You Can Help!

If you would like to participate in a clean-up day or sponsor a clean-up please see our activities schedule. If you would like to contribute through providing clean-up tools please contact us.

CWC & Partners Annual Health Fair
World Diabetes Day - November 14, 2017
“Fefiin me Suke:  Ach Pung faniten Pochokulen Aramas Nesor me Pekino”


In celebration of World Diabetes Day, the Chuuk Women’s Council (CWC) hosted the 9th Annual Diabetes Health Fair.  The event was held on November 14th from 9:00am until 3:00pm at the S. M. Poll Memorial Center.   

CWC staff organized this event and invited Chuuk Public Health Services, the College of Micronesia Cooperative Research & Extension program, and the PACAM Home Gardening Program.

A big tent was set up where free blood screening and weighing (BMI) were available to attendees.  In the conference room tables held displays, informational brochures, flyers, and posters for numerous programs designed to promote healthy lifestyles.

The short opening ceremony allowed CWC President, Kiki Stinnett, to outline the event schedule and thank government agencies and partners for participating.  Reverend Perry Killion and Mr. Paul O’toko shared their personal stories of living with diabetes, impressing upon on everyone that eating local healthy nutritious food, regular exercise, and drinking water are the keys to managing diabetes.  Both credited their wives and families with helping them manage their daily diets and activities.

Over seventy people attended this Diabetes Health Fair and cycled through displays and benefited from what they saw and heard during the day. 

Ms. Jacinta Lippwe presented a refresher on the Diabetes Cancer and Tobacco Education Materials.  Outreach education and prevention packets were distributed to attendees as part of the diabetes month activities.  Those who participated in diabetes screening and counseling received gift incentives including diabetic socks, diabetic health “passports”, home gardening booklets, and various education & prevention materials. 

The USAID/CWC PACAM team participated in the event with Food Safety & Security Expert, Julian Sivas, and Project Coordinator, Mary Rose, promoting the Home Gardening Program and Home Garden Booklet.

PACAM Project Sapuk Community Liaison, Erlip, presented results from the local crops seedling exchange which included, 47 sweet taro, 1 sweet potato, 17 swamp taro, 8 banana, 2 cherry pepper, and 4 Japanese taro seedlings.  Home gardeners brought produce for sale.  Bananas, banana chips, and greens were in great demand. Most participants in the Diabetes Day Fair were excited about the home gardening project and the seedling exchanges activities.

Deep appreciation is expressed to Chuuk State Public Health Services, NCD (Diabetes Team), College of Micronesia CRE program, and other partners that supported the event to promote health and quality of life in Chuuk.

Submitted by:  Kiki Stinnett

Sinei Nonomum me Wisom

Faniten Kinamwen non Family Ekkesiwin

(People for Change:  Character and Responsibilities)

CWC Annual Conference

Session #2

October 12th, 2017

 

Session #2 kicked off in the Truk Stop conference facility at 10:00am with songs of praise followed by an opening prayer from Reverend Steioshy Manuel.  Master of Ceremonies, Ms. Juliana M. Sos, then introduced Mr. Sigmond Silluk, representing the municipality of Weno, who officially opened the two-day conference.

CWC president, Kiki Stinnett, then welcomed conference attendees and expressed sincere appreciation to the Office of Minority Health Resource Center (OMHRC), whose sponsorship made this event possible.

Keynote speaker, Ms. Dionisialyn “Dion” Bernard, Department of Justice, assistant secretary for the Human Trafficking Division presented “Strengthening Capacity, Building Roles within the FSM Government on Human Trafficking, Domestic Violence, and Opportunities in Law Enforcement for Women”.

In 2012 FSM (Federated States of Micronesia) enacted a Human Trafficking law in response to the “blue house” brothel case in Guam.  Assistant secretary Dion congratulated CWC for successfully advocating to increase the age of consent from 13 to 18.  This consent law supported two recent cases, one of which she won.

However, the sad reality remains.  Human trafficking and sexual assault still occur within FSM.  In 2016 human trafficking cases filed in Chuuk involved parents who facilitated the sexual activity of their minor-aged daughters for profit.  Assistant secretary Dion challenged all conference participants to make changes within their own families, villages, and churches by “breaking the silence” on this modern vestige of slavery.  In silence, you are complicit with the perpetrator of any incident of human trafficking or sexual assault.

