16 Days of Activism Across Asia and the Pacific

Participants in FWRM's GIRLS program alongside FWRM staff posing for a photo while holding up programs for their play.

Photo credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Photo credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Cambodia

Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC) ran their annual 16 Days campaign centred on empowering their followers to speak out against gender-based violence. Throughout the campaign, they have been sharing messages on their socials to educate the community on 16 ways in which they can help end violence in their communities. These messages have ranged from advice on how to support women and girls who disclose experiences of violence to educating men and boys about gender equality and healthy masculinity.  

A social media post created by GADC on the importance of teaching boys about gender equality and healthy masculinity.

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

A social media post created by GADC on how to respond to someone telling you about their experiences of violence.

Credit: Gender and Development Cambodia

Credit: Gender and Development Cambodia

Their education initiative extended to their presence at the ‘Non-violence Against Women and Girls for Economic and Social Justice’ event. From their booth, GADC shared leaflets highlighting success stories from their women’s economic empowerment program, art from their online 16 Days campaign and booklets on feminist leadership.  

GADC's booth with leaflets, posters and printouts displayed.

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

The crowd at the  ‘Non-violence Against Women and Girls for Economic and Social Justice’ event listening to someone presenting on stage.

GADC also held a white ribbon campaign in Oral district, Kompong Speu province under the theme ‘Promoting Transformative Society to End all forms of Violence Against Diverse Women and Girls'. A total of 116 participants came together to commit to being part of the solution to gender-based violence before watching a play performed by a youth group about GADC’s work. This culminated in a march to raise awareness of gender-based violence in the community.  

A group of people taking part in GADC's White Ribbon Day march. Some of them are riding on a tractor with a large megaphone attached at the front. One of them is holding up a sign with a drawing of a crossed-out fist in the centre.

Credit: Gender and Development Cambodia

Credit: Gender and Development Cambodia

A young man is writing in Khmer on a sign at the White Ribbon Day event.

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

Attendees of the White Ribbon Day even posing together for the camera.

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

A woman is pinning a ribbon onto the shirt of an event attendee.

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

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A group of people taking part in GADC's White Ribbon Day march. Some of them are riding on a tractor with a large megaphone attached at the front. One of them is holding up a sign with a drawing of a crossed-out fist in the centre.

Credit: Gender and Development Cambodia

Credit: Gender and Development Cambodia

A young man is writing in Khmer on a sign at the White Ribbon Day event.

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

Attendees of the White Ribbon Day even posing together for the camera.

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

A woman is pinning a ribbon onto the shirt of an event attendee.

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

And their incredible advocacy didn’t stop there.  

With this year’s 16 Days campaign coinciding with COP28, GADC joined other civil society organisations in penning a powerful open letter to the heads of UN Member States highlighting the connections between systemic and interpersonal gender-based violence and the climate crisis. In it, they call on UN Member States to urgently adopt feminist alternatives to current climate policies in order to properly address the capitalist, patriarchal and colonial structures that underpin both gender-based violence and the climate crisis.

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

Credit: Gender and Development for Cambodia

To mark International Human Rights Day – the final day of the 16 Days campaign – Rainbow Community Kampuchea (RoCK) alongside other LGBT+ organisations in Cambodia held a roundtable dialogue to continue discussions with the Cambodian government and relevant stakeholders on how to advance marriage equality in the country. During the dialogue, diverse Cambodian LGBT+ community members shared stories emphasising how important equal marriage and family rights are to them and to guaranteeing social inclusion in Cambodia. Some of the recommendations discussed included creating a multi-stakeholder working group to discuss, study and review relevant laws to enable the passing of marriage equality in the country.  

Fiji

Fiji Women’s Rights Movement kicked off their 16 Days of Activism campaign with a Women and Girls Sports Events in partnership with NRL in Fiji. The event included an intergenerational panel in which women and girls shared their experiences of gender disparities in sports. The panel’s aim was to emphasise the need for an equal playing field for women and girls in sports. The day ended with a sports clinic for the girls of FWRM’s GIRLS program.  

Participants at FWRM's intergenerational panel posing together with their arms raised.

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Speakers at FWRM's intergenerational panel. One of them is communicating with the crowd using Fijian Sign Language.

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Speakers at FWRM's intergenerational panel. One of them is communicating with the crowd using Fijian Sign Language.

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Members of FWRM's GIRLS program in the start position for a race.

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Members of FWRM's GIRLS program taking part in NRL in Fiji's sports clinic.

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Members of FWRM's GIRLS program posing together at NRL in Fiji's sports clinic.

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Item 1 of 6
Participants at FWRM's intergenerational panel posing together with their arms raised.

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Speakers at FWRM's intergenerational panel. One of them is communicating with the crowd using Fijian Sign Language.

