Women from Nabalesere, Naga and Nubutautau, all villages partnering with Talanoa Treks, recently made the trek to Suva to plan a new initiative focusing on women’s leadership in sustainable tourism. The visit was supported by the Fiji Women’s Fund, an initiative of the Australian Government funded Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women) Program.
In addition to discussing ideas for the type of space they need and how they will manage the project, the women were hosted by the Australia-Pacific Technical College at their training kitchen and restaurant to get an insider perspective of a commercial kitchen. We’re grateful to the experts that gave their time to support these discussions, and will be involved as each village’s project develops.
Over the next 18 months, women will lead several areas of work in their communities. First, they’ll be upgrading the shared kitchen facilities they use to prepare food when guests visit during their hikes, ensuring they have a safe and appropriate space to work as their tourism businesses grow. As part of the process, they will oversee the construction and enhance their project management skills. Following on from a commitment in 2017 to encourage and support more female guides, the women have chosen to address one of the barriers to this, by exploring ways to improve health and wellness in their villages. We had a great boxfit session thanks to Commonwealth Games bronze medalist, Winston Hill. Over the year, various fitness instructors and nutrition specialists will be joining us in the highlands to share their knowledge and support the women meet their health and wellness goals.
Lastly, the meeting in Suva created the space for women from each village to share experiences, issues, and solutions, particularly in relation to their tourism businesses, as well as interact with businesswomen and female mentors. This sharing and talanoa strengthens the network across the communities and allows the women – who are experts in this type of sustainable tourism – to develop solutions from within.