December 4th, 2015
PRESS RELEASE: Emerging Young Leaders Join A Thriving Alumni
It was a night to remember for 21 diverse young women leaders as they graduated from the Emerging Leaders Forum (ELF) 2015 programme last night at Tanoa Plaza in Suva. Four of the graduates are also attending the Fiji Youth Parliament currently underway, along with FWRM’s Research Officer Menka Goundan.
The ELF is a year-long leadership program that targets diverse Fijian young women aged between 18-25 years. The program is designed to develop advocacy skills, critical thinking and to motivate young women to speak on issues that affect them, utilizing a feminist and human rights-based perspective.
ELF 6 graduate Chandra Nair Fisi’iahi was empowered through the many opportunities made available to her, to grow within the women’s movement.
“Not knowing anyone was kind of scary at first but when we all started to introduce ourselves in a circle, that’s when the journey began. We all had this one word in common and that was FEMINIST – we all believed in equal rights for everyone.”
Present at the graduation ceremony was Chief Guest, Hon. Roko Tupou Takeiwai Senirewa Draunidalo, who joined the participant’s families and friends in celebrating a successful year of capacity-building workshops and trainings.
Hon. Tupou encouraged the graduates to use their learnings and privileges to advocate for a better society, a better Fiji for themselves and their families.
“Have the courage for your convictions, nothing comes for free, certainly not freedom, speak respectfully but boldly and let others know you are willing to pay the price for your beliefs,” said Hon. Draunidalo.
This year marked the 6th cohort of young women that graduated from the programme, since its inception in 2003. Several thought-provoking performances on various issues were also shared with the audience, highlighting the young women’s unique experiences.
FWRM’s Executive Director Tara Chetty says, “From observing this evening’s performances, it is clear that the graduates of the ELF 6 programme were enriched in a myriad of ways after being immersed in lessons on Feminism, Good Governance, Human Rights, as well as Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights amongst other issues.”
“As a feminist NGO, we are delighted to witness another major achievement for one of our activities during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, especially after the recent launch of our GIRLS Digital Storytelling project. We intend to continue strengthening the curriculum of our Young Women in Leadership programmes to train more young women leaders.”
The ELF 6 graduates are now part of a vibrant Alumni network who continue to advocate for Women’s Human Rights in regional and international spaces, and will use the knowledge gained to further impact their communities.
For further clarification or interviews, please contact FWRM’s Communications Officer Genevieve Sukhdeo on (679) 8677330.