The Fijian Government’s Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community campaign has paid dividends in that it has addressed the issue of violence against women and children through a multi-dimensional approach between the government, non-government organisation and the communities.

The campaign initially launched in 2009 at Koroipita Rota Home in Lautoka, is coordinated by the ministry of Women in partnership with ministries of provincial development, health, education, agriculture, the Fiji Police Force and non-government organisations.

Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation minister Dr Jiko Luveni said the campaign has met its objective which is to empower and educate the communities in taking action to stop violence in their communities.

“In the process the communities setup the gatekeepers committee to monitor and respond to violence against women and children. Gate Keeper’s committee is made up of village leaders, chief/elders including the women and youth leaders, community policing. This committee is the eyes and ears of this campaign, they are fully trained to respond to all cases of violence and abused in their respective villages,” Dr Luveni said.

“Their role is to ensure that planned programs in the communities are undertaken within specified timeframe, it also plays an active role in advocating and implementing the phases of the campaign. A gatekeeper is chosen by the committee and provides regular feedbacks to the community stakeholders alike. The success of this campaign is in the hands of the gatekeeping committee.”

So far total of 63 gatekeepers committees have been established as a result of the communities commitment and declaration to this campaign.

There are 10 major phases carried out during the implementation of the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign and these are: Initial planning process, identification of stakeholders, stakeholders meeting, establishment of gatekeepers committee, community consultation, official commitment, stakeholders training on gender based violence, community training on gender based violence, economic and social empowerment program and finally the declaration of the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community.