FEATURE STORY February 28, 2018

Inspiring women in the Pacific: Sharon's story


The World Bank

As part of our ongoing series, #PacificPossible, we are sharing insights from some of the region’s young and emerging leaders, for their take on what’s possible for the future of the Pacific Islands. For International Women’s Day 2018 – we are getting to know some of the young women leaders that are making an impact in the Pacific. Sharon Shyamni Narayan is a Project Manager and runs an alternative media company in Fiji called The Genda Project.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My professional background is construction management and I work part-time as a Projects Manager for a local building company.

I also run a small alternative media company in Fiji called The Genda Project. We create spaces and platforms for live storytelling and ideas sharing to inspire and motivate Fijians to live and work with more purposeful choices.


What gets you up in the morning?

No one working day is the same for me. I could be at a concrete pour on site one morning, going through video edits for The Genda Project’s YouTube channel the next or writing for my blogs and websites the other.

Not being limited to doing the same thing everyday keeps me motivated.


What are you working hard to achieve?

To spread happiness! I strive to inspire Fijians to ‘find themselves’.


What is your greatest personal or professional achievement, and why?

I don’t exactly come from a media background. I started blogging some years ago just to share some travel stories with friends and family. Today, I write professionally for different websites and curate and produce content for The Genda Project. I’m grateful for being able to take something that I enjoy (writing) and turn it into a professional venture.

And I’m very proud of the quality of work we produce. My team is made up of young, creative people including designers, editors, and sound engineers who deeply value their work and continually work on experimenting with new things as we grow. As an alternative media company, our videos are just as good if not better than traditional media productions locally.

Our content is fresh and provides our audiences a good, quality local alternative.

I take pride that I give back in a small way by creating these platforms to celebrate amazing individuals who they are, just the way they are.


What are the biggest issues in Fiji right now? How can they be addressed?

I feel there is a growing disconnect between Fiji and our people. I find especially young people not passionate about adding back to their country. ‘Brain drain’ still remains a huge problem.

As a storyteller, I feel we have to relook at our definitions. How we define personal success, how we define our national identity and what our value systems in this country are.

A country’s progress cannot just be measured by its economic growth. We need to factor in our heritage, culture and arts at a national level in everything we do. We need to urgently re-connect our people back to our sense of who we are and in a small way we’re trying to do that with The Genda Project.


What does the future look like for Fiji? What’s possible?

I’d like to believe in the possibility of Fijians taking full ownership of their lives; proud, hard- working individuals investing back in their land, culture and heritage. A generation of individuals beyond race and politics who don’t measure success with just monetary gains.

I really hope in the future, people in Fiji come to a realization that we don’t need to play by other nations’ rulebooks. We are a unique country and the only comparative that we should have is with ourselves and our happiness.


Where do you see the Pacific, as a region, in 25 years?

I see the Pacific as a strong, confident and unapologetic region in the world, functioning on its own terms.

Pacific Islanders are rising up to take ownership of who they are and taking charge of issues directly affecting us. We are hearing various voices; young voices coming of out the region questioning our status quo, who’ll help define us in the next 25 years and it’s very inspiring to see the Pacific finally rising and being a part of this change.


If you could only be remembered for one thing what would it be?

I hope through my work with The Genda Project, I’m able to reach across the screens and touch people’s hearts (as corny as this may sound!) to remind them to live their lives in a way that fills them with joy.



The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of the World Bank Group and its employees.