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 Issue 10 -  December 2021

The Women’s Fund Fiji is the Pacific's first national women's fund.  WFF is an empathetic and adaptive feminist fund working to influence and mobilise financial and non-financial resources for feminist and women’s rights organisations and movements, so they can progress the human rights of women, girls, and gender non-conforming people in Fiji. The Fund was set up in 2017 by the Australian Government and has committed AUD10.5 million from 2017 to 2022 for funding and capacity development support to women’s groups, networks, and organisations in Fiji to expand and enhance their work on women’s empowerment and gender equality.

 Dear Partners and Allies

As we head to the end of another difficult year, we are also taking the time to reflect and offer gratitude for the many achievements despite everything that this year threw at us.

We are finally an independent fund, what a journey it has been - you can read about this in our blogs and a Learnings paper that we released on the processes we undertook to manage change.  Other notable achievements this year were the appointment of our new Governance Board, the development of our first Strategic Planrevamped our website and are currently in the process of outfitting the new home of the Fund which will be revealed in January... if all goes to plan.

In the transition, we also farewelled three staff: Roshni Chand, Shyana Ali and Erica Lee.  We are grateful for their contributions as pioneers in the development of the Pacific's first national women's women.  We wish them well in their future endeavours.


While Fiji has reopened after reaching milestone vaccination rates, we are cognizant of the fact that a new strong strain of the coronavirus has just been detected and we are preparing ourselves for what this may mean for our grantees. 

We hope that you have a restful holiday season and that the new year brings renewed strength and solidarity for what lies ahead.  We wish you all happy holidays.

In solidarity,
The Fund Team

A surge in late-stage detection of cancer patients could be expected 

The Fiji Cancer Society believes that there could be a surge in late-stage detection and presentation of cases now that COVID-restrictions have lifted. 

After two COVID-19 transmission scares at their clinic during the heightened restrictions, the Society suspended clinical services (April – October) such as cancer screening and home visits to patients.  The Society redirected the public to alternative service providers and where possible they assisted with advice on lifestyle, diet and counselling for their mental state of mind especially for those that were presenting anxiety.

Women’s grant ignites entrepreneurial journey for women’s group in Kadavu

Investing in women leads to wider economic, social and environmental progress in rural communities.

Find out how the women of the Naibati Women's Club used a WFF grant to open a canteen, start savings accounts and put their members on a path to disaster-risk management. 

Shrinking spaces for rural women a concern for PCP

The easing of COVID-19 related restrictions by the Fijian Government in October 2021 was a move welcomed by the Pacific Centre for Peacebuilding (PCP) who believe that the six months of restrictions had taken its toll on Fijians, especially on rural women.

“Women’s spaces shrunk dramatically between April – October this year. Women were largely confined to their homes with extended care duties and no safe place to discuss some of the challenges they were facing.”

 
Our journey to localisation - A series of blogs 

Through a series of blogs, we have communicated with our partners and grantees the changes that were happening as a result of the localisation from a Australian initiative to a locally-led entity.

Blog 1 Walking a tightrope: Navigating relationships and nurturing localisation
"There was no blueprint that Cardno could adopt, modify, or learn from. This meant every component of handing over and supporting the Fund’s localisation was created to respond to information that was known or forecasted." - reflections by Cardno's Joanne Choe and Mai Nguyen.


Blog 2 - We are the Women’s Fund Fiji
Michelle Reddy discusses the development of the Fund's Trust Deed and the process that went into the elaboration of the Fund's vision, mission and values.  

Blog 3Honouring the women in our eco-system
We honour and give thanks for the insights provided by Emily Elliot, Leaine Robinson, Nalini Singh, Mareta Salacakau Fong, the late Archana Mani, Tara Chetty, Sala Tupou Tamani, Sainimili Tawake and Susan Naidu who made up our Grants Committee over the past four years. Their contribution to the Fund is evident in the breadth and reach of the Fund’s grants to rural and remote women and feminist groups from Kadavu all the way to Udu Point in Vanua Levu. 


Blog 4 - Trusting the Deed: Reflections on our Registration Process
Any transition requires mindfulness of what is needed, and human-centered leadership to fulfill those needs. The Fund has admirably faced its challenges head-on, documenting handover processes, intentionally appreciating those who have completed their service, and orienting new governance teams virtually under pandemic restrictions. 

'Arms Open Approach' approach to managing change

Where does feminist management sit on this spectrum and is there even such a thing?

This is something we started to ask ourselves as the Women’s Fund Fiji navigated, documented and ‘managed’ multiple, concurrent processes of change in becoming an independent entity. In our experience, we found feminist management to exist outside this typical management spectrum - like a parallel path that is designed to reach a similar outcome but is internally motivated uses alternative, transformative practices, and is more inclusive and holistic. 

