United States Announces Women's Peace Building Initiative

For Immediate Release

Friday, May 16, 2014

U.S. Ambassador Walter North officially launched the Women’s Peace Building Initiatives Project in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARB) today. He was joined by officials from the Government of the ARB, representatives from civil society and from the international community.

Through this two-year, $1.5 million U.S. project, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will work through Counterpart International to strengthen the capacity of women’s civil society organizations to drive change.

In his remarks, U.S. Ambassador Walter North said, “The women of Bougainville are effective peacemakers, community leaders, and champions of civil and human rights. We stand with them in their determination to move forward.”

Several women-led civil society organizations are leading the ARB into a more prosperous and secure future. Women leaders are steering recovery efforts and influencing policies such as the National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security. The United States will be empowering women to become even more effective agents of change through a series of grants to local organizations. Those grants will target expanding quality counseling for victims of violence and translating aspects of the National Action Plan into tangible improvements in living conditions.

The priority goal of the United States in Melanesia is to support more inclusive, sustainable, and transparent economic growth. The Women’s Peace Building Initiatives Project is part of the U.S. Embassy’s broader engagement to empower women to play a more active role in the country’s development. Through its interagency Women’s Empowerment Working Group, the U.S. Embassy is implementing innovative ways to advance the status of women.

USAID assistance in the Pacific Islands region supports programs that help communities adapt to the negative impacts of global climate change and environmental degradation; assist the government and civil society of Papua New Guinea (PNG) expand HIV prevention, care and treatment models; strengthen women, peace and security in PNG; support elections in Fiji; and provide disaster mitigation, relief and reconstruction in Federal States of Micronesia and Republic of Marshall Islands. For more information about USAID programs in the Pacific Islands, visit http://www.usaid.gov/pacific-islands.