Pacific FLOW Program
Photo Courtesy of IWDA
In December 2011, the International Women's Development Agency (IWDA) in collaboration with pacific partners was successful in securing funding from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs under their Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW) grants program (which succeeds the former MDG3 Fund). This was a highly competitive global call for proposals which saw only 20 grants out of 238 approved.
The Pacific FLOW Program aims to increase women's representation in civil and political leadership across three Pacific Island Countries (Fiji, Solomon Islands and Bougainville) in order to drive gender equality. The Program, valued at 5.2 million AUD over 4 years (2012-2015) will provide a mechanism that links organisations in countries at different stages along the gender equality journey, enabling the sharing of strategies, experiences and knowledge of what can be achieved, and collaboration to increase women's political and civil leadership. The program will broaden and strengthen partnerships with IWDA, the Fiji Women's Rights Movement, FemLINKPacific: media initiatives for women, Women's Action for Change, and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) Pacific.
The Program takes a comprehensive and holistic approach to developing and enabling women's political participation and leadership leading up to local and national elections (Fiji in 2014, Solomon Islands in 2014 and Bougainville in 2015). It seeks to build capacity and confidence of individual women, to participate in decision-making processes and assume positions of leadership, building on existing successful programs. It will strengthen the capacities of women's organisations and networks in each country and the legitimacy of their participation and voice.
The Program focuses on four outcomes:
1. increasing women's civil society engagement and representation,
2. moblising young women to participate in decision-making,
3. increasing gender equality commitments at the local government level, and
4. increasing voter willingness and community support for women in leadership positions
Outcomes for Local Government
CLGF Pacific is the lead partner responsible for the implementation of the local government component (outcome 3) of the Pacific FLOW program in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Bougainville.
The main outcome will be: By 2015, local government is actively supporting women’s leadership and demonstrates gender responsive policies, programs and service delivery.
The key indicators of success will be:
- Number of local governments who’s capacity in gender has been substantially increased
- Number of women whose leadership capacity has been strengthened and are applying this in their work within local government
- Increase in positive attitudes towards women’s involvement in leadership and decision-making in local government
- Increase in the number of women in decision-making positions in local government
Key strategies proposed to achieve the Outcome (above) include:
- Providing sustained support to individual councils to incorporate gender into their policies, programs and service delivery using a ‘Centres of Excellence for Gender Equality in Local Government’ approach,
- Strengthening the leadership capacity of women elected to and working within the local government sector through training, networking and mentoring opportunities,
- Strengthening partnerships between local governments and civil society organizations (CSO’s) to support gender equality goals, strengthen local democratic participation and encourage community attitude change.