The UN Women and National Capital District Commission’s Safe Cities Programme celebrated International Youth Day yesterday with young people, organisations and the Gerehu community.
The theme for this year’s International Youth Day was mental health, which was celebrated by various organisations that provide health and other services to youth. These included the NCDC Youth Desk, NCDC Health, the United Nations Population Fund, the National Youth Commission, Nationwide Microbank, Médicines Sans Frontières, YAHA, Yoga United, TVET and the Urban Youth Employment Project.
“International Youth Day is an important opportunity to recognise the contributions of young people to our families and communities,” said Rex Buka, NCDC Youth Desk Coordinator.
“Young people are the future of our city, and we must empower and support them to make the right choices for their futures. That is why it is so important to have events like this, where young people can share information about the support and opportunities available to them.
“Through the Safe Cities Programme, the NCDC Youth Desk creates programmes to increase youth employment, provides referral services, registers and develops capacity of youth organizations and raises awareness of youth matters through events like International Youth Day.”
In Port Moresby, UN Women’s Safe Cities Programme works with the NCDC, with government, local organisations, women, girls, men and boys in the community, and the private sector to prevent and ultimately eliminate sexual violence and other forms of violence against women and girls in public spaces. Engaging and empowering youth is an important element of the Safe Cities Programme to make Port Moresby a safer city for everyone.
The Port Moresby Safe Cities Programme is part of UN Women’s Safe Cities Free of Violence against Women and Girls Global Programme. Port Moresby was selected as one of the five cities for the global pilot initiatives – alongside Quito in Ecuador, Kigali in Rwanda, Cairo in Egypt and New Delhi in India.
The goal of UN Women’s Safe Cities Global Programme is to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls in urban public spaces by enabling them to move freely and safely, and increase their rights to utilize and enjoy public urban spaces. To achieve this, the Port Moresby Safe Cities Programme works in partnership with the National Capital District Commission. The Programme focuses in markets as the key entry point for mobilizing women’s leadership and citizens’ active participation in improving governance as well as fostering a deepening understanding of citizens’ rights and responsibilities.
There have been many different Safe Cities programmes piloted around the world, and experiences attest that, ‘when cities are safe for women, they are safe for all,’ and that investments in gender equality and women’s empowerment have spill-over effects for families, communities and countries at large.
In Papua New Guinea, NCDC’s and UN Women’s Safe Cities programme works with government, local organisations, women, girls, men and boys in the community, and the private sector to prevent and ultimately eliminate sexual violence and other forms of violence against women and girls in public spaces. The Programme takes a holistic approach to increasing safety, for example through:
– improvements to infrastructure and facilities, including the installation of running potable water;
– the establishment of market vendors associations;
– providing financial literacy training and access to financial services for market vendors;
– creation of a mobile banking partnership to reduce cash and therefore vendors’ risks of robbery;
– establishment of a police unit within Gordons market, and providing local police with training on gender and HIV;
– development of a community based model that addresses issues of service provision and effective referral systems, emergency management and critical incident response, as well as a policing urban space model and a security plan which will also be implemented in the Programme’s implementation sites;
– establishment of a referral system for survivors of violence in the markets; and
– the adaptation of bylaws to incorporate considerations of gender and violence against women.
The expected impact level results, aligned with UN Women’s Safe Cities Global Initiative include:
ü Women and girls enjoy a greater sense of safety, reduced fear and increased comfort in public spaces,
ü Increased use of public spaces and increased autonomous mobility of women and girls in the city, and
ü A reduction in different forms of sexual violence in public spaces, especially in the intervention sites.
The Port Moresby Safe Cities Programme is funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.