“When more men participate in gender-based violence (GBV) counselling, more men will be GBV sensitized and there will be a paradigm shift in men’s worldview on this problem.”
Jerom Kendino is a case manager and counsellor at Lifeline PNG in Port Moresby. The organization has provided a temporary safehouse for thousands of survivors of gender-based violence since 1973.
Jerom joined the organization in 2019 as a monitoring and evaluation officer and completed an Australia Awards Short Course in counselling because the organization was under-staffed. Although he has a degree in social work from the University of Papua New Guinea, dealing with more than 50 cases of GBV each week made him say that counselling is a discipline of its own. “This has ignited me to upskill myself in the field of mental health and counselling,”
He describes his job as a mammoth task, dealing with GBV related cases every day. “It’s very challenging but I work out of love and passion.”
Jerom was one of twenty-four Papua New Guineans selected to study the Graduate Certificate in Counselling (GCC) course through Australia Awards PNG in 2020.
“It was a blessing and a privilege for me to receive this scholarship. I seized it with both hands because I was both honored and humbled by the fact that it finally allayed my curiosity about human problems. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the people and Government of Australia, and if given the chance in the future, I would like to pursue a master’s degree,” he says.
“The course gave me a new perception on counselling in this modern world. Some of the valuable things that I learnt are the ideologies of self-esteem, respect, dignity, uniqueness, discipline, human rights, non-judgment, freedom, peace, mental health, and self-care. These are the core values of the counselling course,” Jerom says.
Jerom was promoted from a monitoring and evaluation officer to a case manager and counsellor after completing the course.
He urges both men and women to practice basic rights and basic social obligation as stipulated in the goals and directive principles of the Constitution of Papua New Guinea. “The notion of respect, love and mutual understanding between men and women is the core to eliminate gender-based violence in this country,” Jerom says.
“My goal for this counselling role is to restore love and peace in the family and society. This will contribute to and spur the overall development of this young democracy. In addition, basic human rights are realized and are practiced throughout every stage of life.
“Law and order are maintained where citizens are mature in upholding the rule of law to ensure that peace is visible and is the lowest common denominator in all walks of life in PNG. When our minds are in a positive and good frame human behavior will surely change for the better, this will then have a positive impact in our individual lives, communities, and the nation as a whole!”