Conference participants were inspired by Assistant Secretary Dion’s presentation and the approach that she advocates, called “community policing”.   Community policing engages and challenges people to communicate, share information, and report inappropriate activities to the authorities.  This approach further strengthens relationships among members of the community.

Assistant Secretary Dion encouraged women and youth to engage in this community policing effort as well.  She touched on barriers facing women in the workforce and emphasize the importance of stronger representation of women in decision-making processes within the family and community.   She went on to announce open positions within her office and asked all interested individuals to apply.

Assistant secretary Dion encouraged CWC to continue raising awareness of human rights and the impact of these rights within the context of our current cultural climate.  Her presentation defined the key elements of human trafficking as:  act, means, and purpose.

The primary challenges and barriers to effectively combatting human trafficking are: insufficient government support for child protection services, insufficient funding, and insufficient counselling resources for victims.
 
During the interactive portion of assistant secretary Dion’s presentation, several questions focused on identifying specific practices and beliefs within Chuukese culture that enable domestic violence and human trafficking to occur.  Conference participants unanimously agreed that abuse or domestic violence against women and children are utterly inconsistent with our cultural traditions and values. Yet some people continue to use “culture” to excuse or rationalize these repugnant and crimes. 

Age of consent law:  benefits

  • Supports prosecution of human trafficking cases
  • Encourages government to focus on providing the needed Services to support the Protection of the Child and Domestic Violence cases

Age of consent law:  next steps

  • Strengthen the collaboration of both national and state government agencies to improve support services to CSO’s and NGO’s
  • Provide funding for education outreach
  • Seek support from the Department of Justice, A.G.’s Office and Department of Public Safety to assist in enforcement (age of consent / human trafficking)
  • Strengthen partnership among government agencies and stakeholders. Seek support from Chuuk Leadership to assist with investment in policies and women’s and family programs

 Assistant secretary Dion’s presentation was followed by the panel discussion, “Navigating Personal Well-Being & Sexuality: Sexuality & Gender & Reproductive Health”.  Eleanor S. Sos, chief of Chuuk Public Health, facilitated this discussion.  Chief Eleanor expressed deep appreciation to OMHRC (Office of Minority Health Resource Center) and the University of Guam for establishing this curriculum in the Chuukese and Chomorro communities in partnership with CWC and another NGO from Marianas.

This panel discussion was limited to a high-level overview and introduction as each of the ten lessons requires ninety minutes to complete.  CWC conference attendees will be the ones to invite Chief Eleanor and her staff into their local communities to teach the full curriculum.

After the panel discussion Sincera Fritz presented on HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and common women’s health concerns.  The presentation prompted participants to ask several questions regarding sexual health.  The information presented, and subsequent discussion provided the participants with a better understanding of their own sexual health, and the knowledge gained will help them to knowledgeably discuss these topics within their families.

While the women’s plenary was going on in the conference room, the men had their own session in the TV Room.  Reverend Manuel and Mr. Mori-M Mori facilitated the men’s session and addressed some of the curriculum activities.

The afternoon session, facilitated by Jacinta Lippwe and supported by Ms. Chelsea Yleizah and Rev. Manuel, focused on drugs and alcohol as factors contributing to risky behavior. Anger management and suicide prevention were also addressed. The presenters went on to discuss the range of available services catering to mental illness and special needs patients.  Conference participants, some of whom have experienced these issues with family members, utilized the opportunity to interact with the presenters.  Ms. Jacinta stressed that there are new approaches for the service delivery to mental patients and the government encourages family involvement.  

CWC Board member, Ms. Faustina Francis gave the closing remarks by thanking everyone and most especially the presenters and assistant secretary Bernard for her remarks.

Dr. Rita Mori was the keynote speaker for day two of the conference.  The central theme of her presentation was the importance “People for Change: character and responsibilities” (sinei nonomum me wisom) “for peace in the family” (faniten kinamwen non family).

It is important for each of us to know, who we are, understanding our character and responsibilities.  Harmony within the family is the responsibility of both the father and mother.  Only when there is harmony within the family can the community, island, state and nation be at peace.

