SUVA, Fiji - Amelia Tungi is Chief Statistician for the Social Statistics Division of the Fiji Bureau of Statistics. She is one of 21 participants who recently completed "kNOwVAWdata", a Spotlight Initiative-supported course on measuring violence against women and girls*. On the final day of the course, she reflected on what she's learnt and how it can contribute to improving the quality of data in Fiji - specifically, her team's role in ending violence against women and girls. 

“The National Bureau of Statistics has a vital role to play in ending violence against women and girls," she says. "Thanks to this course, I can better frame my role and the work of the Bureau in the broader national gender equality strategy."

“The National Bureau of Statistics has a vital role to play in ending violence against women and girls... I can better frame my role and the work of the Bureau in the broader national gender equality strategy."- Chief Statistician Amelia Tungi. 

She says the training broadened her knowledge of gender-based violence and the factors she needs to consider when collecting prevalence data. Detailed data allows the Bureau to monitor trends, identify gaps in violence prevention and service delivery, but also map out areas that require policy interventions.

This marks the beginning of long-term change in gender-based data collection, management and analysis ahead of the next national census.

“After this workshop, I will be able to streamline the guidelines and protocols of the survey, and as a result, collect high-quality, reliable data for policymakers and civil society organizations,” said Ms. Tungi.

“In policy-making, if there is quality data, policymakers will be able to develop good policies that will begin to solve these issues. Without quality data, service providers won’t be able to identify where their service is needed the most.”

In the lead-up to the 2027 census, Ms Tungi aims to work with senior management in her organization to develop training modules that cover gender issues and to provide appropriate training to census enumerators (those employed to collect the census data). 

“Our key responsibility is to provide data... We have to ensure that the work is done thoroughly, especially with our enumerators. We have to make certain they collect quality and thorough responses. Hence why our work is pivotal in fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030," said Ms. Tungi.

“After this workshop, I will be able to streamline the guidelines and protocols of the survey and collect high-quality, reliable data for policymakers and civil society organizations” - Ms. Tungi

The course was also important for gender-based violence responders, who work in frontline services collecting data.

Fiji Police Constable Naina Ragigia learned about the need for good qualitative data, which she produces in police reports and by documenting the anecdotes of violence survivors. 

As part of her job, Ms. Ragigia often deals with survivors of domestic violence and women and girls experiencing abuse. Police officers, women's crisis centres, health services and the judiciary all work together to support survivors and collect data. Ms. Ragigia said she gained a better overview of the various stages of gender-based violence response, and the types of support that survivors may need from multiple agencies.

“I have come to realize that data plays an influential role in implementing change," she said. "Thanks to this course, I will be able to better collect and interpret it." 

For example, she hopes to analyze the stories of survivors in more depth and get a better understanding of the context in which violence takes place.

“Oftentimes, we are in the same room with [survivors] and while hearing survivors recount their experience, we have a preconceived mindset about their experience and fail to listen to the rest of their story,” Ms. Ragigia said.

“I have come to realize that data plays an influential role in implementing change. Thanks to this course, I will be able to better collect and interpret it."  - Fiji Police Constable Naina Ragigia

Ms. Ragigia says she will encourage colleagues to participate in future workshops so that law enforcement can better serve survivors. 

“Being the first police officer to be part of this training, I intend to spread this information... I am hoping this will create a ripple effect and that our leaders will see the benefit this brings in improving our service delivery and understanding of gender-based violence,” she concluded. 

By Cristina Comunian

*To address the lack of reliable data on violence against women, the University of Melbourne—in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)—developed the kNOwVAWdata Course on the Measurement of Violence against Women. In the Pacific, and with the support of the Spotlight Initiative, the course trains professionals who are currently or plan to be involved in carrying out surveys on violence against women. It is geared toward government representatives from national statistical offices and other state institutions, researchers, academics, students and civil society practitioners.

The Spotlight Initiative is a global initiative of the United Nations which has received generous support from the European Union. Its aim is to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.