27 August 2012
Labasa, Fiji Islands
Our decision making structures in our community need to ensure 50% representation of women, otherwise we will still not be heard, said Sarita who had woken at 4am to prepare her family before she travelled 23 kilometres to Labasa Town where FemLINKPACIFIC’s multi-media campaign "Not Just Sweet Talk" got underway today.
She is one the 25 women and youth leaders representing seven community groups with a total membership of 190 who reaffirmed that UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security provides an important framework for gender equality in all aspects of peacebuilding, especially in regards to conflict prevention and resolution.
The participants are from the Association of Anglican Women, Bulileka Women’s Group, Naleba Multiracial Women’s Forum, Naqai Women’s Group, Naboutini Women and Youth Group, Tawake Women’s Group and Vunicuicui Multiracial Women’s Forum.
Ahead of the first community radio simulcast on Mai TV from 10am to 1pm on Wednesday 29 August the participants also learnt about the political history of Fiji and the background to Fiji’s Constitution process as well as the key components of a Constitution utilising training material developed by the Fiji Women’s Forum:
“As a young woman I feel that when we are talking about participation of women, we also need to ensure that the representation of young women is also taken into account,” says Lucile Chute a member of FemLINKPACIFIC’S Generation Next Community Media Team.
“I am pleased to join this multiracial meeting of women,” said Vikatore Nabola of Naboutini Women and Youth Group who travelled 100 kilometres to participate in the consultation, ”Because our village cannot always have access to the radio, I am hearing a lot of new information about the constitution making process today, which I will share with our club.”
"The Not Just Sweet Talk" campaign builds on FemLINKPACIFIC’s community videos and radio broadcasts in 2001 and 2006 and provides a media platform for rural women leaders to address a range of priorities they would like to be accounted for in the work of the Constitution Commission as well as the long term process of democratization," says FemLINKPacific Executive Director, Sharon Bhagwan Rolls.
Ongoing local level network meetings will also be increased to enable more women to document their recommendations for the Constitution making process:
“These meetings are important because it helps us become more aware of how to participate in the Constitution process and also plan and prepare our submissions” said Litea of the Association of Anglican Women, “because we want to have 50-50 representation of women.”
“It is important to connect the local level structures to the national process,” said Nirmala Sharma of the Vunicuicui Multiracial Women’s Forum.
Since 2007 FemLINKPacific's rural community media network meetings, consultations and community radio broadcasts have provided a participatory and interactive process to link rural women's networks with initiatives such as the Fiji Women’s Forum and other women’s rights groups to also provide relevant support to enable rural women to engage proactively in process of democratization, including Constitution submissions.
The activity is part of the Fiji activities of the Regional Women’s Media and Policy Network on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and undertaken with additional support from USAID and the American Bar Association (ABA) - Rule of Law Initiative as well as the European Union, UNDP – Strengthening Capacities for Peace and Development Project, the Generation Next project supported by the International Women’s Development Agency and in collaboration with the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement.
Sharon Bhagwan-Rolls, Executive Director: FemLINKPacific (www.femlinkpacific.org.fj), M +6799244871