?Young Women Building Cultures of Peace ?: Conflict Transformation Skill Building Programme for Fiji Young Women in State Care?

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?Young Women Building Cultures of Peace ?: Conflict Transformation Skill Building Programme for Fiji Young Women in State Care?

Fiji
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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The ever-expanding WAC ?Young Women and Elimination of Violence? programme focuses on young women in Fiji from a diverse range of backgrounds. Following an initial 2005 UNIFEM, NY-funded yearlong programme focusing on young women and suicide prevention throughout Fiji, this 2006 project specifically addresses the critical and urgent needs of young women living in the Mahaffey Girls Home, the only official state in-house care facility for girls in Fiji. The 15-18 young women (Mahaffey capacity is 20 beds) have been prioritised by WAC as among the highest ?at risk? group of women due to their very low-socio-economic status, status as wards of the state and exposure of some to the formal justice system as juvenile offenders. It includes State Wards, orphans, physically and sexually abused and neglected girls and also youth offenders. Although the location of the home is urban Suva , there are girls from different racial backgrounds and also from rural and remote areas in the Centre. Some participants have very low English literacy levels and learning difficulties. Half are no longer in the formal school system. For this reason, arts based learning, including Playback Theatre, is used throughout this intensive yearlong programme. Playback Theatre also provides participatory impact assessment. This programme is a direct extension of our belief that any serious attempt to eliminate all forms of violence against young women in Fiji must engage holistically and participatively in working through what/who it is that disempowers, what social services are currently available and to whom. The programme incorporates: -Social and emotional learning - Building Peaceful and Healthy Communities -Trauma healing -Information on cultural, social, legal and human rights -Information on Young Women?s Sexual and Reproductive Rights -Introduction to Restorative Justice based mediation skillbuilding programme -Arts and diverse learning -Networking and participative advocacy

About You
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Your idea
Focus of activity

Dialogue Processes

Start Year

January 2005

Positioning in the mosaic of solutions
Main barrier addressed

Culture of violence

Main principle addressed

Explore original wounds

Healing from trauma - rediscovering your self-worth. A person who has healed can learn to love themselves and others. This contributes to sustainability of peace as the only sustainable and lasting peace is that which holds true at the individual and community as well as at the macro levels.

Innovation
Description of initiative:

The ever-expanding WAC ?Young Women and Elimination of Violence? programme focuses on young women in Fiji from a diverse range of backgrounds. Following an initial 2005 UNIFEM, NY-funded yearlong programme focusing on young women and suicide prevention throughout Fiji, this 2006 project specifically addresses the critical and urgent needs of young women living in the Mahaffey Girls Home, the only official state in-house care facility for girls in Fiji. The 15-18 young women (Mahaffey capacity is 20 beds) have been prioritised by WAC as among the highest ?at risk? group of women due to their very low-socio-economic status, status as wards of the state and exposure of some to the formal justice system as juvenile offenders. It includes State Wards, orphans, physically and sexually abused and neglected girls and also youth offenders. Although the location of the home is urban Suva , there are girls from different racial backgrounds and also from rural and remote areas in the Centre. Some participants have very low English literacy levels and learning difficulties. Half are no longer in the formal school system. For this reason, arts based learning, including Playback Theatre, is used throughout this intensive yearlong programme. Playback Theatre also provides participatory impact assessment. This programme is a direct extension of our belief that any serious attempt to eliminate all forms of violence against young women in Fiji must engage holistically and participatively in working through what/who it is that disempowers, what social services are currently available and to whom. The programme incorporates: -Social and emotional learning - Building Peaceful and Healthy Communities -Trauma healing -Information on cultural, social, legal and human rights -Information on Young Women?s Sexual and Reproductive Rights -Introduction to Restorative Justice based mediation skillbuilding programme -Arts and diverse learning -Networking and participative advocacy

Description of innovation:

WAC is a distinctive and innovative feminist and human rights community organisation in Fiji that over 13 years has developed deep and rich skills in community art, crisis art, workshop facilitation for at risk and marginalized groups and individuals, community theatre including Playback and Forum Theatre. Another aspect of WAC work is the emphasis on restorative justice based mediation in ALL programmes, with youth at risk, women in rural, remote or urban settlements, young people in state care, prisoners, and others. There is a focus on active peacebuilding and conflict transformation permeating all our work. A third highlight is that the programmes are very responsive and participatory with an action and reflection monitoring and evaluation mechanism that can be highly responsive and flexible. Playback Theatre is the principle form of qualitative impact assessment used at WAC alongside quantitative data collection, and ?Most Significant Story? collection and analysis. Playback Theatre is a form of participatory theatre/research proven as effective in both the international and local Fiji context. WAC Theatre itself underwent an extensive regional PIA assessment carried out by Save the Children?s Fund Fiji and NZ to measure suitability and success of our participative methodologies. (?The River Divides: Pilot Project Report.? SCF: NZ and FIJI: 2002). WAC has found through this proven and long-term participative research/PIA process that women in diverse communities all around Fiji are living in communities where physical, sexual and emotional violence is pervasive, systemic and entrenched. We have also found that they are keen to identify personal, PRACTICAL and realistic strategies to address violence and discrimination in their own lives and those around them. Women, young people and children are therefore in need of targeted support for their urgent needs. The girls at Mahaffey represent some of the most at risk young women.