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Speakers at FWRM's intergenerational panel. One of them is communicating with the crowd using Fijian Sign Language.

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Members of FWRM's GIRLS program in the start position for a race.

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Members of FWRM's GIRLS program taking part in NRL in Fiji's sports clinic.

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Members of FWRM's GIRLS program posing together at NRL in Fiji's sports clinic.

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

The GIRLS program also created and performed a theatre production with both hearing and Deaf girls, and their mothers, centred around the importance of ending gender-based violence. Titled ‘What a Girl Wants!’, the performance addressed the structures that make gender-based violence possible - focusing in particular on the harmful patriarchal ideologies that continue to limit women and girls’ access to justice. 

As Nalini Singh, Executive Director at FWRM, puts it, “It’s their stories. It’s all our stories. This is indeed what happens in our communities and families.” 

Members of FWRM's GIRLS program on stage as part of their theatre production for 16 Days of Activism.

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Members of FWRM's GIRLS program on stage as part of their theatre production for 16 Days of Activism.

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Credit: Fiji Women's Rights Movement

The FWRM team also facilitated a session on gender-based violence and awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace for staff at GIZ Pacific – an organisation supporting communities in the Pacific to adapt to climate change and mitigate the climate crisis through forestry conservation. The session was designed to facilitate a conversation between staff members on the prevalence of gender-based violence and sexual harassment, unpacking gender norms and the idea of the patriarchy as the root cause of violence.  

An FWRM staff member running the GIZ workshop. Behind them is a presentation that reads, "What does well-being and happiness mean to me?"

Credit: GIZ Pacific

Credit: GIZ Pacific

GIZ Pacific staff members sitting together on a woven mat.

Credit: GIZ Pacific

Credit: GIZ Pacific

GIZ Pacific staff members sitting together on woven mats as they take part in FWRM's workshop.

Credit: GIZ Pacific

Credit: GIZ Pacific

To mark the start of their 16 Days of Activism campaign, femLINKpacific published a special supplement in the Fiji Times about the global 16 Days campaign and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls. The special issue included messages from their Rural Women Leaders Community Media Network about the campaign and a call to action to Fiji and the Pacific to unite against the issue of gender-based violence - emphasising the importance of investing in prevention efforts. 

A copy of the supplement published by femLINKpacific in the Fiji Times for the 16 Days campaign.

Credit: femLINKpacific

Credit: femLINKpacific

They also shared resources on their social media channels about the campaign, the importance of addressing gender-based violence and what actions can be taken to address it.

This included sharing messages from their community on the importance of speaking out against violence, supporting survivors and advocating for a future free from gender-based violence. You can find more videos from them through their Facebook page

What must we do to address violence?

Credit: femLINKpacific

Credit: femLINKpacific

The government should prioritise supporting gender equality in all their humanitarian action, and work closely with local women's rights and women-led organisations. Barriers to girls' education must be addressed. These barriers include gender-based violence and access to sexual and reproductive health services. Economic opportunities must be promoted for women, as this can enhance their status in their households and communities, but violence, crisis and displacement intensify the economic marginalisation of women. Meaningful participation of women and girls at all levels and from all backgrounds is vital to safeguard progress on gender equality and to promote more inclusive societies.

Credit: femLINKpacific

Credit: femLINKpacific

How to impact change?

Credit: femLINKpacific

Credit: femLINKpacific

We must change our ideas of what leadership looks like and remove the barriers, to women and girls leading and participating, in decision-making at all levels. We need to create more equitable leadership in planning and response. Women-led groups working in their communities are essential for identifying and providing a platform for current and future leaders. However, change is not going to happen without engaging men, and to challenge gender inequalities that are deeply rooted in beliefs and behaviours, which also include stigma towards survivors of gender-based violence.

Credit: femLINKpacific

Credit: femLINKpacific

A woman is raising her fist while holding up a sign that reads, "To see violence truly eliminated, attitudes of men and women need to change..."

Credit: femLINKpacific

Credit: femLINKpacific

A woman is facing the camera and holding up her open hand to the lens in a sign that signals 'stop'. Over the image is text that reads "I am my sisters keeps and any form of violence is my business. Break the silence against violence. Let's talk about it. Together we are stronger." Sapeci Vereivalu, Koronubu Youth Group, Ba.

Credit: femLINKpacific

Credit: femLINKpacific

A woman has her fist raised as she looks into the camera. She is holding up a handwritten sign that says, "Treasure women, you treasure the world." The text above her reads, "How can you and your community help eliminate violence against women and girls? Support initiatives that promote gender equality in education, employment and decision-making roles. Support the implementation of comprehensive sex education programs in schools to teach consent, respect and healthy relationship dynamics."

