KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--On Saturday 5 March 2022, participants of the program “ Creating Agents for Change”(CAFC) premiered their media advocacy work at ReFest: #BreakTheBias, a two-day festival held in conjunction with International Women’s Day at the Grey Box, GMBB.
The premier video screening marks the completion of the CAFC program, a 5-month capacity-building initiative which aims to empower young women to become media-savvy advocates in the fight for equality.
Activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir and U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia Brian McFeeters were both present to deliver remarks.
The program was the brainchild of Lina Tan, founder of 3R Media and women’s rights organization EMPOWER Malaysia with the support of the U.S. Embassy.
CAFC has equipped 20 Malaysian women between 18 to 30 years old with a thorough knowledge of gender rights and media skills training since its launch in October 2021.
The program has culminated with the participants having produced their own advocacy videos on select gender issues in Malaysia such as online sexual gender-based violence, indigenous and minority representation, and child marriages.
These videos were developed together with the guidance of mentors experienced in women empowerment and creating media content for social change such as Rafidah Abdullah, Kartini Ariffin and Angie Choo.
Through the critical exercise of dissecting the gender issue for video storytelling and advocacy, participants have had the chance to further refine their media advocacy skills and build their own advocacy resources for future campaigns and movements.
In her speech, Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir stressed that she believes that in the 21st century, change will need to come from young women. But given that it takes training to know how to effect that change, especially through the media, programmes like CAFC is a much needed step towards giving these agents of change the tools they will need.
EMPOWER’s Project Coordinator Denise Lee said “Working on Creating Agents for Change has been an eye-opening 5-month journey with these compassionate, resilient young women participants.
We hope that this program has provided them the safe space and the platform to truly exercise their right to express freely, to act on their own decisions, and to tell their story, as well as doing justice to the stories of others.”
U.S. Ambassador Brian McFeeters highlighted “ From the embassy’s perspective, recognizing the importance of uplifting and empowering women is a continuous priority.
We can equip women with tools they need to create change, but we also need to push for full participation and acceptance from all members of society. And, this program, Creating Agents for Change, has helped to continue our overall campaign as a signature program to advocate for gender equality.”
The program is part of the U.S. Embassy’s Wanita Empowered Campaign, which seeks to address barriers that restrict women’s role in society and as economic contributors to the nation’s progress.
The embassy is committed to strengthening the capacity of local organizations to advocate for policy reforms, discussions, and strengthening institutional and individual skill.