Delivery model:

The programme has been implemented over a 12 month period, with a 2.5 to 3 hour session three Saturdays out of four from 1pm ? 3.30pm at the Mahaffey Girls Home, Suva. Two to three senior WAC facilitators provide strong consistent coverage over the year, with external resources brought in as required and requested. The programme in 2006 began with a skeleton programme but as the initial empowerment and community building components allowed the young women to express their needs, the programme was adjusted to suit their own needs and wants. Components included: The project reaches its target population through the following activities: Workshop Series ? Introductions to ?Young Women Building a Culture of Peace? Playback Theatre ? Participatory Impact Assessments Workshop Series ? ?Feeling good, Feeling Strong? Workshop ?Young Women in the Fijian Legal System? Debriefing and Community Building Workshop Workshop Series ? ?Sexual and Reproductive Rights for Young Women? Debriefing and Community Building Workshop Workshop series - Young Women Building a Community of Peace Self-Directed Facilitation of Sessions Sustainability Activities - Self-Directed Participant Peace work ??Young Women Building a Culture of Peace in Fiji? Networking and Advocacy and Project Sustainability Work All sessions included various yoga and breathing exercises, arts components including murals, painting, craft design, theatre including story sculptures and various theatre processes/games, music including songwriting, scriptwriting, singing, performances, storytelling, sharing circles, PIA circles, information and resource sharing (including question times), lots of fun, afternoon snacks and shared personal time and individual attention when required. The programme also ended with the girls all attending the ?Wacky Wac Christmas Party? in November 2006, where they were able to meet with and have fun with young people from various other WAC programmes.

Key operational partnerships:

The key partnership has been established with the Mahaffey Girls Home. The Centre is funded by the Ministry for Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation and is administered by the Salvation Army. The following are the key resource people for the project. All three are qualified and experienced facilitators, mediators, feminist and human rights activists and peace builders: - Project Developer and Director is Creative Director, WAC Theatre Unlimited, Peni Moore - Senior Actor and Facilitator, WAC Theatre Unlimited, Laura Qalova - WAC Coordinator, Project Facilitator and M&E Coordinator, Noelene Nabulivou We called on our local networks for external assistance and advice throughout the year, including Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT), Fiji Women?s Rights Movement (FWRM), Fiji Women?s Crisis Centre (FWCC), Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF), Radio Pasifik Triple 8 FM, WAC Management Collective and many other supporters.

Impact
Financial model:

The project includes a comprehensive development, monitoring and evaluation and self-directed sustainability programme, which ensures that services continually respond to the needs of participants, and that this new programme, the first of its type in Fiji?s main State care facility for young women, continues and expands. We have a fully developed proposal, M&E programme, and full acquittal of all funds to donors and WAC management collective.

Costs as percentage of income:

0

Financing:

The project has received initial funding of $10,100 for a year-long programme from the Fiji Ministry for Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation. This covers basic costs, but WAC also fundraises throughout the year for added operational costs, and we received in 2006 a limited amount of F$30,000 from Global Fund for Women that we used to cover some of our operational and other costs. We do not receive any other operational funding at this time. In the long-term, the project is expected to be self- sustaining for participants through portable skills they have learnt and development of ongoing youth networks. As to the formal programme, WAC has prioritised this activity as a critical social justice project, as Mahaffey is the only state-funded live-in institution in Fiji for abuse survivors

Effectiveness:

<ul><li class="entry-label">Project outcomes: <span class="entry-text">Individual and community level -Social and emotional learning -Knowledge and practice in various techniques of conflict transformation skills including restorative justice based mediation, to analyze and deal with violence in a safe way in peer, family and community relationships now and in the future -Greater levels of self-confidence in knowing, using and sharing peaceful relationships with other people -Increased communication skills -Greater levels of personal self-esteem Impact at Community/Society Level -Increased restorative practice and non-violence activity by at risk and marginalized young women -Increased numbers of young women with concrete, practical and relevant knowledge and skills in active non-violence and peacebuilding activities -Better relationships.</span></li><li class="entry-label">Number of clients in past year: <span class="entry-text">About 15-18 young women from 11-18 years old who have experienced extreme levels of emotional, physical and sexual violence and abuse, wards of the state, orphans and juvenile offenders. </span></li></ul>

Scaling up strategy:
Stage of the initiative:

<i>Scaling Up</i> stage.

Expansion plan:

This programme is now integrated into our overall ?Young People and Elimination of Violence Programme? for 2007-8 and beyond (subject to funding). This programme specifically caters for a group of the most traumatized, high need female survivors of violence in Fiji. It is complemented by other sub-programmes such as the in- school ?Skills for Life Programme?, ?Young Women, Decision- making and HIV and AIDS Programme?, ?Young Women Mediating for Change Programme?, and our two year programme with Save the Children Fund New Zealand and Fiji on ?Ethical Leadership for Change -Youth Programme: Looking for a new kind of Leader? in 2007-2008. We are also incorporating it into the move toward a WAC Community Centre by 2008, where the expanded programme will have a permanent home.

Origin of the initiative:

WAC was formed and is guided by a group of diverse women forming a feminist, human rights women?s collective. The founding light of WAC and current Creative Director is Peni Moore, a well-known and highly skilled regional and national peacebuilder, human rights activist and theatre person. All of our programmes are based on the results of participative theatre processes, and this programme is no exception. Peni Moore initiated the programme with the primary assistance of WAC Theatre Unlimited Senior Facilitator Laura Qalova after discussions with young people on violence and after identification of the critical need within Mahaffey Girls Home. The programme is co-facilitated and further developed by the present WAC Coordinator, Noelene Nabulivou. These three women work fulltime, but still try to maintain a presence three Saturday afternoons out of four.