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15 Young Women Graduate From FWRM Leadership Programme

Chief guest and former Fiji Women's Rights Movement (FWRM) Young Women's Programme Officer Anna Cowley with Emerging Leaders Forum (ELF) 7 graduates in Suva.

Fifteen members of the seventh (7) cohort of the Emerging Leaders Forum Programme (ELF), a flagship young women’s leadership training programme run by the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM), graduated last night in Suva.

The young women graduates had undergone a series of workshops facilitated by FWRM that piloted the newly developed Young Women in Leadership toolkit, which is significant to the Movement as it was produced by a graduate of the programme. ELF 7 is supported by the Australian Government through the Fiji Women’s Fund.

“Young women in Fiji face various layers of discrimination and violence, often lacking support and platforms to raise their voices and unique perspectives due to their age and gender. The ELF programme since its inception in 2003, provides the space and tools for these young women to share and address their issues and equips them with leadership and advocacy skills,” FWRM Executive Director, Nalini Singh said.

A total of 12 modules covering different thematic areas from the toolkit were implemented between September 2020 and February 2021.

In this time, graduates were given the opportunity to engage with and better understand the first-hand experiences of a number of renowned feminists and women’s rights activists in Fiji.

“I have gained so much knowledge from the ELF programme. My biggest learnings is that I am not too young to question issues that affect me as a young woman and that I have the potential to be a leader and bring positive change to my family and community. A personal impact of the programme is that I have found the confidence to speak out and challenge the daily patriarchal ideologies of my own community,” graduate, Taraivini Naitini said.

Ms Singh said FWRM was proud of the flagship program that has over the years, produced over 90 young women graduates equipped with the capacity to continue feminist based advocacy in various spaces here at home in Fiji and abroad.

The ELF programme is designed for young women between the ages of 18-25 years with an intergenerational approach to highlight the realities faced by young women. The programme aims to develop their abilities to critically analyse socio-political-economic issues issues and advocacy skills with a feminist and gender lens.

FWRM is currently finalising plans for the next ELF cohort which is recruiting young women from the western division and those mainly residing in rural and informal settlements.

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