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Alotau: Through the financial support of Zonta International, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Papua New Guinea Country Office in coordination with Milne Bay Provincial Health Authority (PHA) - launched the project “Strengthening national health sector capacity to deliver survivor-centred response to gender-based violence survivors in Papua New Guinea”. The two-year project was launched at Alotau Provincial Hospital on June 2, 2021 and is aimed at providing quality essential services including long term recovery for women and girls who experience violence in Papua New Guinea.  

Zonta International committed US$1,000,000 to UNFPA for a two year project across Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste, the two countries with the highest lifetime prevalence of intimate partner violence.


The project is expected to directly benefit over 150,000 people in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and in Milne Bay provinces of Papua New Guinea. Milne Bay will receive approximately PGK 700,000 to strengthen the Provincial Government’s response to GBV through specialized health services at Family Support Centers.


The project’s specific objectives include:

    • Supporting the expansion of specialized health services including through Family Support Centres
    • Development of health and GBV pre and in-service training packages
    • Delivery of cascading training and capacity building training packages in line with global standards and guidelines
    • Strengthening of case management and referral pathways
    • Assessment of health sector GBV response capacity and services, including a baseline/end line amongst Family Support Centres to track the impact
    • Develop communication and technical materials and awareness-raising on GBV and availability of health services in response to violence.


Mr Ashan Numa, Provincial Administrator said in his welcoming speech, on behalf of the provincial Governor, my administration, the leadership for the province and my colleagues, we are very thankful that you have taken this program. I look forward to working with you for the success of the program. The people of Milne Bay are grateful for this program.

Mr Ashan Numa, Provincial Administrator delivering provincial address to the dignitaries attended the Zonta International funded project launch. Photo: UNFPA/Fitsum Habtemariam

Ms Marielle Sander, Representative, UNFPA Papua New Guinea said, globally one in three women have experienced sexual and gender-based violence and in PNG we know the figure is about 63% of women who have experienced this violence. And for these women, 77% of the violence has been exercised by their intimate partners. These are very alarming figures. PNG is not alone trying to overcome this challenge. The on-going Parliamentary Inquiry, supported by Milne Bay’s Hon. Charles Abel has shown PNG the urgency of addressing violence more broadly as a policy priority and the need to promote coordination within and between medical, psycho-social, police and legal services to manage the GBV prevention and response.

At the same time, those facing abuse need help today and Milne Bay is ready to expand its services. This is why it gives me great pleasure to be here today and to acknowledge the support of the provincial authorities to offer this assistance to women and the children in Milne Bay.

Thanks to Zonta funding, we will now be able to strengthen the referral system in the health care system and expand psychosocial gender-based violence response. This is important because sometimes women and girls don’t come to the family support center and may turn up seeking other medical care. Other health professionals must be part of the referral system so they can pass the patients to the psychosocial support as needed.

Ms Marielle Sander, Representative, UNFPA Papua New Guinea delivering speech during the project launch in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. Photo: UNFPA/Fitsum Habtemariam

Ms Bronwyn Kili, UNFPA’s Young Ambassador for Sexual and Reproductive Health said, as a Young Ambassador for UNFPA, I am hoping that with the work that we do upskilling or in building capacities with the support services, we ensure that the youth services are youth-friendly. Without young people nothing can be sustainable!

Ms Bronwyn Kili, UNFPA’s Young Ambassador for Sexual and Reproductive Health addressing dignitaries during the project launch in Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. Photo: UNFPA/Fitsum Habtemariam

Dr Perister Mamadi, CEO of Alotau Provincial Hospital said, when I think about gender-based violence and sexual harassment issues, it is bigger than just health. But when it comes to justice, that is the area we need to address as a group, like when you go to a police station, community development, courthouse, which desk is there? So, we want to say thank you for this partnership and I am happy that together as a team, Zonta, UNFPA, Milne Bay PHA, Provincial Administration and all our friends in the district as a team we are going to achieve this together. Wherever the struggles are, in Milne Bay there is no struggle. There is always a way out! Thank you.

Dr Perister Mamadi, CEO of Alotau Provincial Hospital delivering Partnership Acknowledgement at the project launch at Alotau Provincial Hospital in Milne Bay. Photo: UNFPA/Fitsum Habtemariam

About Zonta International and UNFPA:

Zonta International is a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy. It envisions a world in which women's rights are recognized as human rights and every woman is able to achieve her full potential.

UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. Our mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled.

For more details, please contact: Fitsum Habtemariam, UNFPA Papua New Guinea, +675 70160165,