UNDP and PNGCA complete a counselling training for safe house staff serving GBV and SARV survivors

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Papua New Guinea Counsellors' Association (PNGCA) have successfully completed a ten-day counselling training for staff and volunteers of safe houses that support survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) and sorcery accusation related violence (SARV).

March 14, 2024

The training was held under UNDP's 'Strongpla Meri, Strongpla Nesen' project funded by the United States

Juho Valta | UNDP Papua New Guinea

The training, which took place in Port Moresby on 4-15 March 2024 was held under UNDP’s ‘Strongpla Meri, Strongpla Nesen’ project, which is generously funded by the United States through its Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

A total of 30 frontline staff and volunteers of safe houses operating in Morobe Province and National Capital District underwent the training, which equipped them with the foundational skills for providing safe and impactful psychosocial support services for survivors of GBV and SARV. The participants learned about values guiding the work of responsible counsellors, the principles of establishing a safe space for survivors, and harmful practices that remain common among safe houses in Papua New Guinea that provide counselling services without formal training.

“I’ve never had any training in counselling before, and I’ve worked in this space for over fifteen years. The training makes me think about all the support I have given in the past and how I can support people better in future,” stated one of the participants at the training.

During one of the training sessions, the participants were also visited by the Ambassador of the United States to Papua New Guinea, H.E. Ann Marie Yastishock, and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Nicholas Booth. 

The training equipped the participants with the foundational skills of providing safe psychosocial support services

Juho Valta | UNDP Papua New Guinea

“Gender-based violence is one of the biggest challenges facing Papua New Guinea, which is why it is imperative that sufficient funding is allocated to ensure that survivors have access to quality counselling services. I am deeply proud of this partnership we have with local safe houses and the United States Government, and I hope we will continue our joint efforts to empower the country’s women and girls far into the future,” said Mr. Nicholas Booth, Resident Representative, UNDP Papua New Guinea.

“I commend each and everyone of you here for taking on the responsibility of protecting women and children in your communities. As you continue your courageous work, please also make sure that you take care of yourselves, because without looking after your own welfare, you will not be able to excel in your efforts to help others,” said Ambassador Yastishock in her remarks.

The Ambassador of the United States, H.E. Ann Marie Yastishock (right), and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Nicholas Booth (middle), attended the training to encourage the trainees

In Papua New Guinea, safe house services and access to counselling support are two key pillars of the GBV referral pathway for supporting survivors of violence. Increasing capacity among safe house staff and volunteers is key to ensuring that survivors of GBV and SARV receive high quality, informed support.

For more information, please contact:

Juho Valta
Communications Analyst