In 2002, after wide consultations with young women and civil society the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) formulated its Young Women in Leadership Programme (YWLP).
The program was targeted at developing and enhancing young women’s leadership and capacity to create positive change in their communities. Since then, FWRM has worked with young women and girls in Fiji aged between 10 to 25 years and Pacific women’s organisations in the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Tonga to strengthen their capacity and confidence to be active citizens in their communities and to become future civil and political leaders.
There are currently three components of the YWLP which include the Emerging Leaders Forum (ELF) – a year-long training program for 18-25 year old women in Fiji. The training consists of workshops and retreats aimed at developing young women’s ability to critically analyze issues and develop advocacy skills. The ELF graduates are made up of a cross-section of young women in Fiji including, young professionals, university students, single mums, young women living with disabilities, gay women, trans-women and young women living in informal settlements.
The second component is working with young girls aged 10 to 14 years old. This year FWRM linked the celebration of International Women’s Day to an event that targeted girls between the ages of 10-12 years. FWRM has used innovative means to engage girls of this age group – with activities such as Picture This, Day Camps and using art as a form of activism. These activities have been very successful and have served two purposes; one to celebrate International Women’s Day and also pilot activities that can begin to engage young girls in human rights education.
The third component has been the sharing of experiences and knowledge regionally, where FWRM has collaborated with national and regional Pacific organisations to develop young feminist leadership. FWRM has conducted a young women’s leadership training with Kup Women for Peace (PNG), YWCA Solomon Islands and Tonga Women’s Action for Change. These trainings have resulted in leadership programmes in Tonga and the Solomon Islands. FWRM has also worked with two regional ogranisations to facilitate feminist advocacy and legal theory and practice trainings for young Pacific women.