Pohnpei celebrates International Women’s Day in a week of activities from March 3rd to 14th, 2020

IMG 4880Pohnpei Women Council, Social Affairs Division and many others in Pohnpei celebrated International Women’s Day from March 3 to 14, 2020 bringing together many leaders, men, women and children in participation to such events at different locations and dates, raising more awareness on the issues at hand and critical to our society.  This year’s global theme is “I am Generation Equality; Realizing Women’s Rights.”

Pohnpei Women Council is the umbrella organization to 30 different women’s group in Pohnpei, inclusive of the outer islands with more than 2,000 members of these various women’s groups. 

On March 3rd and 4th, Pohnpei Women Council partnering with different Government Departments and NGO partners held a three day open workshop at the Governor’s Conference Room ending on March 5th at the Pohnpei Hospital Conference Room.  On the first day, March 3rd The Honorable Reed B Oliver, Governor of Pohnpei State, welcomed and congratulated all women in attendance and went on to say that perhaps, such event, workshop to educate the women should be done or held more often than just once a year.  He went on to say that he was happy to see women taking part in the development of Pohnpei state coinciding with his Administrations theme, Enginkehlap. IMG 5093

Pohnpei Women Interest Coordinator lead another session immediately after the Governors’ address and presented on progress of women in Pohnpei and updates from each women’s groups.  On Wednesday, presentations were from various government offices and the FSM National Judiciary on Incorporation and chartering of NGO’s, Access to Justice & Enabling Rights for Unrepresented Litigants, Customs & Revenue Tax and Natural Resources Office.  On the last day, March 5th all the women who participated in the workshop wore black, to commemorate Black Thursday.  Black Thursday is a campaign, first created by the World Council of Churches to stand up to Gender Based Violence.  Black being the color of resilience, it also represents the stand for Peace and Unity.  The Department of Health, Primary Health Care spend the first part of day presenting on Non-Communicable Diseases, Leprosy, Tuberculosis, Sexually Transmitted Diseases/HIV and more on other health matters/issues.  The IStop program and impact of climate change were introduced by the Conservation Society of Pohnpei.  To end the workshop, the participants were fortunate to have members from the Pohnpei delegation on the 4th FSM Constitutional Convention share updates from the ConCon. 

IMG 5100On Friday, March 6th Lien Alem (Women from United Church of Christ, Pohnpei) hosted a candle-lighting and prayer ceremony in observation of World Day of Prayer at the Nohno en Mwomwohdiso, UCCP Kolonia, bringing together over 300 women from all over Pohnpei together. 

March 7th on Saturday, the Pohnpei Women Council gathered for their annual landscaping and beautification at the Pohnpei State Hospital.  This activity included cleanup, planting of flowers and plants outside the hospital premises.  On the next day, March 8th Pohnpei Women Council again visited the patients at the Pohnpei State Hospital and Genesis Clinic with prayers and small monetary donations to the patients as they have repeatedly done so in the last years.  They later visited the Pohnpei jail where food were also donated to the inmates. 

On Monday, March 9th 2020 the Pohnpei Women Council and its member organizations celebrated International Women’s Day with mass at Our Lady of Mercy church in the morning followed by the main program at the Kolonia/China Friendship Center.  There were over 2,000 participants and spectators.  Special guests and dignistaries included the Iso Nahniken of Wein Nett, The Honorable Salvador Iriarte, Pohnpei State Governor, The Honorable Reed B Oliver and First Lady Estel, Honorable Peteriko Jacob, Mayor and First Lady of Kolonia Town, Traditional Women: Lehpmoar IMG 5020Madolenihmw, Nahnep Madolenihmw, Nahnep Kitti.  PWC Vice President Maria Donre accepted everyone in a welcoming remarks followed by Keynote Address by PWC officer Emeliana Musrasrik-Carl. In Mrs Carl’s remarks, she highlighted the IWD theme:  “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights,” stating  “(w)e join the rest of the world in celebrating International Women’s Day.  We have spent a whole week addressing some of the pressing issues that we face as women: health, violence, economy, environment and human rights, in recognizing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.” “Despite the global challenges, there are some positive changes in the FSM.  Reports show an increase in number of girls graduating from school and women’s representation across the board.  However, we need to work harder to create a country that does not discriminate against women” says Carl. 

Iso Nahnken of Nett, the Honorable Salvador Iriarte gave an inspirational speech, stressing the importance of women in our culture and society.  “It is important that we understand the different roles and responsibilities that women play in offices, at home, in the communities and our traditional and cultural obligations,” stated Iso Nahnken Iriarte. 

Pohnpei Department of Education contributed to International Women’s day by hosting an essay contest with this year’s theme amongst 12th grade students from all High Schools in Pohnpei.  All three winning essays (from 1st to 3rd place winners) recited their essays for the guests and crowd.  The following winners of this year’s essay contest are, Bethlyann Lebehn of Pohnpei Island Central School High in 1st place.  GraceLynn Pangelinan from Seventh-Day Adventist High School came in second place and coming in at third place is Lorenzo Rafael from Nanpei Memorial High School. 

PWC President, Ms Susanna Sohs in her closing remarks, reiterated the importance of Unity.  “IWD events continue to improve every year and we are proud of that.  This year marks another history for Pohnpei Women where we celebrate our accomplishments altogether.” Following the speeches and recitals of the essays, the program proceeded with dances, displays of various handicrafts and local foods, etc., from 16 women’s groups that participated in this year’s IWD events. 

Ending the many activities of International Women’s Day, the Australian Embassy hosted a Saturday brunch on March 14 2020 in honor of IWD and invited many recognized/accomplished women from Pohnpei.  The event took place at the Ocean View Restaurant.  Among the many women in attendance were Likend U, Honorable Antonia Moses, Chief Justice of U Municipal Court, Honorable Herolyn S Movick, Pohnpei State Senator, Associate Judge Erwine H Nanpei, Councilwoman Yuko Nakasone and many others.  Also invited to this event were the winning essay contest students who recited their essays earlier at the International Women’s Day on March 9th and their mothers.  The winner had the opportunity to IMG 4951recite her essay again and received a valuable prize from the American Embassy, Kolonia.  The International Organization for Migration presented prizes for the 2nd place winner as well.      Pohnpei Women Council and women from all over Pohnpei would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to all who gave their time and support through presentations, facilitation and sponsorship:  Mwoalen Wahu en Pohnpei, Likend Pah U, Iso Nahnken of Wein Nett, the FSM National Government, Department of Health & Social Affairs, FSM Supreme Court, The Honorable Reed B Oliver, Governor of Pohnpei State, Mayor Peteriko Jacob of Kolonia Town Government, Pohnpei State Department of Health & Social Services, Pohnpei Department of Education, the Pohnpei Delegation to the 4th FSM ConCon, FSM Development Bank, UCCP, Vicariate of Pohnpei/Kosrae, the Pacific Resources for Education & Learning, Kaselehlie Press, V6AH and all other media present on various activities, Australian Embassy, American Embassy, Kolonia, all the women and families who came out to help the women of Pohnpei observe and celebrate International Women’s Day activities.    

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