Welcome to Episode 66 of Good Will Hunters, from the Development Policy Centre. Today’s guest is Virisila Buadromo.
Virisila is a Pacific feminist and political activist, who co-leads the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights for Asia and the Pacific, which is a rapid grant making facility to support female-identifying activists who need urgent assistance. Prior to joining the Urgent Action Fund, Virisila was at the helm of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement for 14 years.
Virisila recently presented at the Australian Aid Conference, on the topic of donor funding for women and girls throughout the Pacific. She also appeared on Q&A in November 2019, alongside former guests of this program, Minister for International Development and the Pacific Alex Hawke and the Honourable Enele Sopoaga, former Prime Minister of Tuvalu.
In this episode, Virisila and I discuss human rights in Fiji, and whether climate change is used to deflect scrutiny away from other issues, including the treatment of women, girls and marginalised groups. There is very little media coverage of human rights issues in Pacific Island Countries, in particular in Fiji. Rather, when we discuss matters affecting Pacific Islands, we almost exclusively discuss climate change.
But, climate change is a vulnerability multiplier, meaning any social issues that already existing will only be made worse as the climate crisis intensifies – in the case of Fiji, this is a worsening of the situation of women and girls. But, Virisila and her colleagues tackle the issue everyday, and most recently published a paper on why donors are giving so little to local women’s organisations in the region, and why the same organisations are struggle to manage the stringent accountability requirements of donors. But the money is urgently needed, as you’ll hear in this episode.
We also discuss conflicting notions of feminism, the fake news epidemic and imposter syndrome, plus ways to create platforms that allow other people to speak their truth, in particular non-English speaking women in the region. This is an important episode and will shine a light on some heavy issues, that require more reporting – I know we’re inly skimming the surface but I’m eager to share these insights with you and spark an important conversation.
You will have heard me say at the outset of this episode, that Good Will Hunters was being presented from the Development Policy Centre. Many of you would know that the Development Policy Centre is in the Crawford School of Public Policy in the Australian National University. It is a leading global think-tank supporting the international development community, by undertaking research and promoting practical initiatives to improve the effectiveness of Australian Aid and contributing to better global development policy.
We’re so excited to be entering into this partnership, to further strengthen dialogue and research on aid and development in Australia, and give voice to more experts from throughout the region. You’ll be hearing more about the partnership and the Development Policy Centre in the coming weeks, and I welcome your input on how we can continue to be the leading media platform dedicated to aid and development, globally.
The GWH Team