A group of 11 journalists from southwest Pacific countries met Australian politicians and business leaders as part of a professional development program on news media and the role of women in the economy.
In Canberra, the group had discussions with Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Ambassador for Women and Girls Natasha Stott Despoja, as well as business, community and journalism leaders.
The 5-week leadership fellowship was run by the Asia Pacific Journalism Centre under the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Australia Awards scheme.
Journalists from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu took part.
In Albury-Wodonga, the journalists participated in a roundtable discussion on rural women’s leadership with federal independent MP Cathy McGowan and other senior women in the media, agriculture, education, business, policing and the church.
Solomon Islands television reporter Gina Kekea said the fellowship had built up leadership skills she can use when she returns home.
“It gave me a more in-depth understanding of who I am, and my purpose, especially being a woman working in the media,” she said.
“Knowing that in the Solomons we are linked to other countries, we’re not just an island of ourselves, we have to open up our brain, look further than our own circle.”
Papua New Guinea newspaper journalist Abigail Apina said the fellowship had inspired her to improve her skills as a reporter.
“I am going to use what I’ve learnt in this program with my colleagues, assist reporters when I can, empower trainees and cadets, and journalism students as well.
“I feel empowered by this program.”
APJC director John Wallace said the program recognised the role news media can play in building economic literacy and helping Pacific women gain access to economic and leadership opportunities
“Limited economic and leadership opportunities for women impede long-term development in the Pacific,” he said.
“This program responded to the need for Pacific news media to support the rights and needs of women in their communities.”
The program closed on May 30.
Participants in the program were:
What I learned during this program:
Tiriseyani Naulivou, from Fiji, spent three months working at the Asia Pacific Journalism Centre, assisting with the program: Women, media and economic literacy in the Pacific. Here she talks about what she learned from the experience.