Jean Jano, Program Manager

Eastern Highlands Family Voice

My name is Jean Jen Jano, and I am from Fayantina LLG in the Eastern Highlands Province. I am a member of the senior management team at EHFV, and I am dedicated to the elimination of all forms of violence perpetrated against women and girls. I manage the activities for EHFV’s gender empowerment, women’s economic empowerment, child protection, and justice and rehabilitation programmes.

In 2012, I received an Australia Awards scholarship. I earned a Diploma in Leaders and Management (DiLM) which increased my ability to advocate for the issues I hold dear. It provided me with the knowledge and tools needed to face the daily challenges of working on the frontline and empowered me as a female leader.

I help to promote awareness of violence against women and girls and other cultural and gender-related issues. Communities need more information on the laws and policies in place. Everyone must accept their responsibility to act against gender-based violence (GBV) and seek justice for women and children who are victims. While legislation and conventions exist, the real issue is implementation and enforcement.  To change the status quo,  we need coordinated approaches by all service providers and stakeholders, standardised referral pathways for victims, more support and resources, and sensitisation for all GBV and family and sexual violence (FSV)  service providers.

Studying for my DiLM opened my mind, allowing me to clearly see that without an effort from people at all levels from the family unit to the national government, these issues will continue to cripple our country.

As a local NGO,  we only touch the tip of the iceberg. In an average week, an EHFV counsellor will see 30 clients helping people work through issues such as desertion, neglect, adultery, domestic violence, child abuse, and FSV. Through our community engagement activities, we can reach up to 400 people a month or as many as 800 people if it is a public event. Our school programmes engage 500-600 students addressing issues like child abuse, bullying, corporal punishment, peer pressure, and teenage pregnancy.

Although we are small, we have seen positive impacts. Men from rural communities are standing up to condemn violence perpetrated against women and girls in their community. They formed MAGE – Male Advocates for Gender Equality. Also, two communities gave their land for the establishment of a rural Meri Seif Haus in the  Lufa District and a resource centre for people with disabilities in the Unggai Bena District.

We are all born with the same human rights regardless of our differences. Men and women are equal—both must contribute to creating balance in the household, workplace, and society. The family is the foundation of our culture and country. If families respect, trust each other and live in harmony it will be reflected in the community, ward, LLG, district, province and nation. Children raised in families sensitive to GBV and FSV will become pillars of our society. They will speak out and stand up for what is right and just.