It is important for the mother to stay healthy because if she is sick, she will not be able to work and care for the children.  The children will not be able to go to school because the husband is too worried trying to get his wife well.  The extended family gets involved trying to help the sick mother off island but is unable to pay the expenses.  The government hospital helped by providing the means to refer the sick mother off island but now the hospital does not have money to purchase medicine for the other patients.

A family that knows and understands the importance of their responsibilities will do whatever is required to care for their own family to stay healthy and enjoy quality of their life.  

Dr. Rita stressed the importance for women to be healthy prior to and during pregnancy. The concept of “Womb to Tomb” means preparing for pregnancy by ensuring that every mother is in the best health possible, and then to maintain good health throughout pregnancy by getting antenatal care to ensure a healthy delivery.  Planning and preparing for pregnancy will minimize complications such as premature delivery, low birth-weight and stillbirths.  Women have the right to choose when and how many children to have.  By doing so, they will have increased their chances to have uncomplicated pregnancies and healthier children.

The FSM Statistics Office show that teenage pregnancy continues to increase.  Chuukese women are the first caretakers of life and of our families.   Are you healthy?  Is your family healthy and happy?  “People for Change”.  “Be a woman for change”.  Remember the remarks made by our Senator Gardenia Aisek, “Woman Can Do”.  Be an instrument for Change…

Chief Eleanor Setik gave the recap and highlighted some of the points from the previous day. Ms. Nite Christoph then closed the morning session with an emotional song, describing the unconditional love a mother has for her child.  That beautiful song touched the hearts of many, unleashing tears throughout the room.

The afternoon session started with a session titled “Impact of the Age of Consent Law”, by Kiki Stinnett.  She shared the history of this law and highlighted some of the hard work leading to passage on September 23, 2014.  CSL 12-14-18 increased the age of consent from 13 years old to 18 years.  This change focused on the responsibility of both parents to their child. The age of consent law now defines a minor as anyone under the age of 18 years.

Kiki also, explained the legal obligation of the parents to ensure the safety of their minor children. It is against the law for a minor to purchase or consume alcohol, cigarettes or betelnut.  Minors can not drop out of school.  Minors are not allowed to fly unaccompanied on airplanes. Minors accused of crimes can not be tried as adults.

Participants (60% adults, 40% minors) were surveyed on the first day of the conference to assess public awareness and knowledge of the age of consent law:

  • Aware of the law?            52% responded YES / 25% responded NO
  • Understand the law?         35% responded YES / 57% responded NO / 8% responded DON'T KNOW
  • Is the law effective?          50% responded YES / 50% responded NO

As a result of increasing the age of consent to 18, more parents are now hesitant to let their underage girls marry.  However, survey results indicate that further outreach is needed to increase compliance with this legislation.

Reverend Manuel addressed participants, thanking CWC leadership for bringing this conference to fruition.  He went on to reaffirm the family as the foundation upon which society is developed.  “Ekichu tipechu angechu” (working together) is a tradition of Micronesian culture promoting vitality, health, harmony, and success at the family, community, state, and national levels.

CWC Board member, Ms. Susan Danis, delivered closing remarks thanking participants and encouraging everyone to reflect upon the discussions of the past two days.  She ended by acknowledging and thanking the Office of Minority Health Resource Center for their continued support and funding the CWC annual conference.  The conference was closed with a prayer.

Program Overview

Young women in Chuuk have few opportunities to learn in a safe environment about the myriad issues that are unique to the female sex.  At home and at school, adults are often silent about sexual health, mental health and gender violence.  The program provides young women with the opportunity to discuss issues unique to the female sex, as well as provide them with the tools and resources to make informed decisions about their futures.  The YWEP program outcome is for young women to be able to make better informed choices about their lives.  There are three main components of the YWEP which are Educational Development, Health and Wellness, and Practical Skill’s Building.

 Program Details

Michelle Budwitz, Senior Public Health Advisor served as YWEP Program Director.  In this capacity, she wrote the course curriculum for the program, administered the grant, and managed the program, in addition to: hiring staff and providing instruction and training to staff and program participants.

                                             

Lucy Mailo served as the program’s sewing instructor and Etista Lover served as the program’s handicraft instructor.  Both instructors are local women who have their own businesses to make and sell clothing and jewelry.

                           

Three instructors (Jayrene Engichy, Roseleen Joseph, and Beverly Attan) were hired to assist in teaching program content, administer the program and mentor students.  All instructors are recent graduates from Caroline College Pastoral Institute and held associate degrees in liberal arts.

