At Grass Skirt Project, we firmly believe that sport holds the power to eradicate gender-based violence. It transcends barriers, serving as a universal language that drives profound social change.
Co-founded by former PNG & Australian tri-international athlete Tahina Booth and esteemed research scientist Dr. Sofia Bartlett, our organization embodies a vision where gender-inclusive sports programs seamlessly merge with ground-breaking research initiatives. This synergy fuels our mission to foster gender equity, combat family and sexual violence, and nurture resilient communities. The unwavering dedication of Tahina and Sofia serves as a powerful testament to the collective strength of women empowering women, catalyzing extraordinary achievements and shaping a brighter future for all.
In Papua New Guinea (PNG), violence and sexual abuse against women and girls reach alarming levels, ranking among the highest globally. Gender inequality and the normalization of violence remain deeply entrenched, with devastating consequences. Human Rights Watch reports that a woman is beaten every 30 seconds in PNG, and over 1.5 million people endure gender-based violence annually. Shockingly, 75% of children experience violence within their homes, perpetuating this cycle.
With limited public services and resources, civil society organizations like ours play a critical role in addressing this pressing issue. By utilizing sport as a platform to address taboo subjects like sexual violence, we unlock numerous benefits. Sport breaks the silence, empowers individuals, challenges societal norms, and builds vital support networks. It offers a safe and relatable space for dialogue, fostering understanding and promoting respect and equality. Through sports-based initiatives, we create inclusive communities, raise awareness, empower survivors, and encourage bystander intervention. Together, through the transformative power of sport, we can reshape narratives, dismantle barriers, and pave the way for a future free from gender-based violence.
Our programs at Grass Skirt Project encompass the Hevea Cup & Wellness Expo, Gymbox, and 10 Million Strong Leadership Program (Pilot). The Hevea Cup focuses on improving health and social outcomes by promoting sports participation and educating communities about major health issues. Gymbox emphasizes physical and mental well-being, fostering leadership skills, and empowering individuals to create positive change. The 10 Million Strong Leadership Program nurtures open communication, problem-solving, decision-making, and emotional intelligence, while reinforcing good behaviour and providing opportunities for youth development. Together, these programs aim to combat gender-based violence, promote gender equity, address health issues, and build resilient and inclusive communities.