Credit: femLINKpacific

Credit: femLINKpacific

A woman is holding up a handwritten sign that reads, "Break the silence. Learn to say no because no means no." Above her is text that reads, "How can you and your community help eliminate violence against women and girls? Encourage community involvement in the design and upkeep of public spaces to deter violence. Involve women in decision-making spaces at all levels. Promote positive masculinity and engage men and boys as allies in the elimination of gender-based violence."

Credit: femLINKpacific

Credit: femLINKpacific

To mark International Human Rights Day, they also published an article in the Fiji Times sharing Julekha Mustapha’s story – one of the amazing rural women leaders in their network. Since being first involved with femLINKpacific’s work in 2006, Julekha has become well-versed in some of the most pervasive human rights issues faced by women in rural Fiji and is responsible for first bringing femLINKpacific’s work to Nadi.  

A copy of the supplement written by femLINKpacific for the Sunday Fiji Times on International Human Rights Day.

Credit: femLINKpacific

Credit: femLINKpacific

Papua New Guinea

A woman is holding a microphone on stage as she addresses a crowd.

Credit: Eastern Highlands Family Voice

Credit: Eastern Highlands Family Voice

A group of people wearing blue t-shirts and carrying orange tote bags marching through the streets of Goroka Town. One of them is holding up a banner that reads, "Gender Equality."

Credit: Eastern Highlands Family Voice

Credit: Eastern Highlands Family Voice

For this year’s 16 Days of Activism campaign, Eastern Highlands Family Voice organised a march in the heart of Goroka Town, their chants resonating through the streets as they stood together against all forms of violence in the Eastern Highlands region. This included hosting a booth where materials about gender-based violence and how to address it were shared to community members, empowering all to play a role in creating a safer, more respectful region.   

A crowd is marching through the streets of Goroka Town. They are holding banners and wearing blue and orange shirts.

Credit: Eastern Highlands Family Voice

Credit: Eastern Highlands Family Voice

People manning a table with pamphlets and posters about gender-based violence.

Credit: Eastern Highlands Family Voice

Credit: Eastern Highlands Family Voice

Over in Jiwaka Province, Voice for Change led an awareness campaign to mark this year’s 16 Days and further the fight against violence in the region. On Thursday 30th of November, over 500 Women Human Rights Defenders, partners and the general public came together in Banz Town to attend the program and advocate against gender-based violence.  

Gathering under the theme ‘Invest now to prevent all forms of violence in our communities - Play your part,’ they painted the town orange as they marched down the streets under banners that read out ‘Change starts with you,’ ‘Women have the same rights as men,’ and ‘Play your part.’  

A group of men in orange t-shirts posing in front of a 16 Days banner.

Credit: Voice for Change

Credit: Voice for Change

A police van decorated for the march with orange balloons and a banner that reads, "End violence. Change starts with you."

Credit: Voice for Change

Credit: Voice for Change

A group of people all wearing orange are posing with a banner that reads, "Konum. Women, peace and security. A change to continue."

Credit: Voice for Change

Credit: Voice for Change

A group of women in orange shirts holding up a 16 Days banner.

Credit: Voice for Change

Credit: Voice for Change

Credit: Voice for Change

Credit: Voice for Change

A crowd wearing orange t-shirts behind a series of handmade banners with messages about ending violence against women and girls.

Credit: Voice for Change

Credit: Voice for Change

A woman is standing on stage as she speaks into a microphone to the crowd.

Credit: Voice for Change

Credit: Voice for Change

A woman is standing on stage as she speaks into a microphone to the crowd.

Credit: Voice for Change

Credit: Voice for Change

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A group of men in orange t-shirts posing in front of a 16 Days banner.

Credit: Voice for Change

Credit: Voice for Change

A police van decorated for the march with orange balloons and a banner that reads, "End violence. Change starts with you."

Credit: Voice for Change

Credit: Voice for Change

A group of people all wearing orange are posing with a banner that reads, "Konum. Women, peace and security. A change to continue."

Credit: Voice for Change

Credit: Voice for Change

A group of women in orange shirts holding up a 16 Days banner.

Credit: Voice for Change

Credit: Voice for Change

Credit: Voice for Change

Credit: Voice for Change

A crowd wearing orange t-shirts behind a series of handmade banners with messages about ending violence against women and girls.

Credit: Voice for Change

Credit: Voice for Change

A woman is standing on stage as she speaks into a microphone to the crowd.

Credit: Voice for Change

Credit: Voice for Change

A woman is standing on stage as she speaks into a microphone to the crowd.

Credit: Voice for Change

Credit: Voice for Change

Samoa

A poster for Hush showing men and women in black and white holding up their hands against their mouths as a sign of being silenced.

