16 February 2011
Suva, Fiji Islands

"Stories that travel from one community to the next. Women connecting on the airwaves despite geographical or infrastructure divides.

Technology that enables a diverse group of young women to connect on common issues through the production of radio programmes.

That's all part of the process of learning for FemLINKPACIFIC's Annual Young Women's Media Skills and Advocacy Training currently underway in Suva," says FemLINKPACIFIC's Executive Director, Sharon Bhagwan Rolls.

According to 26 years old Ashika Gosai Femlinkpacific's rural focal point based at the Ba Senior Citizens Centre the training is going to assist her learn ways to conduct interviews and produce radio programmes with the members of the Centre:

“What I want to take back from the workshop is the skills on how to conduct good interviews and recording so that I could make a good recording about the issues that affect women in my community so that they can be helped and their voices could be heard,” she said.

Jimaima Luvunakoro, of the Generation Next Suva team for the past two years is keen to improve the quality of her research techniques while 20 year old Lucille Chute, who has been a member of Generation Next Labasa is looking forward to learn more about community radio programming:

“.....so that I have something to take back with me and improve the way I do my programme production," she said.

Connecting the issues with community radio programmes is all part of the sharing and learning at the training and already Ashika and Jimaima have connected with the issue of water:

“In Ba, the women are facing problems, in washing, cooking and planting vegetables due to lack of water supply and at times the women have to work far from their homes to get water for their activities, either from a well or the river. Some of the families in Ba are very poor and cannot afford water tanks in their homes so they use whatever is available to them for water storage,” related Ashika..

"We are always facing frequent water cuts and in my street each household has a water tank. I have a 10 month old baby and clean water is essential for a baby’s daily life, the ongoing water cuts is a course of frustration for me personally," shared Jimaima.

Meanwhile 19 year old Eleni Nabalarua of Generation Next Suva said for her a big concern is safety:

“My issue is personal security as there have been too many robberies in my community. Before only houses used to be robbed but now in my neighbourhood families are being violated and attacked at night with the children still in the house,” she said.

Meanwhile, for Lucille, the remoteness of her village community is a cause for concern:

“In my village which is Tawake village which is 120km from Labasa town, the nurses do not want to stay there as it is very far from town.”

The young women today produced a series of short radio programmes discussing their issues and ideas which will air this weekend on FemTALK 89.2FM.

FemLINKPACIFIC’s Annual Young Women’s Media Skills and Advocacy training which started 15 February, has brought together 21 young women from Labasa, Nadi, Suva, Ba, Bougainville, Tonga and Solomon Islands as well as members of the Rainbow Women’s Network to enhance their roles as core producers and broadcasters for community radio and using it as a means to discuss issues that affect them as young women in their various communities.

During the 2 week skills training from the 15th to the 25th of February, the young women will get the opportunity to build their capacity to be core producers of media content to support the rural networks in Labasa/Savusavu, Nadi/Ba and Suva/Nausori as well as provide coverage and deepen their understanding of key policy related activities linked to femLINKPACIFIC's own priorities.