The 16 Days of Activism was kick started with commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Wednesday 25th November with a Government Primary School (GPS) Chant Competition, Fe’auhi Fakakaekae, at the Digicel Square in the centre of Nuku’alofa.
Five primary schools participated in the competition: GPS Fatai, GPS Popua, GPS Lapaha, GPS ‘Atele and GPS Nuku’alofa.
Their songs and chants were composed on the themes Mo’ui ke Fiefia – Live a Happy Life and Ke ta’ofi ‘a e fakamamahi ‘i ha feitu’u pe – Stop violence anywhere.
This has become an annual event since 2012 aimed at involving children so that they will learn not to use any form of violence against others.
The Guest of honour, Police Commissioner Steven Caldwell gave the keynote address. He thanked the parents, teachers and children for making the day a success. “Our children are our future, so as parents and teachers we should set good examples for them to follow. I am really inspired by the effort that you have made and it is important that they learn to live a life that is free of violence at home, in school or anywhere else” he stated. He also commended the work of WCCC.
According to the WCCC Staff Team Leader, Mrs Lesila Lokotui To’ia, “the composition of the chants were interesting and very straight forward, the teachers and the students really brought across the message. We create awareness among children at a very young age that we should Live a Happy Life and Stop Violence anywhere. I do hope that they will never become offenders or perpetrators of violence in the future.”
The chants and songs were directed to be within 3 to 5 minutes each and could be in either Tongan or English. The group was required to include a mix of girls and boys.
The winners of the Singing and Chanting were;
- First Prize TOP$2,000: Lapaha Primary School
- Second Prize TOP$1,000: Nuku’alofa Primary School
- Third Prize: TOP$500: ‘Atele Primary School
The same schools gained the same placing for the special prizes: best composition, best costume and the happiest, united, cooperative school. The best teacher award went to Mr. ‘Ioane Falekaono of GPS Lapaha.
The Chant Competition was funded by the Pacific Prevention of Domestic Violence Program (PPDVP) and UN Women Pacific Regional Ending Violence Against Women Facility Fund.