The time has come for men, women, boys and girls in Solomon Islands to stand together as equals, Side by Side.
That is the message of a new long-term advocacy campaign that aims to change the beliefs and attitudes of Solomon Islands youth towards gender equality and ending violence against women and girls.
Side by Side is more than just a campaign, it’s a movement of young people working together to make change happen.
Over the next few years, the campaign will use social media, print, radio, as well as creative and engaging live events to mobilise youth to support equality between men and women and take a stand against violence against women and girls in the home.
This campaign comes at a critical time for Solomon Islands, which has one of the highest rates of violence against women anywhere in the world.
A recent survey conducted by Save the Children and the Burnet Instiute found that most young people still believe that men have the right to be more powerful than women, and that violence against women is acceptible. For example:
· 72% of young people aged 15-24 believe that women should tolerate violence in order to keep their family together.
· 84% of young people believe a woman should obey her husband in all things.
· 85% of young people agreed that a man using violence against his wife is a private matter that shouldn’t be discussed with others.
“So far, the response by young people towards the campaign as been incredible” says Kiri Dicker, Gender Justice Technical Advisor for Oxfam in Solomon Islands.
“Young people have been telling us that they have been waiting for a campaign like this to come along” she said.
Opportunities to volunteer for the campaign will be advertised on the Facebook page in the coming months.
Some of Solomon Islands most well known musicians, including Rosie Delmah, Jethro, Jahboy, Sean Rii, Jaro and Bibao have come on board to show their support for the campaign, which will be launched over the next three days with a free community roadshow.
The idea behind the roadshow is to take the campaign messages right into the hard of urban communities combined with some great entainment.
The dates and times for the roadshow are:
· Monday 27th November – Laundry Valley, White River – 3pm start
· Tuesday 28th November – Green Valley – 3pm start
· Wednesday 29th November – Lungga (under the Raintree) 11am start
During the events, Rosie Delmah, Jethro and Jahboy will be performing the official song of the Side by Side Campaign, ‘Make a Change’.
These are free, family friendly events and strictly no alcohol is allowed.
The Side by Side Campaign, initiated by Oxfam and implemented with the support of a number of partners, including Seif Ples, Family Support Centre, Empower Pacific, People with Disabilities Solomon Islands, PAOA FM, Vois Blong Mere and Island Sun Newspaper.
There are a number of exciting events planned for 2018, including the launch of the campaign in a second Provincial location in early 2018.
To find out more, follow the campaign on Facebook and Instagram by searching @sidebysidemovement. Enquiries can be directed to Kiri Dicker at Oxfam on 22004.