Friday March 11, 2011
A 'Green' International Women's Day
People walking near the Umaria Park and the Fiji Development Bank foreshore on Tuesday March 8th at 4pm would have been forgiven for thinking that a ‘green wave’ was rushing toward them.
This ‘green wave’ was made up of around a 150 committed volunteers, wearing lime green t-shirts, who were rushing off to plant a 100 trees to commemorate the 100th year of International Women’s Day (IWD)!
The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM), with support from the British High Commission, organised this ‘green’ event.
According to FWRM Executive Director Virisila Buadromo, the response from the public to volunteer was overwhelming.
"We had initially planned to invite only 100 women volunteers to plant the trees but there was such a positive response from the men that they were included as well,” she said.
One the highlights of the event were the presence of the FWRM’s Green Girls. These 19 environment enthusiasts, between the ages of 10-12, had initially started the project by assisting in the set up of the nursery which housed the 100 seedlings as well as helped nurture them for a month before the planting on IWD.
In her keynote address, the Acting British High Commissioner Ms Jan Banks expressed the excitement of the Commission to be associated with this project.
"Through ogranisations like FWRM, here in the Pacific we are addressing the issues that affect us. We have made progress but there is a lot that still needs to be done. To achieve more we have to act,” she said.
She further added that “gender analysis is of crucial importance to better understanding the impacts of climate change on human communities. In developing countries, it is the women who fetch and carry water, sometimes over great distances, in order to meet the needs of their village communities. Women must be included in the planning and decision making process concerning climate change.”
Immediately after the formalities at the UN Park, volunteers, along with FWRM staff, were sent to two designated planting sites – Umaria Park along Queen Elizabeth Drive and the Fiji Development Bank foreshore. All the 100 trees were planted at these sites.
It was extremely heartening to see that amongst the volunteers, were also representatives from private, public and non-governmental organisations, banding together for gender and enviromental justice.
These groups included the British High Commission, Connect Fiji Ltd., Catholic Women’s League, Fiji Elections Office, Fiji Environmental Law Association, Housing Authority, Live & Learn and Vodafone Fiji.
Interest groups such as the Econesian Society, FWRM’s Emerging Leaders Forum, Hibiscus Charity Champs and Ship of the World Youth also lent their support.