 Program Specifics

Two programs were offered:  June 13-17 and June 20-24, 2016 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Twenty-three young women ages 13-20, in grades 8-12 from Weno, Tonawas, Fefen and Parem participated in the week-long programs (30 hours).  The first program was held June 13-17, 2016 and 11 young women participated.  Ages ranged from 14 to 20 years old, and grades 9 to 12, and one recent high school graduate.  Four participants were from Tonawas Island.  The second program was held June 20-24, 2016 and 12 individuals enrolled.  Ages ranged from 13 to 20 years old, and grades 8 to 12.  Three participants came from Sapuk Village from the Northern most end of the island, two from Parem Island and two from Fefen Island.

Five classes were offered on the following topics:  Class 1:  Overview, Women’s Empowerment, Gender/Sex & Goal Setting; Class 2:  Effective Communication, Relationships, Gender Violence & Psychological Wellness; Class 3:  Female and Male Anatomy & Reproductive Health, and Sexually Transmitted & Common Female Infections; Class 4:  Healthy Eating, and Local Crafts & Skirt Making; and Class 5:  Local Crafts & Skirt Making, and Review/Graduation/Party.

Each class was a combination of lecture, discussion, videos, educational and practical exercises, demonstration and game playing.   To increase knowledge retention and demonstrate understanding evaluations and discussion questions were given.  Examples of discussion questions include, “How do you feel about Chuukese gender roles? What would you change and what would you keep the same?”  The participants were required to respond to the prompt in their notebooks.  The questions were reviewed by the instructors to identify gaps in knowledge, or issues that may need to be addressed in subsequent classes.  For students who were struggling with English comprehension and writing, instructors provided translation into Chuukese. 

    

Throughout the program the participants were tested on their knowledge through the use of evaluation instruments.  End of class evaluations were conducted for Classes 1 and 4.  During Classes 2 and 3, baseline surveys were administered to test participant’s pre-existing understanding of gender violence, depression, female and male anatomy, reproductive health and sexually transmitted infections. After class, follow-up surveys were conducted to assess knowledge gained.  The final evaluation administered in Class 5 assessed participants’ overall understanding of course concepts.  All evaluations and follow-up-surveys examined program satisfaction and opportunities for improvements.

 Key Results

The daily evaluation assessed participant satisfaction with the course content.  Several individuals indicated that they enjoyed skirt making the most.  One young woman wrote, “I am really happy to learn how to make my own skirt because it is something that I had always wanted to learn how to do, and now I can do it!”  Some participants indicated that they least liked the topic of Sex, Sexuality and Gender because they felt that they were too young to learn about this information and it made them uncomfortable.  One individual stated, “It is not important to me because I am too young.”  Those who did not like the Sex, Sexuality and Gender module indicated that the topic made them feel sad because gender roles are not something they feel they have control over.  Sixty-seven percent of the participants in Program 2 indicated that they like the Eating Locally module the most.  Several explained that they believe it is important to support the local community through local food purchases, and it is better for their health and the environment.  A participant explained, “I now know what foods to eat and what foods to limit, and this will help make me healthy.”

Participants were asked how they would spread the knowledge they had gained from the program, and empower women in their respective communities.  Some responses include: “I will empower other girls by teaching them how to use condoms so they won’t get sick with an infection or pregnant.”   Another participant wrote: “I want to tell other girls about gender violence, and help them understand what gender violence means and how to stop it.”

All participants successfully completed the practical skill’s building component for the program.  Participants purchased local foods at the market including reef fish, long beans, papaya, watermelon, cooking bananas and coconut oil.  They honed their culinary skills in the CWC kitchen.  The lunch consisted of fried fish, boiled bananas and stir-fried vegetables.

 

Twelve young women chose to learn how to sew, and each were able to make “pilak” styled skirts.  Eleven participants selected jewelry making for their practical skill building and produced eleven bracelets, two anklets, six head-bands and seven necklaces.

   

The program concluded with a small graduation ceremony and party for the participants. Twenty three young women received certificates of completion, eleven in Program 1 and twelve in Program 2. The young women played games such as Empowerment Trivia, Ping Pong Mania and musical chairs, and were provided with cake and ice cream as a final treat. 

