Women taking the lead to develop and critically review future gender equality projects for Fiji

Participants of the Pacific Women and Fiji Women’s Fund Fiji Annual Reflection and Planning Workshop 2019. Photo credit: Pacific Women Support Unit.

Wednesday 27 November 2019 (Suva, Fiji): Almost 80 grant recipients working on Fiji projects to improve gender equality have gathered in Suva, from women mushroom farmers to crisis service providers and Pacific Girl adolescent leaders.

There are more than 30 initiatives in Fiji supported by the Fiji Women’s Fund and the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women) program, such as the Naitasiri Women in Dairy and its expansion into mushroom farming, Fiji Women’s Rights Movement and the Young Feminist Rise Project and the Graduate Women Fiji’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) Summer Camp for Girls.

The two-day Reflection and Planning Workshop was attended by women and men from civil society, government and development partner organisations, who are grant recipients and partners of Pacific Women and the Fiji Women’s Fund.

Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes, explained ‘it is the third consecutive year the workshop has been held to ensure grantees are given the opportunity to share their project’s successes and challenges, to help each other further improve their Fiji initiatives.’

‘This annual reflection event is important as it goes beyond the exchange of knowledge and practical wisdom from real-world experiences, to providing invaluable connections between women grantees,’ Mr Feakes said.

‘The work of grantees focusses on supporting women and girls in leaderships roles, ending gender-based violence and encouraging women’s economic empowerment,’ he said.

Building on previous years, the workshop’s approach recognises the expertise of partners and grantees and the importance of spaces to learn, share and build relationships, networks and capacity. The workshop aims to strengthen partners relationships in formal and informal ways, encourage knowledge sharing and skills exchange.

Director of the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Social Development Programme (Gender, Culture & Youth), Leituala Kuiniselani Toelupe Tago-Elisara, said ‘having the space to discuss and share reflections should be a significant part of our organisations’ approach towards embedding a culture of learning, striving for continuous improvement and documenting lessons and evidence that enables thought leadership across the various areas of our work.’

‘I congratulate the organisers for this annual undertaking to not only generate dialogue on lessons, but to further develop skills, create conversations and strengthen networks for the benefit of organisations and individuals alike,” Ms Toelupe Tago-Elisara said.

In the previous two annual Reflection and Planning Workshops, partners and grantees highly rated the quality of the events especially the strategic discussions, panel sessions and networking.

The workshop was held at the Holiday Inn, Suva, from 26–27 November 2019.