Movement building in the Pacific feminist space through the We Rise Coalition will have a wider reach with the inclusion of four regional non-governmental organisations that signed a partnership agreement this week.
Brown Girl Woke, SISTA, Voice for Change, and Talitha Project are now part of a larger coordinated effort where they can access support and resources to strengthen each other’s work to impact change in their communities.
The four NGOs from Samoa, Vanuatu, PNG and Tonga increase the number of coalition partners from three to seven achieving a key objective of phase three of the coalition’s program that focusses on movement building.
“We train a lot of university students to return to the rural areas and talk about sexual abuse, domestic violence, taboo issues, using music and arts. What We Rise Coalition does for the organization is, finally I have someone to email or talk to, or help me so that I don’t feel confused and inferior,” said Brown Girl Woke founder Doris Tulifau.
Founding members; the International Women Development Agency (IWDA) and Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) were joined by femLINKpacific a year after the coalition was established in 2011. Together the three organisations welcomed the four partner organizations in December last year.
“What’s really important for us is the mentorship, the solidarity and being able to advocate together because sometimes we touch on issues that are quite sensitive in Vanuatu. We feel that by having this coalition we’ll be able to know how to move strategically from all the lessons learnt from what everyone has done,” said Yasmine Bjornum who started Sista to help women and girls understand their rights through the use of arts, media and communication.
Talitha Project founder and director Vanessa Heleta said they are excited to be part of the coalition as “it’s important to be part of something powerful, that’s also about solidarity.”
The Coalition considers movement building an essential part of the fight for women’s human rights, gender equality and justice.
“Joining the coalition has helped Voice for Change to continue. We were not able to get any money to support our work after we finished from IWDA last year. Through this coalition, we were able to open our doors and continue to rescue our women and we are continuing to mediate in conflict,” said Lilly Be’Soer who is the director of Voice for Change, an organization based in Jiwaka Province PNG.
We Rise Coalition is founded on a shared sense of purpose that a strong partnership will enable effective collaboration and impactful work with the Pacific feminist movement.
As grant holder, the IWDA is also a coalition and movement ally.
IWDA CEO Bettina Baldeschi said the coalition is an extraordinary example of feminist organizing and feminist activism.
“We sought to have diverse organisations, intersectional feminists, and intergenerational leadership reflected in this partnership. And with all our journeys through our different programs and coalitions, this has been a step by step process, which has given us a lot of opportunities to learn from and grow.”
“Leaving no one behind, as per the SDGs, is at the heart of the Coalition, through this intersectional process. There is real focus and vision to ensure that all voices are heard and the voices of diverse women are at the center of the Coalition.”
We Rise Coalition is supported by the Australian Government.