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35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

Published

14 October 2019

Author

Fiji Women's Rights Movement

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FWRM and Fiji Association of the Deaf; new partnership to empower deaf girls 14/10/19

FWRM and Fiji Association of the Deaf; new partnership to empower deaf girls

14/10/19

For the first time, the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) will be expanding its Grow Inspire Relate Lead Succeed (GIRLS) Program to focus on a cohort of deaf girls from 2020.

FWRM signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Fiji Association of the Deaf (FAD) today and will be working in partnership to co-develop the programme content and implement the next GIRLS Programme. GIRLS is a three-year-leadership programme facilitated under FWRM’s Intergenerational Women in Leadership team that is targeted at girls between the ages of 10 to 12.

“This ground-breaking partnership will be pioneering a feminist deaf girl leadership program in Fiji. Girls are the most vulnerable in our society today, who face discrimination because of their age, gender and abilities. We’ve continuously reiterated in our access to justice work and through research that more needs to be done to protect girls’ human rights because they are the victims and survivors of gender-based violence,” said FWRM Executive Director Nalini Singh.

Some of these issues such as bullying, discrimination and abuse were highlighted by the GIRLS in the previous cohorts. The GIRLS used theatre, poetry and other forms of art to share their experiences and raise awareness.

“GIRLS has been the flagship programme for FWRM to engage with the girl child and empower girls to know and understand their rights and be leaders on their issues. This new partnership is significant for FWRM’s work as we look towards strengthening our capacity to engage with the deaf community and ensure that the programme is more inclusive and meaningful. We also have the opportunity to share expertise and provide support on feminist issues and gender lensing.”

“This is a great start for us to work together. We do not have a lot of work specifically for deaf young women and girls. I am excited on how we can exchange experiences and knowledge to better strengthen the work that we do,” said FAD President Makarita Miriyama.

“This will be a great opportunity for deaf girls to get involved in girl-centred work that is outside the usual curriculum they go through in school or at church. The programme has proved to be successful but in all efforts of ensuring representation and inclusivity, we’re now for the first time, working with deaf girls. This is pretty exciting work as we will be learning a lot from FAD.”

The MOU is for three years and will bring together the two organisations to work with adolescent girls and includes a series of cross-learning workshops between the organisations. FAD will be providing a workshop for FWRM on how to better engage with the deaf community while FWRM will provide basic information on feminism and gender equality.

FWRM’s GIRLS Programme is supported by the Australian Government through the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA). Through this continued support, the programme will be extending its GIRLS program to exclusively focus on a cohort of 10 deaf girls.

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