Project Date: March 2018 – September 2018
Grant Value: Type C – FJ $10,000
Area of Focus: Dealing with aging as a woman in Fiji
Project Status: COMPLETED
About the Project
Like women of all ages, older women actively contribute to society and lead diverse vibrant lives. However, many continue to contribute to society and lead diverse vibrant lives. However, many continue to disproportionately face challenges particularly in terms of financial security and accessing healthcare. Other challenges identified included women playing a vital role in society but often side-lined during decision making; stigma and discrimination by society (including family members) were ongoing due to aging; and the continued responsibility to care and provide for their family, financially or as ‘carers’ despite their advanced age.
Formed in 2017, the Ageing with Empowerment and Dignity (AWED) aims to enhance the quality of life for ageing women in Fiji by highlighting their needs, advocating for their rights, facilitating and enabling shared learning and knowledge to benefit ageing women.
AWED worked on a pilot project to advocate for the Fijian Government to streamlining the gender policy with the ageing policy. AWED will also work with the Nausori Rural Women Network, in the hopes to target 20 Indo-Fijian women in rural Nausori to study approaches and produce lessons learned to help AWED nuance its approach in a careful and considered way where ageing Fijian women are empowered in dignity and justice.
A grant from the Fiji Women’s Fund allowed AWED to:
– Strengthen their organisational structure through the formulation of policies and an Operations Manual that now acts as a guide until they are formally registered as an NGO.
– Hold a “Quality of Life” Workshop with the Nausori Rural Women Network.
– Action Plan of practical solutions contextualising workshops to accommodate the varying concerns of ageing rural and urban women.
The project will provide safe spaces that enable aging rural women to discuss issues affecting the quality of their lives as well as identify gaps in policies, practices, and services that address aging women’s issues and their rights. The discussions from these safe spaces will hopefully empower aging women to identify advocacy and service strategies that can improve their lives.
AWED is a support group for aging women over 50 years. It was founded in 2017 by two aging friends who were concerned that their issues were not being addressed by state policies. The group is governed by a 10-member interim steering committee made up of aging professional women with varying work experiences ranging from accounting, legal, management, and peace-building. AWED is working towards enhancement of the quality of life for aging women in Fiji by highlighting their needs, advocating for their rights, and facilitating learning, and knowledge sharing among aging women.