Tkakl Mekreos is the SPC Country Focal Officer for Pacific Women Lead based in Palau. He works closely with the Palauan Government and communities in Palau to assist with their gender equality initiatives in-country.
“I come from a community where women are traditionally viewed as the care givers while the men go out to find work [and make decisions for the family and society.”
“I want that to change; I want everyone to be viewed as equal.”
Realising how women are limited to solely performing a caregiving role in society is what drew Tkakl Mekreos to gender work because he wants to change this narrative.
“I want women to be able to venture out and explore their full potential instead of just being traditionally valued in terms of their work in the home only.”
“Enabling [women in our society] to make decisions is very helpful. We are a matrilineal society so we’re different in that sense from most of the world,” Tkakl said.
For Tkakl, having women in decision making spaces helps provide for a more equal, safe and prosperous society where both women and men are able to thrive.
“I value having women in our society, having women in our leadership positions, and having their perspectives heard in our decision-making, which is necessary so we have both perspectives of women and men and] that can balance our society and make it more equal,” he said.
In his role, Tkakl supports the Palauan Government and relevant ministries to meet national, regional and international gender equality commitments through the provision of advisory services, technical assistance, networking, coordination, and capacity-building with a focus on implementing Pacific Women Lead.
“I let SPC know of the initiatives taking place in Palau, and how they could connect to SPC projects or other support such as grants or collaborations.”
“Separately, I also work on awareness raising with people in Palau, to let them know about SPC supported services and other services to help and connect people.”
Tkakl is also working to help raise awareness for women in Palau on the services available to help eliminate all forms of violence against women.
“This is also a big part of why I chose to do this work I want to help the women in Palau be able to access the services they need to help eliminate all forms of violence.”
One of Tkakl’s major achievements to date has been the work involved in helping to develop the National Women’s Forum in Palau for International Women’s Day (IWD) held annually on 8 March.
“We have developed IWD [from a small activity] to a National Forum that is well established as a platform that all women look forward to engaging in,” he said.
“We also have established a strong voice in the women’s community when it’s time to discuss issues or women empowerment I think that is the biggest achievement.”
He is also encouraging young Palauan’s to work and be a part of the gender equality space.
“For me I would advise the Palauan youngsters to join the gender equality movement because I have seen first-hand what women are capable of.”
“If we continue to support them and involve them in our decision-making spaces our societies will thrive.”
One of the largest global commitments to gender equality, Pacific Women Lead aims to promote women’s leadership, realise women’s rights, and increase the effectiveness of regional gender equality efforts.
Pacific Women Lead is at the centre of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) work for gender equality. As the key implement partner, SPC has more than AUD55 million dedicated to its work under the five year, AUD170 million Pacific Women Lead regional programme supported by Australia.
The lead role of SPC in PWL signals the importance of Pacific priorities and Pacific leadership in driving gender equality in the region. Through PWL, SPC provides technical, convening and funding support to government ministries, civil society and other partners while also serving as Secretariat to the independent PWL Governance Board. Within SPC, PWL sits within SPC’s Human Rights & Social Development (HRSD) division.
Author: Vilimaina Naqelevuki, Pacific Women Lead