The Pacific Leaders Summit

Over the last two weeks the World YWCA held a Pacific Leadership Summit in Fiji. Below Heather shares their impressions of the second day:

By Heather Mcauley from the YWCA of Australia

Day 2 of the summit was our chance to learn about some of the amazing young women’s leadership projects in action across the Pacific Region.

We started the day hearing from the Solomon Island RISE UP peer educators. They are in the process of implementing a programme using drama, public speaking and other activities to help young women understand and access their human rights. One of the strengths of this programme is that the resource manual is designed to be fully self-contained so the peer educators do not have to rely on technology or other additional resources when delivering content in rural and remote settings. I loved the way this programme uses simple examples from lived experience to engage with human rights principals.

Next we shook things up a little and had a taster of the Y Victoria’s Fly Girl program which uses circus to help young women build confidence and to think critically about the world around them.  It was amazing to watch other women as they took on physical challenges that truly scared them. Everyone was so proud when they finally nailed it – inspiring stuff.  And our sumo wall was AWESOME!!

Future Leaders is a four year mentoring programme for young women aged 14 to 18 that we heard about from the YWCA of Aukland. The programme pairs young women with female mentors and gives them the chance to build leadership skills over a sustained period. The programme also uses physical challenges to help build confidence.

In the afternoon we heard from FemLink’s Generation Next and the Fiji Women’s Rights Emerging Leaders Forum (ELF). Generation Next supports young women to produce and present radio shows on issues that are important to them while ELF supports young women leaders to help understand their human rights.

I was inspired by the diversity of ideas, the commitment of the women involved to building the strengths of young women, sometimes using peers and sometimes through intergenerational leadership. My take home message is that there is no ‘right’ answer or ‘one size fits’ all just lots of great ideas being implemented by a lot of passionate women.