Lonsdale and Wereti are couples and members of the Community Hope and Action Team (CHAT) in Marau. They have three biological children and one adopted child.
Community Hope and Action Teams (CHAT) is a committee consisting of key community and faith leaders set up by the Channels of Hope program. Their role is to support the community to identify triggers of violence and develop local solutions and approaches to reduce gender-based violence.
In the community, alcohol is one of the main contributing factors to gender-based violence. Couples argue and fight in front of their children and often result in physical damage to homes and each other. Children easily pick up the same habits as they grow to adulthood.
As CHAT members, Lonsdale and Wereti’s role involves sharing CCOH messages and teachings to other couples and families. “We usually remind parents to teach their children not to involve in activities such as alcohol and substance abuse, loitering in community properties and spreading bad influence to smaller children,” shared Wereti.
Although there are existing challenges to reach out to families on a regular basis, Lonsdale and Wereti say they have seen some behavioural changes from households. “Since mid-2019, there have not been any signs of domestic violence in our community,” says Lonsdale. “We believe although people are silent, they are also listening and experiencing the benefits of sorting out issues without violence,” he added.
Lonsdale and Wereti strongly believe that most parents lack a clear understanding of each other. “As for me and my wife, like many others, we also have our share of arguments and fights,” shared the couple. “Through the World Vision Channels of Hope program, we learned to grow together and understand each other much better than before,” says Lonsdale.
Lonsdale and Wereti sometimes share how they would settle their domestic issues with their neighbours. By doing so, they hope to influence other families as well. “Most of the time, we just overreact to minor situations but by controlling ourselves, we can be able to learn and move forward together. This is what our children should be exposed to so when they grow up, they can be able to handle their problems easily in a positive way,” shared the couple as they smiled in agreement.
Supported by the Australian Government, World Vision Solomon Islands currently engages the Channels of Hope project in two provinces: Weather coast of Guadalcanal and Temotu. The World Vision Community Channels of Hope project works alongside churches and community members to develop community-driven solutions towards addressing violence against women, using a Christian faith-based approach.