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UNFPA Project Improves Family Life In Fiji
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UNFPA Project Improves Family Life In Fiji

Fiji has historically been a very patriarchal place, one where women are often the victims of domestic assault and abuse. So where better to start changing attitudes than in perhaps the most macho of Fiji's institutions, its military?

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Segment 1

VOICEOVER
Peace now prevails at the Rauvi's dining table. In the past, Sergeant Joni Rauvi often treated his family as if they were army recruits. This led to great friction at home. Now, after attending a training course, things have changed drastically, says Joni's wife, Frances Rauvi.
FRANCES RAUVI
When he came back from the training, I can say that he is very ... right on top. Spiritually, physically, psychologically, in our financial life, he is really upgrading.
VOICEOVER
A member of the Fijian Army, Joni participated in "Men as Partners," a project created by UNFPA, the UN Population Fund. Supported by the government of New Zealand, the project aims to teach men to have greater appreciation, acceptance, and support for their female partners' needs, choices, and rights. UNFPA's Luke Mataiciwa explains.
LUKE MATAICIWA
Promoting men's participation in reproductive health: This is very relevant to the Pacific where we have a patriarchal society where man is the decision maker.
VOICEOVER
Domestic violence is the most common form of assault in Fiji, a South Pacific nation. Many women spend their lives afraid that the man they should be able to trust will bash them. Supported by UNIFEM, the UN Fund for Women, the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre helps females who face domestic abuse and violence. Centre's Coordinator, Shamima Ali.
SHAMIMA ALI
We did a national survey in domestic violence a few years back, and released the results two years ago. And it's showing that 68 percent of the women said that they have been beaten within their lifetime, and that is a very high number.
VOICEOVER
The project targeted soldiers of the Fiji military forces. Training was done through workshops, seminars, and meetings. Men in uniform are at increased risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections, and being involved in gender and reproductive rights violations. The project is helping make the military service a force for social change. Lieutenant Colonel Jackson Evans.
JACKSON EVANS
We thought that we knew certain things but this program is revealing to us certain things that we never knew. I think that it will only make us better.
VOICEOVER
Warrant Officer, Sisa Tuicoro.
SISA TUICORO
After that training I changed my attitude altogether.
VOICEOVER
And Sergeant Mesu Ratumaiyale.
MESU RATUMAIYALE
It taught me who I was, what I was. It taught what I wanted my dad to teach me, and that is my manhood.
VOICEOVER
The project is also targeting rugby players, miners, dockworkers, and the police force. Changing attitudes, behavior, and creating awareness in men helps better communication, improves gender equality, and leads to a healthier family life. This report was prepared by Chaim Litewski for the United Nations.