The Pacific Community (SPC) has announced the appointment of Mereseini Rakuita as its ‘Principal Strategic Lead – Pacific Women’.
Rakuita will champion the organisation’s work on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls to bring about the transformational changes required to improve the status of women and girls in the Pacific.
The news is receiving significant support from the region’s women’s movements and from SPC’s partners across the Pacific, since it was announced by SPC’s Director-General Dr Stuart Minchin at SPC’s launch of the Pacific Women Lead programme on 18 March.
Rakuita will commence the high-level role from 04 April. A key part of her role includes working on the Pacific Women Lead programme, located in the SPC’s Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) division and funded by the Australian Government. Australia has committed AUD$170 million (US$127 million) to the five-year programme, through its partnerships with SPC, women’s funds and other development partners. SPC is the key implementing partner within the programme, with more than AUD 56 million dedicated to its work.
Speaking after the announcement, Rakuita expressed her thanks and her vision for the role, “I’m deeply humbled and honoured to be appointed to this role to serve the women, men, girls and boys of this region and to bring about greater gender equality across the region. Success for Pacific Women Lead will take close collaboration and open dialogue with SPC colleagues, member governments, development partners and civil society including faith-based organisations and the private sector. But I am confident that we share the same vision and that working together, we will achieve it. I wish to give specific thanks for the support to my appointment from the women’s movements and civil society partners, including the warm messages from the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, femLINKpacific, and the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement.”
Pacific Women Lead is at the centre of SPC’s regional work for gender equality, serving as secretariat to the Pacific Women Lead Governance Board and providing technical, convening and funding support to government ministries, civil society and other partners. The programme will apply an approach which is Pacific-owned, Pacific-led and relevant to Pacific cultures and contexts, and underpinned by positive expressions of Pacific cultural values.
As the key implementing partner in Pacific Women Lead, SPC has the opportunity to deepen its own expertise in the area of gender equality and enable the regional technical organisation to be more gender equitable in all its work.