Women journalists in Fiji made history recently with the launch of the Women in Media Australia Fiji mentoring project - inspired and guided by Women in Media Australia’s highly successful mentoring scheme.
The mentoring project is a pilot and the first for women journalists in Fiji. It was launched earlier this month at the Fijian Media Association and WiM Fiji’s first press club event for the year, held in celebration of International Women’s Day.
Young women journalists hosted and moderated a live Q&A with the Fijiana Drua women’s rugby team, where they shared their experiences in a male-dominated sport to an audience of more than 100 people. This was a first experience for the young journalists and the first time the Fijiana Drua players had appeared at this type of forum.
The launch received widespread coverage in all media outlets in Fiji, including front page stories in the Fiji Times and Fiji Sun.
WiM Fiji Lead Coordinator and Fijian Media Association President Rosi Doviverata said there was a very encouraging turnout and support from all the major local media houses – the Fiji Times, Fiji Village,Fiji TV, MaiTV, FBC, the Fiji Sun and Fiji Live
She said the scheme was promoted on social media platforms, including Viber, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, with pieces to camera produced by the Fijian Media Association. These have also been shared to the three television companies, the FBC, Fiji TV and MaiTV. MaiTV committed four prime slots a day while applications were open.
Ms Doviverata said women journalists were very enthusiastic about being involved in the mentoring project. Within the first few days, there were 16 inquiries on the application website from potential mentors and mentees. Interestingly, the mentors were highly experienced women in senior media positions in Australia offering to give back to the industry.
Under the WiM Fiji scheme, women working full-time in mainstream newsrooms in Fiji can apply to be mentored by senior journalists with at least five years’ of experience in the industry.
The project is a result of collaboration between the newly formed peak body for women working in Fijian media, Women in Media Fiji (WiM Fiji), the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS) and Women in Media Australia.
The scheme is an exclusive mentoring program teamed with online training to empower women in Fiji’s media to build their careers.
Ms Doviverata said the priority was to create a single, stronger voice for media women, support each other and work together to address issues of gender inequity.
“They’ve asked for help to advance their careers, take on long overdue leadership roles and deal with the challenges of working in the media with the support of other women” she said.
She said Fiji sporting organisations at the launch were very impressed with the project and asked for information from WiM Fiji to use as examples for their own mentoring schemes that were still in the planning stage.
Women in Media Australia board member Kathy McLeish said the partnership with WiM Fiji would mirror the Australian program whichhad run for several years, expertly matching young or new recruits with experienced hands.
Ms McLeish said Women in Media Australia was calling on Australian media women to sign up to help create a bank of potential mentors with Pacific experience. Anyone interested can email WiMFiji@womeninmedia.com.au
It is an initiative of an Australian development assistance project, funded by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and managed by ABC International Development under the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS).
Applications have now closed for Mentors and Mentees http://abcinternationaldevelopment.net.au/