Saturday, 7 March 2015


Sunday Chronicle 8 March 2015

Women and girls don't live as isolated beings. They live as part of families and communities. To educate girls in a way that does not fit them for their society or in a way that does not respect their dignity and rights in their own cultural context is a disservice to them.

As Minister, I used to say to some of our development partners, will you stop teaching rights in an individualistic western framework? Work on the issue on how we can address rights based issues within a communal society.

Sometimes you just set up young women for impossible situations when they are told about all their rights when the community hasn't been sensitized to this type of thinking. Sometimes it can be very stark in a society going through rapid change and even result in tragedy such as suicide.

So we need to manage the way in which we help towards achieving this agency and voice for women. It is an issue to do with the whole community and family.

Comment: AIDS Holistics has always promoted the rights and responsibilities of men, women, boys and girls within families and communities. We have always been opposed by foreign advisors who wanted to talk only of rights of women and girls together with violence of men..

We would tell foreign advisors that there is no use in telling women they have rights without telling the men too. Both have responsibilities. Many modern women now want to go out boozing, gambling and ignoring family. Then the trouble starts.

We applaud the words of Dame Carol above. There are no winners or losers. We all win if men and women come to respect and support one another.

Foreign advisors wanted the Melanesian family to be dismantled so that women and girls could be individuals in the western mode.

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