Travelling almost 10,000 kilometers to the other side of the globe, four members of the Philippine chapter of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) attended the organization’s Regional Conference in Entebbe, Uganda from October 2-5, 2018
Themed “IAWRT Looking into the Future,” the global event gathered 50 participants from five continents representing 11 of the 14 IAWRT chapters worldwide.
IAWRT International President Violet Gonda in her opening speech underscored the importance of the conference as a milestone in IAWRT’s events calendar.
“It is here that we will share with the members the work done in the last 10 months of the new leadership. More importantly, it is here that members will get involved in mapping out the road ahead for the association,” Gonda said.
IAWRT is moving quickly into the future, its officers said. At the conference, two new chapters were formally acknowledged, Afghanistan and Iraq-Kurdistan, represented by their respective chapter heads, Najiba Ayubi and Awaz Salim Abdulla.
The conference also created a new Committee for Chapter Development with the objective of strengthening chapter capacities and capabilities.
This brings the number of committees created by the current leadership to 12 in the span of just 10 months, which Gonda noted is the biggest in IAWRT history.
Some of the other committees created are the following: 1) Committee in Relation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women; 2) Scholarship Committee; 3) Gender Mainstreaming Committee; 4) Asian Film Festival Committee; 5) Rural Women and Media Committee; 6) Community Radio Committee; and 7) The Gender Based Online Harassments Committee.
Meanwhile, IAWRT’s 2018 full-length video documentary “Displacement and Resilience: Women Live For A New Day” was launched at the conference that features the stories of five women refugees from Syria, Tibet, Myanmar and the Philippines. Segments of the video were directed by five individual members from the said countries.
“Displacement and Resilience” presented the following:
- The stories of Mariam and Haifa, two Syrian women who fled Allepo and are now seeking refuge in two different countries, as told by Eva Anandi Brownstein and Khedija Lemkecher, respectively;
- The story of Namgyal from the Tibet Movement for Self Determination, as told by Afrah Shafiq of India;
- The story of Lumad indigenous peoples leader Bai Bibiaon, as told by Erika Rae Cruz of the Philippines; and
- The stories about the Rohingya Refugee Crises of Myanmar, as told by IAWRT Board member Archana Kapoor together with Chandita Mukherjee.
Mukherjee also served as the executive producer of the entire project who was responsible for combining these five stories into one documentary.
The International Board and the Philippine chapter launched Amplifying the People’s Voices: The Philippine Community Radio Experience and Challenges, a handbook on community radio prepared by IAWRT-Philippines recounting three decades of community radio experience in the country at the conference.
A workshop on community radio was conducted during the conference that showed participants how a community radio narrowcast program is organized and held. It was facilitated by IAWRT-USA’s Sheila Katzman with the Philippine Chapter delegates.
In addition, the conference approved two new organizational documents: the Code of Conduct and Election Guidelines.
Lastly, the membership also affirmed the International Board’s decision to set-up an International Secretariat office in the Philippines.
IAWRT-Philippines head Jola Diones Mangun welcomed the decision, saying “the Philippine chapter is elated and honored with the decision.”
“We will do our best for IAWRT as it charges towards the future,” Mamangun added.
The Conference ended with the members extending the term and mandate of the International Board until 2020. # (Report by Walkie Miraña / Slideshow by Lady Ann Salem)