26 November 2011 From our Home, Rural Communities: It Is About Living in A World without Violence. It was Day 1 of the annual 16 days of Community Radio broadcasts and the women came from as far as Tawake Village on the tip of Fiji’s second island Vanua Levu, from Bua community as well as Dilkusha Methodist Women’s Fellowship and the Geeta Mahila Mandal in Nausori, took to the airwaves with our community radio stations in Labasa and Nausori towns sharing their stories, explaining what peace and security means to them. Community radio is the communication platform FemLINKPACIFIC is using to mobilize and connect with rural women who will attend the daily broadcasts to the theme for this year’s 16 Days theme “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence against Women!” The broadcasts are also featuring programmes from the young women producers who belong to Generation Next provide insights into the reality of young women dealing with violence within their families and also within relationships. In an effort to demonstrate community radio as a safe space for the broadcast participants to link to the global theme, FemLINKPACIFIC has localized the theme connecting it to the monthly “1325” network discussions on Women, Peace and Human Security using a UN Security Resolution 1325 lens. UNSCR1325 reaffirms that women are crucial partners in shoring up the three pillars of lasting peace: economic recovery, social cohesion and political system. The recent UN Security Council Open Debate on UNSCR1325 was reminded that it is not possible to create a legitimate and durable post-conflict political system that does not include full and equal participation of women in decision making. Community media, including community radio continues to enable women to talk about issues closest to them. To connect processes and define where the transformation is needed as women continue to highlight the lack of health facilities in remote communities such as in Bua and Udu as well as the high cost of living and the difficulty women are facing to find employment. During the first day’s broadcasts the infrastructure priorities that women highlight for their personal security are improvements to and provisions of street lights and improvements to roads and drainage. Interesting that these are the priorities raised on the day that we learn from a 2012 Budget brief that Fiji’s military budget has been increased by $5.2 million “due to the additional 42 troops for the Iraq Mission” with an additional $550000 allocated for military infrastructure upgrade. This is the same amount allocated to the Women’s Plan of Action which is focused on “(providing) training to women in the rural and urban areas and in the process assist in the implementing of their projects that promotes the social and empowerment of women” while an additional $300K is provided for repairs and maintenance of Health facilities, including health Centres and 103 Nursing Stations in the 4 divisions. According to The Center for Women’s Global Leadership this year’s theme brings to the fore the ways in which the violence we encounter is often profoundly influenced by national, regional, and international policies and practices, and challenges us to act in solidarity to promote an end to militarism and violence against women, says Radhika Balakrishnan, Executive Director Efforts in the Pacific to date to apply UN Security Council Resolution 1325 to Security Sector Governance have been closely connected to the theme of the celebrate 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. The international campaign seizes power of hundreds local organizations worldwide to raise awareness about gender-based violence. The global campaign started on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and ends 16 days later on December 10th, International Human Rights Day. Since 1991, over 3,700 organizations from 164 countries have supported the 16 Days Campaign. ……….. Pacific Links to Global Community Radio Campaign: Young Women Producers and Broadcasters known as Generation Next in Fiji and Tonga will be conducting close to a total of 300 hours of dedicated programming on community radio stations that are linked to the Regional Women’s Media and Policy Network on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (Women, Peace and Security). They are part of network of community radio producers from Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America and the Caribbean who are dedicate another 16 days campaign to highlight the effort of women and men working to put an end to gender violence. In Fiji, FemTALK 89.2FM’s three simultaneous broadcasts are being conducted in Suva, Labasa and Nadi while Generation Next Tonga take to the airwaves in the inaugural 16 days community radio campaign in Tonga on 98FM “Le’o ‘o e Kakai” (Voice of the People) which is the station operated by Ma’afafine moe Famili based in Nukualofa. To launch the 16days campaign in Tonga, Lepolo Taunisila the national focal point of the Regional Rights Resource Training team focused her message on the promotion of Zero Violence against Women and Children to provide peace and security for women. Other civil society partners who will be taking to the airwaves on 98FM include the Talitha Project, Tonga National Leadership and Development Forum, Tonga Leiti’s Association, Tonga Street Boys, the Centre for Women and Children as well as the Friendly Islands Human Rights and Democracy Movement. The Tonga broadcast team will also be participating in a series of “16 days” campaign events including a candlelight vigil (November 27), as well as a float parade to commemorate World AIDS Day (December 1). The community radio broadcasts from November 25th to December 10th 2011, link to the campaign of the Women's International Network of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC-WIN). AMARC-WIN is using an Internet campaign to denounce all kinds of gender violence comprising radio shows from around the world. The audio documents and other information will be available on www.amarc.org/16days The programs featured will include documentaries, interviews, debates, poetry, music and much more. This multilingual broadcast campaign mobilizes community radios around a global issue and encourages them to use new communication technologies such as the Internet to extend the reach of their voices. You can already listen to programs at the following link: http://www.amarc.org/index.php?p=16_Days_Against_Violence_on_Women_2011_audios Through service to members, networking and project implementation, the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters AMARC, brings together a network of more than 4,000 community radios, Federations and community media stakeholders in more than 130 countries. The main global impact of AMARC since its creation in 1983, has been to accompany and support the establishment of a worldwide community radio sector that has democratized the media sector. AMARC advocates for the right to communicate at the international, national, local and neighbourhood levels and defends and promotes the interests of the community radio movement through solidarity, networking and Cooperation. ……ends Sharon Bhagwan Rolls Executive Director femLINKPACIFIC +6799244871 (Mobile) +6793310303 (Office DL) www.femlinkpacific.org.fj Sent via BlackBerry® from Vodafone.