In December, EWMI held a five-day training workshop to improve the dialogue facilitation skills of a group of Fijians in hopes of expanding the team of facilitators available to Dialogue Fiji, a local coalition representing the NGO community, private sector, and faith-based organizations. Participants discussed definitions of dialogue in the Fijian context, practiced skills for facilitators, experienced dialogue processes first hand, and built a collegial group of peer dialogue facilitators. Individuals from various sectors of Fijian society participated, including representatives of the Fijian police, the ministry of Fijian affairs, the labor movement, various religious and ethnic groups, and a selection of NGOs. In addition to training individuals who can help Dialogue Fiji conduct its dialogue meetings around the country, the workshop succeeded in exposing Fijians from different backgrounds to diverse views in an environment that was designed to promote learning and build trust.
The workshop was organized through EWMI’s Promoting Dialogue and Tolerance in Fiji (PDTF) project, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State and promotes democracy, human rights and increased inter-ethnic tolerance in Fiji through improved capacity and effectiveness of local NGOs. The project aims to expand the capacity of Dialogue Fiji, and to increase the quality, outreach and participation level of Dialogue Fiji’s events. Founded in 2008, Dialogue Fiji has successfully held dialogue events with participants from political parties, NGOs, the private sector, and members of the interim government.