The high prevalence of gender-based violence is a growing concern in the Solomon Islands, with about 64 percent of women ages 15 – 49 who have been in a relationship reporting that they have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence (World Health Organization, 2011). Many community organizations have struggled with how to address this problem.
In November 2010, World Vision introduced Channels of Hope-Gender to churches in the Solomon Islands. Awareness workshops were followed by training church leaders as facilitators and equipping them with knowledge and skills to effectively implement Channels of Hope-Gender within their own churches and communities. These workshops help participants rediscover that both male and female are created in God’s image, that they are equal and interdependent, and therefore should live in harmony.The impact that Channels of Hope-Gender is having in the community caught the attention of the local police force. Police leadership worked with World Vision to integrate Channels of Hope-Gender into police training to strengthen their community violence prevention, improve their ability to address gender-based violence, and partner with churches for a collective response to this issue.
A Channels of Hope-Gender facilitators workshop was recently held that included police officers, church leaders, and World Vision staff becoming certified facilitators. Going forward, Channels of Hope-Gender has been adopted as a regular part of police officer training, both for personal transformation and to equip officers to challenge gender prejudice in the communities they serve. Police officers also will strategically engage with local church leaders so they can work together, jointly facilitating workshops. This partnership will promote education on gender and the care
and rehabilitation of both victims and offenders in these communities.
Channels of Hope is one of World Vision’s most effective approaches to partnering with local churches and faith-based organizations to change deeply held cultural beliefs, such as those about gender roles. This biblically based program promotes gender equality through understanding and applying Scripture responsibly to address underlying beliefs about the role and value of women.
This is our second of three stories we are sharing this week of transformation as a result of the Channels of Hope-Gender program.