   

The program is extremely worthwhile and the young women who participated were very eager to learn, and participants came earlier and earlier each day.  Some wanted to discuss the topics covered from the day before, some chose to watch videos on gender violence, some came to read the course materials and write notes in their books, but many came just to sit with others in a safe, clean and welcoming environment.  For many, it was their first exposure to CWC and they enjoyed being in a place built by women and for women.  The purpose of the program is to provide young women with the knowledge and tools to make better decisions about their own lives, and to help others navigate through life’s often rough waters.  When young women have knowledge and are able to make informed and autonomous decisions -- then they are truly empowered.

 

Ren omw kopwe sinei ach office Cwc Fiin Chuuk a awora pekin aninis ren osukosukun non famini.

Ka tongeni kekeri 330-8397 ika chuto non ach we office nepukos nukun sekurun Bank of Guam.

A tongeni anisuk non ekkei ran mi afat fan.

For your information our Cwc Fiin Chuuk office now has services to help with domestic violence issues in the family.

You can call 330-8397 or you can come to our office in Nepukos, behind Bank of Guam.

The times we are available to assist are below:

Detective Ginger Katzuda
Wed & Fri @ 9:00 am-3:00 pm

 

Monday, June 13, was a very busy day at the CWC Center.   First was the signing of the MOU between Chuuk Public Safety and Chuuk Women’s Council in support of our Family Violence Prevention Program (FVPP).  This MOU will strengthen partnerships and collaboration efforts in order to address our responsibilities to maintain peace within the family and community.   An FVU officer at the CWC Center will give the women of the community opportunities to learn more about the program

.  

The special signing ceremony was witnessed by the Public Safety Family Unit officers and participants of a reading workshop and facilitated by trainer Ms. Aileen Otoko from the Department of Education (DOE). The training was conducted in support of the eight graduating seniors who will be teaching the CWC Summer Math and Reading Program, and the mothers of the participating summer program students. 

On the 2nd floor of the Youth and Family Learning Resource Center was the kick-off of the Young Women Empowerment Program, made possible by a grant from Let Girls Learn Fund.  Experienced trained staff facilitated this program under the supervision of CWC Peace Corps Response Volunteer: Ms. Michelle Budwitz.

Ms. Evelyn Adloph, UN Coordination Specialist and UN Joint Presence Initiative FSM, made her first official visit to our center.  It was a great opportunity for us to discuss our programs and how her office can support our program activities, including the CEDAW awareness efforts.  She was impressed with what she saw and learned while observing our many activities.                                                                          

Throughout the week there were visitors who came to the center and learned about all the exciting summer activities taking place at CWC.  Among these visitors were the JICA Mission Team, lead by Mr. Ishizuka Junji, Special Advisor, Environment Management.  With him we shared our Beautification & Clean Up Chuuk programs.

Ms. Chikako Miwa from the Embassy of Japan in the FSM visited CWC to see the facility’s operations.  She was very pleased to learn about CWC’s plethora of programs and the number of community members utilizing the resources the center has to offer.

Monday, June 20th, was the official opening for the Summer Math and Reading Program. Forty excited students, accompanied by their mothers, came to the 2nd floor of the center to begin classes.  Monday through Wednesday will focus on Math & Reading, Thursday will be Kodomo cooking class for 12 of the selected students, and Friday isreserved for fun activities: music, dancing, arts, crafts, and sports.

             

The first day was an important orientation, in which everyone was introduced and program expectations were explained.   Due to increased demand, we have opened up another enrollment for an afternoon session to start June 27th.  Our summer program will run for six weeks.

With all these activities taking place in the library on the 2nd floor it is clear that we need to air condition this room.  We were fortunate to have received a two hundred dollar ($200.00) donation from a visiting tourist for this purpose.  However, this is insufficient for the purchase of the air conditioning we need for the library.  We are still seeking donations to purchase the needed air condition. 

Thank you and “Kinisou Chapur” to everyone and most especially the parents that have allowed their children to participate in our summer activities.  A special sincere “Kinisou Chapur” to our partners who made our summer activities possible, DOE & Chief. Aileen Otoko and the “Let Girls Learn Fund” and our Honorable Congressman Victor Gouland for funding the summer teachers, the Young Women Empowerment Program and the Kodomo Cooking Class.