We think of it as having an ‘arms’ approach where nothing is off-limits - especially the impact of such processes on people’s realities - and we promote the value of relationships. 

Getting to know our Board of Trustees better
In October the Fund announced the appointment of Gina Houng Lee, William Parkinson and Ana Laqeretabua as the new Trustees of the Fund.  To get to know them better, we asked them about their passion, feminism,  gender research and what it meant to sustain a vibrant feminist movement.  Their responses have been featured in two blogs and a feature article to kick off 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

Reflections of a Pacific Feminist

Does it matter whether one uses the term feminist or not? Gina Houng Lee discusses feminism its connection to the movement of historical, political and social change centred on the intrinsic belief of political, social, economic and personal equality between men and women. She reflects on some of her mentors and what led her to her 34 years of work in the movement.


Gender Research and Data – What is lacking and how we can improve this?

Ana Laqeretabua says there is a need to research the scale and modalities of bilateral, multilateral, corporate and philanthropic grants disbursed in the name of gender equality and women’s empowerment and how much of those resources impact the lives of diverse women, girls and gender non-conforming people.

Sustaining a vibrant feminist movement

According to William Parkinson, the vibrancy of  the feminist and women’s movement requires strong governance, investment in leadership and funding, especially in grassroots organisations. While William is the lone male voice on the Women Fund Fiji’s Board of Trustees, he is certainly no stranger to the women’s and feminist movement having been raised by one of Fiji’s pioneering members of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA).
We were featured in:


How a Feminist Fund Supports Women in Fiji

Season 3 of Capital Musings, UN Capital Development Fund Podcast, Fund Manager Michelle Reddy explains how the pandemic and climate change are exacerbating the challenges faced by women in Fiji, and how the Fund is helping to make a change.

Michelle was the first Pacific Islander to appear on the show.  This season's theme is "The Road to Doha," focusing on issues relevant to LDCs ahead of the Fifth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries to be held in Doha, Qatar, in January 2022.

 

Fiji’s Women Are Living the Reality of Climate Change

On November 6, Brianna Fruean and other Pacific Islands representatives marched in Glasgow as all eyes are on the United Kingdom for the COP26 climate change summit that took place earlier this month. Unfortunately, the discussions at COP26 were far removed from the climate realities faced by Fijian women.  Read our article published in the Fair Observer on the shrinking spaces and resources for women in mitigating climate change.



Funding feminist climate action in Fiji

"Despite the Pacific island nations' negligible contributions to greenhouse gases, they are at the forefront of battling the climate crisis."

Following COP26's failure to deliver on the Pacific's climate demands, the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action published a blog by the Fund highlighting the work of women's organisations in climate adaptation and disaster recovery.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Memory is resistance: 10 years of feminist organising and activism by DIVA for Equality (Wednesday 1 December 2021)
Join DIVA for Equality to celebrate their 10 years of work and mark 16 Days of activism to end all forms of gender-based violence.  Register: https://bit.ly/3rsdbyj

Small Grants, Big Results (Wednesday 8th December)
Join us from 11 am - 12 pm (Fiji Time) on 8 December as we reflect on practical approaches to working collaboratively and respectfully with diverse women’s organisations and groups. The online session will focus on the key themes and practical recommendations of the Small Grants Big Results Practice Note, a collaboration between the Women’s Fund Fiji and Pacific Women. The Practice Note is set to be released at the learning session and designed to reach donors and stakeholders with messaging on respectful, equitable and effective modes of granting.  Register for this session: https://bit.ly/2Znijb5 

Picnic at the Park - 16 days of Activism (10th December 2021)
The Fiji NGO Coalition on Human Human Rights (NGOCHR) is organising a 'Picnic At the Park' to mark the annual Human Rights Day. Please note that you need to register to be a part of the event.
Registration Link: https://lnkd.in/egXjSHkU


Communications Officer Vancancy (closes 12 December 2021)
WFF is seeking applications for a Communications Officer to oversee the development and implementation of the Fund’s Communications Strategy in line with our three-year Strategic Plan. The role manages the Fund’s digital platforms; curates, produces and disseminates communication and knowledge products; and ensures stakeholder engagement. Applications close 12 December 5pm Fiji Time. 
 
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Women's Fund Fiji
Level 3, Kaunikuila House, Sun Insurance Building,
Laucala Bay Road, Flagstaff Suva, Fiji 
Email: information@womensfund.org.fj   Phone: +679 331 4410

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