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Curated Resources - Rainbows and Storms: LGBTQI+, climate crisis and pandemics


The Curated Conversation "Rainbows and Storms: LGBTQI+, climate crisis and pandemics" centered queer voices from Fiji and the Pacific on feminist principles for organizing amidst intersecting crises including COVID19, cyclones and climate crisis. Facilitated and co-led by Noelene Nabulivou and Viva Tatawaqa from DIVA for Equality Fiji, the webinar explored local community organizing for resilience and featured concrete learnings from queer women builders networks.

A series of related resources and links can be found below for you to explore and dive into the theme.

Due to technical difficulties, one segment (40:22-52:23) is not audible. Please see the transcript of that segment below:

Kalokalo: Good morning. Yes, Vika Kalokalo from DIVA Management Collective, member of the Women's Builders support team. Also sexual and reproductive health and rights support Group. I'm also with the Women Defending the Commons. So, I'm here, outside of the main city, Suva, in a part of a rural village in Fiji. We're meeting with the Verata Women Defend Commons Group with women from the village so we maintain the relationship over the past months with the group. We do this meeting to support autonomous organizing. I'm here today with a colleague and we're working to broaden the support and to plan ahead what we're trying to do. So as you see here in the background we're getting together to gather as a group. 
[Shows background of women gathering around]

Noelene: Can you talk about the Women's Builders?

Kalokalo: Yes, I'm part of the Women's Builders peer support group from 2018: Twenty women were privileged enough to be part of the women's construction team program, level 2 of APTC (Australia Pacific Training Coalition) partly supported by the funding of ADB (Asian Development Bank). Other ground local organizations were always there to support whenever the team needed something and this was needed because after one week of training we were ‘thrown’ to informal settlements to build houses for people who desperately needed them. 

So within four months and one week we built sixty cyclone-proof houses for twenty women that consist of mothers, single mothers, wives, older women, LGBT people, widows, and dispossessed women. Part of the work that we do in the community is create materials for women by women. 

At the moment, the pandemics strikes amidst intersecting kinds of crises: cyclones, COVID19, and disasters that follow. Part of the work that the peer support group does is to rebuild their lives back, rebuild the houses. What we learned in the construction training is that it is us who first step in when there is a crisis inside the house. When the men, when our fathers are gone or have left, the women, the daughters, the sisters are left behind to get on. Construction is very expensive to pay on your own, to pay for a consultant architect so we also come to break the financial barrier to pay for needed reconstruction. We advocate women's construction and for resourcing in the community, we're resourcing the communities that sustain lives. The safety of the women is the heart of our discourse and practice and to lift up every barrier of what women should do in the community.

Noelene: How are you organizing now? Can you put your mike a little closer to your mouth? Interpreters are asking. Please tell us how you actually organize, meet and make your decisions. What is it about your organizing that you would say is feminist?

Kalokalo: The Feminist organizers from the Women Defending Commons group are supporting us once a month in the meetings and also providing the desk allowance for women to travel to the meeting safely. Building together a feminist framework and background and that this practice guides us in every part. We make sure everyone has the four main areas covered to do the work: availability, understanding of the need, the technical skills to do it and equity as a principle. We provide allowances for women for investing their time and skills in assisting the community to rebuild after the cyclone. We make sure they have wash facilities, bathrooms, menstrual hygiene products, that they are safe overall. We train and talk a lot about feminist principles before we even go into the communities. 

So right now in 2020, apart from the group that was part of 2018 Women's Builder Program, 11 went back to the ATPC training to increase their skill levels, six of them are mothers. This year, we learnt from 2018 and childcare was also factored in the allowance for them to be able to attend.



Rise: From One Island To Another

  • Listen to these poets connect the struggles of losing their homelands to the climate crisis. As the ice melts, islands sink. Two different terrains and cultures but facing the imminent threat of climate crisis. Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, from Marshall Islands & Aka Niviâna from Kalaallit Nunaa (Greenland), speaking truth to power. 

Champions for Change: Noelene Nabulivou, Fiji

  • This short documentary by the International Women's Health Coalition honours DIVA for their amazing disaster response network and empowerment of local communities. 




Feminists Want System Change

  • What makes you angry? Saku from the Centre for Human Rights and Development, answers about the increasing attacks on the WHRDs and environmental activists in Mongolia fighting against the mining corporations. Her interview is in the backdrop of the Asia-Pacific Beijing+25 Platform for Action regional meeting in September 2019. 

The Rainbows & Storms playlist

  • Get inspired by a selection of songs by AWID staff and partners about Planet Earth and its power


Poem by Kamla Bhasin, developmental feminist and poet 

Poem in Hindi and English by Kamla Bhasin



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