The thirteen, 30-minute episodes, provided an interactive dialogue platform for discussions between a diverse range of people and organisations, including community leaders, women, youths, and people with disabilities in Fiji. Discussion topics included climate change, preventing violence against women, and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The televised ‘Talanoa’, a Fijian word denoting processes of inclusive and transparent dialogue and storytelling, was partly a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Adi Vasulevu, the Executive Director of Transcend Oceania, explains:
“Transcend Oceania, as a peacebuilding organisation, could not turn away from the rising conflicts, violence and trauma during the time of COVID-19. Adapting to the change brought about by the shutdown, and creating an innovative Talanoa space was important to amplify community voices and keep issues visible.”
The Pacific region is facing an era of significant environmental and settlement change as a result of a combination of factors, including climate change, resource management, population growth, migration and ongoing changes in community life, governance structures, and culture. During these challenging times of social distancing and restrictions, the Justpeace Talanoa Bure @ COVID-19 TV show, provided a dialogue platform to understand and amplify community perspectives on climate change, relocations, and resource-based conflict, within the arenas of social, spiritual and cultural implications.
During the televised Talanoa, community leaders highlighted areas where communities felt they needed more support, such as capacity building, skills trainings, and tools needed for sustainable adaptation, understanding their conflict and peacebuilding approaches. Selita Donu, Director of Hakwa Foundation, a newly established NGO in the province of Nadroga, participated in the talanoa discussions:
“In representing the women and youth in my province, the JustPeace Talanoa Bure has provided an opportune platform to share our views and to be able to communicate and share priorities, knowledge and ideas during this challenging time.”
As well as being televised on Fiji TV, the talanoa episodes were also broadcast on social media and all thirteen episodes can be viewed on the Transcend Oceania YouTube channel. Another six episodes were produced and are due to be aired shortly.