The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) is excited to welcome a new group of ten girls between the ages of 11 to 12 years into their Grow.Inspire.Relate.Lead.Suceed (GIRLS) Programme; a year-long pioneering, feminist and girls-oriented initiative in the Pacific.

The new girls were recruited from Suva’s informal settlements and join 37 other girls who are part of the programme, including Deaf girls from the Gospel School of the Deaf and the Hilton Special School.

This meaningful engagement with adolescent girls is supported by the Australian Government through the Pacific Girl program, managed by Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women).

FWRM through the programme, hopes to create a cadre of empowered adolescent girls that have agency over their own issues as girls face the double discrimination of being young and female, further exacerbated by intersectional barriers such as poverty and disability.

“We continue to take an intergenerational leadership development – through our life cycle approach, in highlighting the realities of women, young women and girls of all diversities. Girls face the world differently from us as women and young women.

Having girls’ voices within the movement is key to bringing in their realities and priorities to influence policy and laws,” FWRM Executive Director, Nalini Singh said.

Ms Singh said it is vital that girls are given the space to raise their opinions in the face of shocking and pervasive violence against them. FWRM’s Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls Rape Case Analysis 2020 found that the average age of victim/survivor of all rape cases determined in Fiji’s High Court is 14 years; the youngest victim/survivor was 3 years old and in 65 percent of all the rape cases, the victim/survivor was 17 years old and younger.

“We will continue to amplify girls’ voices within the policy advocacy work that FWRM does. Girls need a space or platform to articulate their issues and this is why we have a programme like this” she said.With feminist and human rights based approaches, FWRM will also be testing the newly developed GIRLS Programme Toolkit.

The toolkit was co-developed by graduates of the programme who are now young women leaders in their own fields of studies and work.The GIRLS Programme, now in its fourth phase, was designed and implemented in 2012 and uses creative platforms for activism.

Through safe and healthy avenues, FWRM girls involved in the programme raise issues on gender stereotypes, bullying, discrimination and violence faced at home, in the community and the school environment.

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