Here Are the Women! - Women empowering women as decision-makers with community radio

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Saturday 9 February
Suva, Fiji Islands

Twenty-two community radio producers and broadcasters, project managers and programme officers from Nausori, Labasa, Suva, Solomon Islands and Tonga have gathered at FemLINKPacific's community media centre for the annual Young Women's Media and Advocacy Skills training with the support of the International Women's Development Agency and UNESCO ahead of the inaugural Pacific Islands Community Radio Roundtable and Workshop.

The young women and wo'mentors together are strategising on their advocacy input for the upcoming meeting as well as collaborating on a series of radio programmes.

According to a workshop mentor, Lisa Horiwapu of Vois Blong Mere Solomons Lisa Horiwapu, women's radio strategies in the Solomon Islands is critical in the post conflict reconstruction phase and the organisation continues to use the radio programmes to tell women's stories in order to create awareness on the status of women and to bring an end to the daily injustice women face including poverty and violence.

Sulueti Waqa of Ba who has been a Producer and Broadcaster with FemLINKPacific since 2008 said that the community media process which includes consultations and radio programme production at community level rural women such as those from the Ba HART community where she comes from are able to understand information and issues better, " as we break down the language and make it accessible.Through the information we give through our Radio Broadcasts and publications, we are able to change attitudes and behaviour"

In her introductory remarks Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, Executive Director of FemLINKPACIFIC said that the work as a community media producer and broadcaster is a political process because it does not simply state a problem but it actively engages to support women from the local communities to address the root causes of the problem and advocate for change linked to conventions and treaties such as UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and CEDAW:
"Through the radio programmes we are able to say "Here are the Women!" Women from the civil society as well as rural women who are empowering other women in their communities as decision makers"

Community radio she stressed is not just about the technology but is the broadcast platform to address the imbalances in media content and through FemLINKPacific's membership in media networks such as AMARC we are also giving visibility to the situation of Pacific Island women.
In May 2004 FemLINKPacific launched Fiji and the Pacific's first women-led community radio station. Today there are similar projects led by women for their communities in the Marshall Islands and Tonga.
 

Sources: femLINKPACIFIC and femLINKPACIFIC on Facebook