Pacific Leadership Programme

By Veena Singh Bryar from the YWCA of Fiji

Field Trip Day!

Our day this morning started quite early compared to the other days. The reason being, that we had to make sure that we were all ready, have had breakfast by 8am to travel to the Pacific Leadership Programme (PLP) office which is situated in the city of Suva.  It took us close to an hour to get to Suva from Pacific Harbour (where we are having the Governance meeting and Young Women’s workshop).

The group consisted of the Governance group which was mainly board members, General Secretary’s, staff members of the YWCA’s here in the Pacific and the World Office, and we had all the young vibrant women of the YWCA from PNG, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia.

The PLP team made presentations in relation to their work, the projects they fund, their recent research work on young women’s leadership models and we also had the opportunity to hear from our YWCA women.

To hear what these young women had to say was very important not only to me but to the rest who were present in the room. Young women’s leadership and empowerment is vital in their participation in all spheres of life, whether it be at a personal, public or political level.

The young women, who spoke, shared their priority areas of concern and their main issues. These women who spoke knew what really mattered to them and why they felt something should be done about it.  I mean, I listened intently and was also saddened because we have these young women who spoke and shared their thoughts and even did a short skit on their issues (violence, cultural barriers, finding strength/empowerment), but they still continue to struggle with claiming their spaces at various levels of society due to the various challenges that make it difficult for these young women to fully own their space.

How do we make our young women feel connected and included? How do we provide them with a safe space so they can gain the strength and get the support to believe that they are leaders in their own right?

This morning’s field trip reassured me that I didn’t have to question where the young women where. Young women are present in most areas of life and work and they are Leaders, we just have to realise it and support them. They are already doing leadership work we just have to acknowledge it. I saw true leaders today, and it was through these amazing young women! These young women of the YWCA are Leaders not for the future but for the NOW!

After the presentations, the Governance team had to return to Pacific Harbour to continue our Governance meeting while the young women had the opportunity to visit some Non- governmental organisations, which included FemlinkPacific and Fiji Women’s Rights Movement. We also stopped over at the Fiji YWCA office in Suva before we headed back to Pacific Harbour.

Our afternoon back in Pacific Harbour involved more governance and finance reporting discussions. This was important for all of us to understand why it is important to have programme activities and reporting to be in line with financial reporting systems.

We ended our evening with a delicious dinner and great conversations with amazing women of the YWCA!

Just in case you missed us on the Fiji National News, yes we did get coverage of our day at PLP and you also get to hear from some of the young women.

Please check this link out: http://www.fijitv.info/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/11.206233124.wmv

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