The UNFPA Project involves itself in regular advocacy activities to increase public awareness on violence against women (VAW). In partnership with national government agencies (NGAs) and local government units (LGUs), advocacy activities are organized to rally the implementation of measures for the prevention and eradication of gender-based violence (GBV). Two of the major platforms for the advocacy activities are the following:
Women’s Month Celebration
The annual Women’s Month Celebration serves as a venue to highlight women’s achievements and discuss continuing and emerging women’s empowerment and gender equality issues and concerns, challenges, and commitments. The celebration focuses on concrete activities that are aligned with national and international instruments and treaties such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Beijing Platform for Action, the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015), the Philippine Plan for Gender-Responsive Development (1995-2025), and the Framework Plan for Women.
All partner NGAs and LGUs implement different advocacy activities following the theme set by PCW. Some of the activities undertaken to celebrate Women's Month include the following:
- Tri-media and community assemblies were also popular channels for advocacy. In 2008, Tawi-Tawi, Masbate, Maguindanao, and SK had radio programs/guestings to promote gender concerns. Particularly for Sultan Kudarat, 3 provinces and 12 municipalities are reached by the broadcast.The LGUs of Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao and Lanao also disseminated IEC materials on gender, some of which are in the local dialect.
- In Eastern Samar, a Provincial Gender Convention was held in 2009 where WPD, GBV, gender-responsive rights and the draft Provincial Reproductive Health Code were discussed. There was also a discussion of women’s rights, gender-responsive laws, and reproductive health attended by barangay officials, daycare workers, barangay health workers (BHWs) and Barangay Children’s Protection Councils. The activity claimed to have heightened the awareness of 481 women, men and children about CEDAW, and gender-responsive laws and services of VAWC Centers. A Gender Sensitivity Training for media practitioners was also conducted and gender champions in the media were created.
- In Legazpi City, a total of 69 women and 7 male youth leaders/Sangguniang Kabataan and women leaders were oriented on existing programs that address VAW highlighting stronger implementation of RAs 9262 and 9208 as part of the culminating activity for Women’s Month 2009. Participants gained knowledge and relevant information they can use in working with their constituents as barangay officials/advocate against VAW. LegaspiCitywas also able to produce flip charts on different laws on women. This would be given to LGUs to be used in their community meetings/trainings.
- In Sulu, women’s fora were conducted in 19 municipalities, where different gender concerns were discussed. They also held a peace rally in collaboration with CSOs, MRLs and partner agencies to promote action against VAW.
- Local LGUs have also formed their advocacy teams which range in composition from the youth, women, men, to a team with multisectoral representatives. Eastern Samar was also able to forge partnership with multisectoral organizations concerned with women’s and children’s rights. The partnership led to the creation of the Provincial Gender Network, composed of men and women from various sectors.
- In Ifugao, a Training of Trainers was conducted for the Active Males Movement Against Violence and for Ayod (AMMA), which was rolled-out to 11 LGUs. An AMMA Manual was also produced. Regular ERPAT meetings were also held to enhance appreciation of male parents of their role in the domestic sphere. Municipal employees in pilot sites were also oriented on gender sensitivity. An interfaith and interagency forum pm RA 9262, RA 7610 and GAD andChildren’s Codes were conducted. Further, a CISD training for VAW survivors in humanitarian conditions was held.
- In the Mountain Province, security guards of the VAW centers were trained on 11 Minutes (about prostitution) and Active Non-Violence (ANV). ANV trainings were also held for solo parents, women, overseas Filipino workersand municipal employees. They also conducted focus group discussions on cultural practices relative to GBVand sexual and reproductive health. The Provincial GAD Code was disseminated to various stakeholders.
The 18-Day Campaign to End VAW
The 18-Day Campaign to End VAW has also been a yearly advocacy campaign spearheaded by the PCW and the national IACVAWC and IACAT councils. This event usually focuses on getting the government to prioritize the provision of VAW services, and getting the public to access these services. The PCW-UNFPA pilot sites also conduct their own advocacy activities during these occasions.
The 18-Day Campaign to End VAW is originally known as the 16-Day of Activism Against Gender Violence. It is an annual event observed by women's groups all over the world that runs from November 25 (International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women) to December 10 (International Human Rights Day). November 25 and December 10 were chosen to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that VAW is a violation of human rights.
In the Philippines, Presidential Proclamation 1172 extended the Campaign to 18 days to include December 12, a historic date that marked the adoption in Palermo, Italy of the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, which is supplemented by the Protocol to Prevent and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children.
In 2009, the 18-Day campaign focused on the awarding of LGUs and members of the judiciary that bested the Search for Outstanding VAW-Responsive LGUs and the Gender Awards II, which were lauched in 2008 18-Day Campaign. Out of the 12 LGU entries, Naga City emerged as the Outstanding VAW-Responsive LGU. For the Gender Justice Awards II, Judge Victoria Isabel Paredes of Caloocan City was awarded as the most gender-sensitive judge. There were also awardees from Cebu City and Davao City, as well as three Associate Justices of the Sandiganbayan.
In 2010, the PCW-UNFPA Project supported several major activities during the 18-Day Campaign that included the kick-off of "Be Fit to Fight VAW: Self-Defense for Women."