Skip to main content

35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

Published

08 June 2023

Author

Fiji Women's Rights Movement

Themes

3rd GIRLS Forum a space to share girls lived realities in the western division

3rd GIRLS Forum a space to share girls lived realities in the western division

19/05/2023

Girls need to be provided a platform to share their lived experiences, learn about their rights and responsibilities, and advocacy strategies on the issues they face.

This was the sentiment yesterday as the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) Grow.Inspire.Relate.Lead.Succeed – GIRLS Programme successfully concluded the 3rd Girls Forum in the western division with diverse girl leaders from Sigatoka, Nadi and Lautoka.

With the theme “GIRLS Succeed” the forum which began on May 15 at the Tanoa Waterfront Hotel was for the girls-by the girls, and an opportunity for the participants to present the 3rd GIRLS Forum Revolutionary Document – a compilation of the priority issues that the girls had highlighted during the three-day programme. The event was supported by the Australian Government through the Pacific Girl Programme, managed by the Pacific Women Lead at the Pacific Community (PWL at SPC).

At the behest of the girls, the document was presented to duty bearers which included the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation (MWCPA), Lynda Tabuya and representatives of the Child Services Unit (CSU) and Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts (MEHA). Also present were representatives of local partners for the activity from the Medical Services Pacific (MSP), Fiji Red Cross, Fiji Muslim Women’s League, Empower Pacific and proud parents and carers of the girls.

The participants were excited to present the outcomes of the Forum and acknowledged the platform to discuss their experiences around girls’ meaningful participation in public life, sexual and reproductive health and rights, ending violence against girls and more.

“I am a girl living with a disability called Microtia and for most of my life I have been through a lot of discrimination because of this. Through this programme, I learnt that no one has the right to discriminate another based on their sex, race, colour and even disability. This learning has encouraged me to continue being an advocate on girls’ rights as I know there are other girls with disabilities out there who are not privileged to be in an empowering space like this.” - Miriama, 3rd Girls Forum participant.

FWRM through the GIRLS Forums and other inter-generational spaces, continue to nurture the platforms for girls to learn, raise their opinions and articulate issues in the face of multiple layers of discrimination they are faced with on a daily basis.

“Actions taken to address gender inequalities need to start from a young age if we are to sustain the work of the women’s rights movement here in Fiji. This is why FWRM is engaging with adolescent girls and today we heard the same sentiments shared through the earlier two forums on the need to include our girls’ perspectives into policies that ultimately has an impact on their lives, the need to end and prevent violence that is perpetuated towards girls in our communities and the urgency to include comprehensive sexuality education within the current education system,” FWRM’s Executive Director, Nalini Singh said.

Minister Tabuya also spoke during the programme and committed her support to the Revolutionary Document and the advocacy on the issues presented by the girls.

“Remember, your voice matters, your choice matters, your body and health matters, your dreams matter, your experience matters and your presence matters. Don't shy away from sharing your thoughts, choices, dreams and experiences. Be the trailblazers who shatter glass ceilings while building bridges, forging alliances, and forming coalitions that amplify the issue and cause,” the Minister said.

The participants called upon the inclusion of girls’ voices that is representative of girls’ lived realities from the Western Division, in particular, for existing national policies to be reviewed and strengthened to ensure girls’ lived realities are addressed.

The 3rd Girls Forum Revolutionary Document included recommendations such as a Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) that ensures a curriculum that will create positive and healthy discussions about girls’ bodies, a healthy learning environment and a lasting positive impact on girls’ sexual and reproductive health.

The girls also thanked MEHA for the free sanitary pad vouchers in schools programme and in the same light also called for accessible, safe, functioning and hygienic Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities are available in every school.

FWRM is proud of the impact of the GIRLS Programme and the 3rd GIRLS Forum on the girl leaders from the western division and commits to continue moving the flagship leadership programme for girls to other divisions in the country.

Ends

For media queries, please contact FWRM Communications Officer Serelisoni Moceica on 8677330 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.