Skip to main content

35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

Local to Global Processes

The engagement of FWRM in local to global processes and spaces promoting women’s human rights and gender equality is a key area of the work of the organisation. These spaces often discuss challenges and barriers impacting women and tackle  issues that ensure the participation of women in decision making spaces and full recognition of women’s rights.

FWRM continues to engage strategically in local to global processes and spaces reiterate commitments made by Governments towards the realisation of women’s human rights.

Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

CSW is a unique and important space for women, as it presents us with an opportunity to share our work and learnings with other activists, feminists, policy makers and other stakeholders from around the world. 

FWRM has been participating in the CSW sessions every year both representing the organisation and also as a member of the We Rise Coalition.

Some notable achievements for CSW include an invite to FWRM Executive Director Nalini Singh in September 2021 to join over 20 experts from around the world to write papers and attend the Expert Group Meetings (EGMs) which would lead to the organisation of the CSW 66 held in March, 2022. She submitted a paper titled ‘Women’s Resilience to Disasters and Climate Change’ which was the basis of her contribution to the EGM which was held  in October 2021. FWRM  co-organised preparatory sessions for the Pacific delegations and CSOs as well as co-organised and joining a number of side events. CSW 66 was reported to be the largest global gathering of women’s rights defenders and activists and this year the session was undertaken in hybrid modality due to the travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2023, recognised as experts in the area of gender and women's human rights, Nalini was also invited as a member of the government delegation that attended the CSW 67. 

 The CSW is a highly anticipated event and also an opportunity to build networks with women's rights and human rights groups from around the world.

Prior to the CSW sessions, are also spaces that build up to the main event such as the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development, which our team has also attended over the years with other civil society organisations and governments from across the Asia Pacific region; a great opportunity for FWRM to build and foster relationships and networks from the Pacific to influence processes at a regional level. 

Fiji CEDAW Monitoring and Implementation

The Fiji government ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1995. Since ratification FWRM has been the NGO secretariat of the compilation of the shadow report on the implementation of CEDAW in Fiji.

FWRM (CEDAW NGO Coalition Secretariat) together with the CEDAW NGO/ CSO Working Group spearheaded the compilation and the presentation of two consecutive parallel reports, the first was presented to the UN CEDAW Committee in February 2002 and the second was presented to the UN CEDAW Committee in July 2010 in New York. The CEDAW NGO/ CSO Working Group consists of: Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC), Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), femLINK Pacific and Citizens' Constitutional Forum (CCF).

In 2017, the NGO Coalition on CEDAW’s Parallel Report (2017) provided input from the group's research and programmatic efforts for consideration by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in consideration of Fiji’s Fifth Periodic Report, which was submitted on June 2016. 

In 2022, for the first time ever, members of the CEDAW Commitee - Natasha Stott Despoja and Bandana Rana visited the Pacific was hosted in Suva at the University of the South Pacific at a Talanoa session organised by the  Fiji Women's Crisis Centre, FWRM, femLINKpacific, DIVA for Equality FIJI, Rainbow Pride Foundation 4 LGBTQ Rights and Equality in Fiji, Shifting the Power Coalition in partnership with USP.
 
The session included discussions on the work of the CEDAW Committee, learn about CEDAW and how we use it for our work.
         
 
The monitoring and implementation of CEDAW has also been part of FWRM’s core work since its ratification.

Feminists Peoples for Vaccine Campaign

FWRM is the only organisation from the Pacific that joined the Feminists Peoples For Vaccines campaign in 2020. The campaign, facilitated by Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) and Third World Network (TWN) began as a response to the inequities and inaccesibility of COVID-19 vaccines in third world countries. FWRM recognises the importance of working towards holding pharmaceutical companies accountable to international human rights systems that protect the rights of all peoples to access medicine, a fundamental component of the right to health. FWRM helps to raise awareness on the lack of equitable access to vaccines and to help attain the right to the highest standard of health. FWRM is a member of the Working Group and attends online meetings where experiences are shared and strategies on inclusion and moving forward with the campaign.

With the aim of engaging more feminist, human rights and civil society groups from the region in hopes of spreading the campaign, FWRM undertook research into the pressing issues surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines in Pacific island countries. Afterwards, a meeting was organised by our team with representatives of national and regional organisations to discuss further.

In May 2023, FWRM held a webinar which informed these Pacific networks of the campaign and why they should be a part of it. The webinar was convened by local and regional networks.

       

FWRM continues to participate in the online campaign and other plans of including Pacific networks are in process.

Gender Transformative Institutional Capacity Development - ICD

Relationships are at the center of any successful capacity strengthening effort and offering opportunities to work and collaborate with local stakeholders that hold a background in Gender which can result in long lasting results and change. The Gender Transformative Institutional Capacity Development (ICD) Initiative facilitated by Fiji’s Ministry of Women was officially launched in January, 2021. FWRM is a technical partner for the ICD Initiative which has been significant in building partnerships and enhancing capacities through gender responsive planning and budgeting across all of government.

“It’s encouraging to note that efforts on promoting a gender-responsive approach are happening at the national level. Not only will this enable ministries and other government agencies to do gender programming and budgeting but they will be able to transform the way they approach their work to improve the lives of all in Fiji,” FWRM Executive Director, Nalini Singh on the launch of ICD.

The initiative has been able to create opportunities in strengthening partnerships between MWC, the Ministry of Economy and the pilot ministries. Also, FWRM as a local organisation going on to build relationships with the government/ministries and being able to provide support in our area of expertise with the support of the New Zealand Government.

The formation of Gender Mainstreaming Action Groups (GMAGs) across the nine pilot ministries and agencies, the formation of Gender Mainstreaming Facilitators Team (GMFT) and the development of the Terms of Reference (TOR) is a fundamental component of the relationships built as part of phase 1 of the initiative. The GMAGs are chaired by the Permanent Secretary including senior civil servants and are guided by a TOR which includes roles and responsibilities. The GMFT play a critical role in supporting GMAGs’ gender mainstreaming efforts; providing capacity development and technical support in gender transformative programming and ensuring effective gender responsive budget submissions and subsequent implementation. One of the crucial aspects of the initiative for the organisation besides partnership and relationship building has been imparting support to the MWCPA and MoE GMFTs. This is implemented through the development of toolkits, orientations, launches and training through various methodologies. Some of the methodologies used are providing training through coaching and mentoring sessions, booster sessions, intensive learning sessions, preparatory sessions and mock sessions to the lead facilitators team of the initiative. FWRM as technical assistance is then able to improve capacities through practical coaching, mentorship, process strengthening, and confidence building.