Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality or 'DIVA for Equality'
as it is also known, was established in 2011 in Fiji by 10 lesbians, gender non-binary and transmasculine individuals, whose work grew out of shared interests in sports ranging from rugby, soccer, to volleyball and hockey, and a growing desire of a group of younger, high need and marginalised LBT women in Suva to work together on issues of human rights and social justice, with two women who were already part of south feminist social movement activism through Women’s Action for Change (WAC), FemlinkPacific and other groups.
DIVA for Equality (DIVA) was established in 2011 in Suva in the living room of Noelene Nabulivou and Shirley Tagi,
we had $10 FJD a month in transport allowances from a single supporter. Over years we grew together into a collective of Fiji feminists with a strong commitment to universal human rights and just and inclusive development. Our vision is “All women, all people, all human rights, social, economic, ecological and climate justice, everywhere”. DIVA works at the intersection of many aspects of human rights and justice movements - on sexual and reproductive health and rights, climate justice, land health and rights, ocean health and rights, development and economic justice, and women’s and girl’s rights, LGBTGI/SOGIESC related rights, Indigenous organising and rights, and ethnic minority organizing and rights.
We recognise that LGBTQI+ people and all women and girls
are heavily impacted by structural inequity in the context of human rights, social inequality within and between countries, economic and political instability and marginalisation and are among those most likely to be disenfranchised and unable to access housing, water and sanitation, safety and security, social services, social protection, education and job training, while also facing active misogyny and gender injustice, homophobia and transphobia. We also recognise that Fiji is a climate frontline society, faces already massive loss and damage, coloniality, militarism and hetero-patriarchy.
Due to our specific commitment to advancing human rights
relating to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) and the challenging political environment in Fiji for people and organisations working in this space in the past decade, DIVA only became a legally registered non-profit organisation in January 2020 (see registration certificate attached). After much preparation on the best time to register, we are now fully registered with the Government of Fiji, Revenue and Customs Authority and the Fiji National Provident Fund. We had access to pro bono legal services from Siwatibau & Sloan Lawyers in Suva, Fiji and we have strong allies within various State Ministries, in civil society groups and wider society. There are still considerable levels of safety and security needed for the MC and activists as we are in a highly patriarchal environment.
Since our establishment in Fiji in 2011,
DIVA’s growing reputation as a credible organisation supporting women, girls and Pacific Islanders of diverse SOGISEC has been recognised not just in Fiji but across the Pacific and globally. We prioritise grounded research and analysis, practical information-sharing, support and accompaniment across a region that has many women activists isolated and outside mainstream women’s social movements, and we are part of the change. DIVA has national and regional LGBTQI+, feminist and wider human rights networks with whom we work closely and actively throughout the Pacific small island states, in-person before the COVID19 pandemic and now online - through seven major listserves across 22 PSIDS states and territories, 4 of which we maintain and moderate. We also moderate a confidential, closed online regional platform of LBTQ+ activists that actively shares resources and information and co-moderate the LGBT Pacific online Facebook group, and the public ‘Pacific Urgent Action Hub for Ecological Justice’ with around 3,000 public members.
We founded and moderate the Pacific CSW Informal Listserve since 2016
which now includes key/high-level and grassroots activists, Government representatives, CSOs, INGOs, development sector, academics and UN agency members and widely disseminates CSW-related content to over 110 organisational and individual members. In 2021-22 we are also the convenors of the Pacific Feminist Community of Practice (PacFemCOP) with 95 members from 45 organisations across Pacific small island states and territories, and we are members of the Pacific Islands Feminist Alliance on Climate Change, and Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN), where we established and Chair the PICAN/DIVA Gender and Climate Justice Working Group. Transnationally, we are also actively working with the Women’s Major Group on Sustainable Development (into the UN HLPF process), the Women’s Rights Caucus and SOGI Caucus at the Commission on the Status of Women, and the Women and Gender Constituency to the UNFCCC, among others.
DIVA for Equality was founded in Suva and we were based there until December 2021,
when we moved to Nadi, Fiji, to a new, large and multipurpose DIVA DHive Community Centre. In 2021-23 we are also establishing the FARMarama Eco Centre, in Namulomulo, Tailevu, Fiji. This 10 acre multipurpose rural eco-centre will include an Emergency Evacuation Centre/Conference Centre for women-at-risk, LGBTQI+ people and locals, a permaculture and agroecology farm, Feminist Wellness Garden, experimental technology workshop, and much more. DIVA for Equality continues to work on issues of social, economic, ecological and climate justice, to urgently move forward work to address loss and damage, and toward viable, just, safe feminist futures for all.