Australian High Commission
Papua New Guinea

151126 MR Equal Playing Field

Australia Supports Equal Playing Field school program in PNG

Australia has provided K4 million to Equal Playing Field PNG to deliver a program that will educate girls and boys in Port Moresby about the importance of respectful relationships between girls and boys, as a way to reduce family and sexual violence.

The support from the Australian Government in partnership with Plan International Australia will deliver a program for boys and girls aged 12 – 14, to help them define healthy, positive and non-violent ways to express themselves to create stronger, safer, and happier communities.

In announcing Australia’s support, Acting High Commissioner HE Ms Bronte Moules said that violence against women is a problem in all countries, cultures and communities that can be tackled through positive changes in attitude and behavior to prevent violence, protect survivors and provide support to overcome violence.

“Over the next three years, this program will equip boys and girls to make informed choices when reporting incidents of violence, and help them access services in PNG, where two in three women have experienced gender violence,” Ms Moules said.

Equal Playing Field (EPF) Country Manager Jacqui Joseph said: “Australia’s support will also enable EPF to join other sister organisations to reduce the level of violence in PNG. We believe this preventative approach can change the current high trend of violence our country is experiencing.

“The program will cover eight primary schools with the aim of reaching at least 1400 students annually. We are hopeful that by 2018, EPF will develop an effective model of working with young people in Papua New Guinean schools to prevent violence against women and children”, Ms. Joseph added.

Equal Playing Field (formerly Rugby League against Violence) was founded in 2011. Since then, EPF has grown and developed into a fully operational not-for-profit organization, registered with the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission (ACNC) in Australia and with the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) in PNG. It has also expanded beyond rugby league to other sports such as netball, to spread anti-violence messages.

Australia is committed to working with PNG in its efforts to end violence against women. Its support includes the establishment of 15 Family and Sexual Violence Units in police stations across PNG which have benefited over 28,000 survivors of violence over the last three years. Australia also works with the PNG police, prosecutors and magistrates to improve legal protections, and support available to survivors of family and sexual violence.