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“This year’s theme for International Day of the Girl sheds light on the importance of investing in the rights, leadership and well-being of our girls in all their diversities,” said ‘Ana Malia Falemaka, member of the Pacific Women Lead Governance Board and Chair of the board’s Youth Working Group.
As the facilitator for the International Day of the Girl regional event, she added: “I applaud the girls in the Pacific Girl Reference Group for their creativity and hard work in filming videos to commemorate this special day, and I believe art is very essential in telling a story and really influencing the audience.”
Led by girls and supported by the Pacific Girl programme, the International Day of the Girl Pacific Film Festival was held in Tonga on 11 October based on this year’s theme of Invest in Girls' Rights: Our Leadership, Our Well-being.
For the film festival, members of the Pacific Girl Reference Group this week produced two short films. They filmed and edited their films to highlight key issues important to Pacific Islander adolescent girls and young women. Other archival footage from the Pacific Girl programme was also displayed.
“International Day of the Girl Child is an important day for us as it reaffirms the need to have girls at the helm, making decisions that affect their lives,” Pacific Girl Project Coordinator Lanita Waleanisia said. “We’re even more excited and grateful that we are able to celebrate this important milestone together in Tonga this year.”
While officially opening the film festival, Tonga’s Minister for Internal Affairs, Honourable Lord Vaea, said: “The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their livelihood. We know from research here in the Pacific that girls face many challenges, including high rates of violence and a lack of accessibility through services, including resources.”
To hone their videography and editing skills to produce the videos, Pacific Way TV – Editor and Camera Operator Lorima Dalituicama held a training session in Tonga for the Reference Group ahead of the International Day.
“By showing our creativity, I hope it will inspire other girls and young women to work together and support each other,” said Jasmine Tai, one of two Pacific Girl Reference Group members nominated by the Talitha Project in Tonga.
“While putting together these short films, we have learned that teamwork is important in order to achieve something good,” said Jasnine Falemaka, the second Tonga-based group member.
The film festival was held in person in Tonga and streamed online, with the newly produced videos to be uploaded on Pacific Girl social media channels in the coming week.
Pacific Girl is a multi-country programme to support adolescent girls in Pacific Island countries to achieve their full potential. Designed for and by girls, Pacific Girl is the only regional programme in the Pacific dedicated to advancing the rights and opportunities of adolescent girls.
Pacific Girl is supported by the Australian Government and is managed by the Pacific Women Lead at the Pacific Community (SPC) programme (PWL at SPC).