Credit: Brown Girl Woke

Credit: Brown Girl Woke

The production has since been filmed and will be available for viewing soon.   

Head to Brown Girl Woke’s social media pages to see more behind-the-scenes videos of the production and learn why using performing arts to tell stories about domestic violence can be so powerful. You can also read more about the production through the Samoan Observer’s glowing review of the musical.   

“Hush” is Brown Girl Wokes (BGW) contribution to this year’s 16 Days of Activism campaign – a musical production bringing together six difference experiences of gender-based violence. Co-directed by BGW’s founder Maluseu Doris Tulifau, their Program Manager Yvette Alaalatoa Griffiths and Samoa Performing Arts and Creative Excellence’s Director Valentino Maliko, the production explores the role silence plays in hiding, protecting and allowing domestic violence to continue.  

Performed for young people aged 14 to 25, the musical invited its audience to reflect on the ways they uphold violence and what causes them to lose their voice when confronted with instances of domestic violence. They left the audience with a message of hope – that change is possible and very much in our hands to make a reality.   

As the co-directors shared, “To our youth, this is for you. It may not have started with us. But it ends with us.”  

The cast and crew of Hush, all wearing black t-shirts with the musical's title on them', are posing together on stage.

Credit: Brown Girl Woke

Credit: Brown Girl Woke

Solomon Islands

Family Support Centre started their 16 Days campaign by distributing brochures about their services, domestic violence and child abuse more generally alongside information about legal services available at the FOPA Village.  

A banner at Family Support Centre's 16 Days event that reads, "16 Days of Activism Campaign 2023. Theme: Unite! Prevent all forms of violence against women and children for safe homes and a happy Games."

Credit: Family Support Centre

Credit: Family Support Centre

A table covered in brochures about violence against women and girls.

Credit: Family Support Centre

Credit: Family Support Centre

A group of people at Family Support Centre's table surrounded by banners and pamphlets.

Credit: Family Support Centre

Credit: Family Support Centre

At the Gizo branch of their offices in the Western Province, FSC have been busy raising awareness of gender-based violence, running advocacy programs and working collaboratively with stakeholder and partners to advance the goals of the 16 Days campaign. This started with a vigil held on November 22nd at the Saeragi United Church followed by the official launch of the campaign the following day with the Saeragi community. Led by the Western Council Province Council on Women, the event was attended by FSC and other SafeNet members as they carried out various activities to raise awareness of violence against women and girls in the community.  

FSC staff also conducted three separate community awareness sessions in Babanga, Niumanda and Paelonge alongside the police, the public solicitor’s office, mental health services, the Western Province SafeNet Coordinator and fellow IWDA partner People with Disabilities Solomon Islands. Topics covered in the sessions include the Western Province SafeNet referral pathway, domestic violence, child protection, child abuse and laws that protect women and children against violence in the Western Province.  

In addition to this, they also took part in two radio programs at Gizo SIBC radio Hapi Lagoon’s station to talk about domestic violence and child protection.  

To wrap up the campaign, the Gizo Branch Office distributed over 200 brochures about gender-based violence to the public in and around Gizo town, reaching hundreds with their message of ending violence against women and girls.  

A group of people in orange t-shirts standing behind a banner that reads, "Stop the violence against women and children."

Credit: Family Support Centre

Credit: Family Support Centre

A group of men and woman posing together for the camera.

Credit: Family Support Centre

Credit: Family Support Centre

A Family Support Centre staff member talking to a group of men as she hands out pamphlets about gender-based violence to them.

Credit: Family Support Centre

Credit: Family Support Centre

A Family Support Centre staff member talking to a group of men as she hands out pamphlets about gender-based violence to them.

Credit: Family Support Centre

Credit: Family Support Centre

A crowd wearing orange t-shirts march through the streets of Gizo Town.

Credit: Family Support Centre

Credit: Family Support Centre

A group of people are sitting on the ground as they listen to a speaker.

Credit: Family Support Centre

Credit: Family Support Centre

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A group of people in orange t-shirts standing behind a banner that reads, "Stop the violence against women and children."

Credit: Family Support Centre

Credit: Family Support Centre

A group of men and woman posing together for the camera.

Credit: Family Support Centre

Credit: Family Support Centre

A Family Support Centre staff member talking to a group of men as she hands out pamphlets about gender-based violence to them.

Credit: Family Support Centre

Credit: Family Support Centre

A Family Support Centre staff member talking to a group of men as she hands out pamphlets about gender-based violence to them.

Credit: Family Support Centre

Credit: Family Support Centre

A crowd wearing orange t-shirts march through the streets of Gizo Town.

Credit: Family Support Centre

Credit: Family Support Centre