Pacific Media Watch
Pacific Media Watch contributing editor Josephine Latu has been signed on to become one of 18 mentors in a pilot programme launched this week by Tonga’s Women and Children Crisis Centre.
The inaugural I-YEL program will run over a period of 12 months and will aim to encourage, prepare and challenge young people to be advocates for human rights with a special focus on women and children’s rights, social justice, gender equality and the overall goal of promoting the elimination of violence against women and children.
As part of the I-YEL’s Ta’okete (big sister) Mentoring scheme, 18 young women from the ages of 18-35 will each be paired up with another “inspiring female leader”, who can provide one-on-one mentoring and coaching in the career path the girls wish to follow.
PMW’s Josephine Latu has been paired with deputy editor of the Taimi 'o Tonga, Telesia Adams.
‘Shocking’ domestic violence
Adams started work with the Taimi as a court reporter in 2006, where she was “shocked” at the number of domestic abuse cases against women and children in Tonga.
“I reported their stories making use of the power I have as a journalist to let their voices be heard… In the back of my head there's the question what more can I do?”she said.
She then signed up for the I-YEL programme to expand her background on human rights issues.
Adams said that Tongan media is “dominated” by women, and people are becoming used to seeing young women in the profession.
Director of the WCCC, ‘Ofa-Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki said “through leadership development, career exploration and vision-setting, we hope that the I-YEL 2010-2011 in-take will be equipped with the appropriate skills to make wiser decisions – decisions that will help them live a life free from violence and abuse and to promote gender equality throughout Tonga.”
Other mentors include veteran broadcaster Katalina Tohi, NZ award-winning poet and writer Karlo Mila Schaaf who will be mentoring her partner online, Koe Kakai editor and political activist Mele Amanaki, human rights activist Betty Blake, and Tonga National Youth Congress director Vanessa Lolohea.
Women and Children Crisis Centre, Tonga
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