, and developing church-wide policies and reporting mechanisms.

Current activities include improving the ability of the church, including church schools, to promote gender equality, safeguarding and disability inclusion, through training, implementation of policy and accountability mechanisms and awareness raising.

 

This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). Thanks to ANCP, we’re making a huge difference together.

Photo: Sign language training to facilitate disability inclusion.

 


Uploaded on Vimeo in Mar 2014. Download this video or Click here for more videos.

Across the Pacific, churches are central to family and community, but leadership is predominantly male. The voices and representation of women are often excluded in decision-making, teaching and leadership, which reinforces gender power-imbalances in society.

We support women to study theology and seek ordination, equipping them for leadership in the Church and community.

Click here to support this project.

This project was proudly supported by the Alan Walker College of Evangelism from 2020 to 2023.


Uploaded on Vimeo in Mar 2017. Download this video or Click here for more videos.

 

More than 90% of people across the Pacific identify as Christian, and the Church’s teachings have a significant influence on people’s attitudes and behaviours. But ~68% of women and girls experience violence in their homes and communities and climate change is disproportionately affecting women and girls.

Our Church partners are acting as change agents in society to address gender equality through Biblical teaching on gender relations and human dignity. What is preached from the pulpit impacts life within the home. They are challenging traditional views on gender and addressing institutional inequality. 

We support a network of churches, Pacific theologians and gender practitioners who are developing and implementing safe church policies and using theological resources to lead dialogues with church and community leaders in gender theology and run workshops to engage men, women and young people in examining beliefs and behaviour.

This regional project brings together this network of change makers to tell their stories, to learn from and with each other, and to collaborate on new theological, culturally relevant resources.

You can help!

 

 

 

This project is currently supported in part through the ACT Alliance Gender Justice program with financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

 

This project was partly funded by the Australian Government through the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development initiative between 2016-2021.

Resources

Use our resources on gender equality theology in your church or Bible study group! Download them here.

UnitingWorld Gender Equality Theology Poster series. Download the high resolution files here.

 

 

 

Our Impact

Seven mainline denominations in PNG officially adopted gender equality as their doctrinal position, and have committed to teaching this theology as part of their ministerial training.

In Fiji, the ten denominations that make up the Fiji Council of Churches made a joint public statement condemning violence against women as sinful, played at cinemas around the country.

Churches in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Kiribati developed and adopted Safeguarding and Protection Policies at the national level including complaints mechanisms and Codes of Conduct for ministers and church workers in line with local protection laws.

The Methodist Church in Fiji changed their advice to women seeking help for domestic violence, suggesting they access the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, an organisation previously condemned by the church for supporting divorce.

Churches in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Kiribati appointed focal points for gender equality and identified trained ministers to resource the church with sermons and bible studies about gender equality. Together, they hold training for leaders across all parts of the church promote key messages on social media, television and radio, and provide school students and young couples with information about gender equality and healthy relationships.

In all countries, church ministers, pastors and other leaders have publicly shared anti-violence and gender equality messages in churches and online, including during COVID-19 lockdowns when rates of domestic violence dramatically increased.