Participants from the training



What an enriching week this has been for the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement as we concluded the Regional Feminist Learning Convening today at the Pearl Resort in Pacific Harbour.

With the support of the Australian Government through the We Rise Coalition, FWRM successfully trained 14 amazing feminists, activists, human rights defenders, community trainers, legal practitioners and counsellors from <<how many >> Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS), who play a key role in promoting gender equality and human rights. The week-long regional training which began on Monday, 05 June 2023, is a key activity for the We Rise Coalition.

The participants for the workshop were from the Fiji Women’s Crisis Center, Mending Minds Foundation Fiji, femLINKpacific, Sista Vanuatu, Brown Girl Woke Samoa, Tuvalu Women in Change Association (Fatu Lei), Solomon Islands Women in Media and Communication, Planned Parenthood Association Solomon Islands and the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement. We are thrilled to have had diverse participants from across the Pacific Island region.

“FWRM’s ethos centers on the belief that any policy and legislative change on key women’s rights issues in the Pacific region must be led and advocated by the women’s rights groups, organizations, feminists, human rights defenders and activists, and in doing that means strengthening the capacities of the women across movements” Executive Director Nalini Singh said.

The regional workshop was designed into two parts. The first part of the workshop covered gender sensitisation and gender analysis tools designed to strengthen awareness, knowledge and technical skills on gender transformative concept and application of technical tools including gender analysis, gender responsive planning and budgeting. Additionally, the workshop covered national budget processes across the 6 countries where participants were from. They learnt about their national budget processes and had an opportunity to draft and present a mock budget submission.

Part two of the regional workshop focused on ending violence against women in the world of work, which has been a key area of work for FWRM for over three decades. Participants were trained in understanding on the nature and impact of sexual harassment on Pacific women, the social construction of gender, law and monitoring frameworks, and the attitudinal barriers that discriminate against women.

“The 5-day training sessions were educational, informative, thought-provoking and engaging. Through discussions/personal narratives and case studies … the FWRM trainers familiarized our team with the Standards of Conduct on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and our obligations to uphold these standards, what we can do to prevent Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and how to report such abuses. We are readily committed to continue our journey of advocating for PSEAH in the Pacific. Dhanyavaad team FWRM”, said Mending Minds Foundation Fiji.

“The week-long Training of Trainers was an eye-opener for me. I’ve learned so much in these five days. The different gender lens and understanding of the gender analysis of national budget gave me fresh perspective on wanting to know more of our government’s national budget process and how I can be able to help in the process. The session on Sexual Harassment in the workplace gave me a more deeper understanding on Sexual harassment and the different categories as well as the different types of SH and how to recognize them as well as their reporting process. The session on TrackGBV Dashboard was a great resource tool. It shows the data on the issues of sexual harassment in each of the countries in the Pacific and the data on the legal processes – it gives me the push I need when creating sexual harassment policy and how I can be able to somehow help in a way with the legal process of it to be transparent and accountable. All in all, it was a very educational and informative 5 days. This training will help me as a journalist to stay on top of issues and report on them accordingly and so do justice to the victims of sexual harassment”, Pricilla Ragu from Solomon Islands Women in Media and Communications said.

Erin Thomas who is a Director and Change Facilitator at the International Center for Advocates Against Discrimination (ICAAD) was also part of the training and facilitated sessions on the TrackGBV dashboard and creating a sexual harassment zero-draft policy. ICAAD has been a key partner for FWRM for several years now and helped develop the training toolkit in 2017, with partner law firm Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips with both input and support from FWRM.

“It’s been so inspiring to see the impact the train-the-trainers workshop has had in Fiji with the proliferation of workplaces policies around the country. We are thrilled to collaborate in bringing this work to the region and ensure advocates are supported to help make sure workplaces are safe for women and girls across the Pacific.” Ms. Thomas said.

Strengthening the capacities of women across movements has never become so critical in our Pacific Island region. We are constantly at crossroads with interconnected and emerging crises such as the ever-increasing rate of violence against women and girls, economic disparities, climate crisis and shrinking spaces for our voices to be heard. The rise of extreme religious fundamentalism, patriarchy and conservatism has reared its ugly head where we are now, in the region, facing even deep, complex and growing inequalities. Although we are confronted with these challenges and more, we must continue to insist, persist, resist, and exist. We must always make the genuine effort to build stronger and resilient movements.

FWRM sincerely thanks the support of the Australian government through the We Rise Coalition, ICAAD and our sisters from the region for making the week-long Regional Feminist Learning Convening an enriching and fulfilling one.