Friday June 17, 2011
FWRM ELF’s 2011 to Graduate!
Fifteen young women will today graduate after participating in an intense year-long Emerging Leaders’ Forum (ELF) organised by the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM).
According to FWRM Executive Director Virisila Buadromo, it is always heartening to see a “new lot of young women graduating and joining the ever-growing ELF Alumni”.
The fifth year of ELF, which falls under FWRM’s Young Women and Leadership Programme, kick started in November last year with the young women undergoing training on human rights, feminism, trade, sexual reproductive health rights, media, mental health, environment and violence against women – all from a women’s human rights perspective.
All the graduates-to-be come from a diverse cultural and social-economic background and are very “excited” to graduate:
“The whole programme has been very educational. I especially enjoyed the sessions on Women and Trade,” said Jasmine Kaur.
“I am very excited but a bit sad as well because all our sessions are coming to an end,” added Betty Bharka.
“I am excited and sad at the same time because I really bonded with my fellow ELFs’ and I won’t see them as often anymore. But I am really looking forward to joining the ELF Alumni and coming up with new activities to do,” said Sarah Vamarasi, adding that the sessions on violence against women and the different gender roles were a really an eye-opener.
Aside from information sessions and training, the ELFs’ also formulated and implemented advocacy plans on the theme Women and Sustainable Livelihoods and scripted and video recorded three short films on Gender and Climate Justice, which will showcased at the graduation.
The keynote speaker for tonight’s event is UNWOMEN’s Elizabeth Cox.
Background on ELF
The Emerging Leader Forum (ELF) is a component of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement’s Young Women in Leadership Programme.
It is a year-long activity for young women between the ages of 18-25 years from a variety of backgrounds. The main objectives of ELF, which started in 2004, is to introduce emerging leaders to issues facing young women in Fiji and worldwide and to allow for in-depth discussion so that various important topics and current affairs may be better understood.
Participants are introduced to issues surrounding leadership, business, the environment, the media, reproductive health, human rights, tourism, poverty, the law, HIV/AIDS, culture and religion, their impact on women, and the role of women in each area.
ELF 2011 is the fifth successful year of ELF, with 15 young women in the current programme with the total of 64 now members of ELF alumni.
FWRM recruits their yearly intake of potential applicants for the ELF programme by advertising in local print media towards the end of the year.
Each year, the ELF's contribute to the compilation of an Information Education and Communication (IEC) material. The objective of these IEC’s 'by young women for young women' is to empower young women by providing them with examples of role models while also being a useful resource.
In previous year’s the ELF’s produced the following IEC’s:
- Headstrong (2004) a project by ELF 1 featuring profiles of the various people whom the participants viewed as their role models based on their strengths and characteristics. It is aimed at inspiring readers based on the strengths of individuals highlighted in the booklet.
- Dauvosa (2005) a project by ELF 2 which is a journal for young women also containing information on various topics covered during the ELF programme which included women and the law, the economy and globalisation, sexual violence and the environment.
- Be the Change (2006) a project by ELF 1 and 2, a documentary on young women leaders ‘being the change’ in their communities.
- Mai Life magazine articles (2007) by ELF 3. Instead of producing a publication/documentary, ELF 3 wrote monthly articles throughout the year on issues such as self esteem, sexual violence and the difference between gender and sex.
- Unveiled (2009) a journal by ELF 4 for young women featuring artwork by various Pacific female artists. The journal also included information related to women’s health - Sexually Transmitted Infections, myths about women’s bodies and women’s sexual and reproductive health.
- Speak up for Gender and Climate Justice! (2011) - the participants of ELF 5 scripted and recorded a series of 1-2 minute films about Gender and Climate Justice. These films features the Green Girls - a group of young environment enthusiasts between the ages of 10-12 (also part of FWRM’s YWLP) – and aims to inform, educate and communicate to audiences the importance of climate change and environment from a gender perspective.