femTALK 89.2fm Mobile Women's Community Radio Stakeholders Consultation in Suva
femLINKpacific (Media Initiatives for Women) a women's media NGO based in Suva, which in May this year launched a mobile women's community radio initiative using a "suitcase radio" will be staging a community radio stakeholders consultation in Suva, Fiji Islands, from 9 to 11 November 2004.
This consultation, together with the follow up practical field trials, has been made possible with an grant from UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), which has been the key agency that has been funding the development of this small community broadcasting initiative in Suva, since early 2003:
"This will be a very practical follow up from the initial stakeholders consultation in September 2003 - also funded by UNESCO. In 2003 members of our management collective organisations and other partners contributed in developing the station's philosophy and also identified the types of programmes and topics to be addressed through this alternative radio channel," says femLINKpacific Coordinator, Sharon Bhagwan Rolls.
"Since the 2003 workshop - we have secured our broadcast license, UNESCO puchased the suitcase radio for us, we launched our radio, and have been staging regular end of month broadcasts in Suva with a dedicated team of volunteers, including a wonderful team of 5th form students from St Joseph's Secondary School, who have been part of femTALK 89.2fm since April this year. This consultation will now enable us to revisit and build on the ideas and commitments in 2003, as we work towards staging our women's weekend broadcasts on a more regular basis, commence our rural field trials and broadcasts, and also generally strengthen the awareness of community media and broadcasting, as channel for sustainable peace as well as inter-faith tolerance and understanding."
"Women speaking to women for peace" is the overarching theme for femTALK 89.2fm, and whilst femLINKpacific provides an alternative channel and space for "women and communities to speak to each for peace" via the "suitcase radio" at local community level, the organisation also recognises that the mainstream radio channels remain an important channel of communication to reach out to the wider community.
A "mainstreaming session" is also be organised where representatives of the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Limited and Communications Fiji Limited will be invited to speak to the participants to inform them of how they can better utilise the opportunities available through mainstream radio networks in Fiji.
The thematic focus for the consultation will also assist femLINKPACIFIC prepare for the 16 days of activism, which this year focuses on the theme of Violence Against Women and Health/HIV/AIDS, as well as to assist in planning future Suva based broadcasts and rural outreach programmes. The 16 days of activism global campaign will be commemorated from November 25 - December 10:
"One clear outcome of this consultation will be that through our management collective network, which includes organisations such as the Catholic Women's League, the Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education and Advocacy, Interfaith Search Fiji, Fiji Media Watch and the women's group of the Fiji Disabled People's Association (FDPA), our "northern and western" division focal points or correspondents will be identified and equipped to commence our rural outreach work," says Bhagwan Rolls.