FIJI NEWS SUMMARY-24/05/13

Caption: Minister Bole unveiling plaque for internet project launch. Photo: MINFO.

1. INTERNET ENABLES FREE ACCESSIBILITY TO INFORMATION

More than 170 students of Naiyala High School and 11 villages in the Wainibuka district, Tailevu now have easy and free access to information and services through the internet.

Launching the internet project at Naiyala High School today, Minister for Education, Filipe Bole said that the internet provision will allow for students to surf educational resources online and databases to assist with learning.

?From today, villagers around the nine schools of Naiyala High School, Wainibuka Secondary,Ra High School, Nalawa Central, Turagarua Primary, Namalata District, Nayavu District, Dobuilevu Muslim and Vunikavikaloa Muslim can walk into any of these school premises and have access to the internet,? Minister Bole said.

?Eleven more primary and secondary schools in Ra and Nausori Education District will have access to the internet Services by the end of June.?

Minister Bole added the internet services would go a long way towards making life easier for students, parents and entrepreneurs and any ordinary citizen.

?It will improve service delivery, provide more and better information, make government more efficient and improve people?s experience of and interaction with businesses, services providers and government,? Minister Bole said.

Minister Bole thanked Telecom Fiji Limited for their donation of two computers per school (along the Korovou ? Rakiraki highway) with the provision of free internet services and commended TFL?s commitment to Government?s ICT policy.

Naiyala High School head teacher, Mr Emosi Kuli said the internet provision will greatly assist the students in their different subjects.

?Students will now be able to improve their research skills and enhance their knowledge in all subjects, improving and lifting the standard of education here,? Mr Kuli said.

Tonia villager and parent of Naiyala High School, Ms Ana Rokotuiloma said the event was a dream come true for her as she can now have easy access to information through the internet.

?As a parent, this internet provision will assist my children in their projects, enabling them to have better access to information,? Ms Rokotuiloma said.

?I am glad that I can now download forms and also get in touch with my relatives overseas through this initiative by government and TFL.?

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2. GENEROUS DONATION TO BOOST FIJI LIBRARIES

New Zealand individual contributions in addition to continuous investment by Government will boost Fiji?s libraries.

Ministry of Information, National Archives and Library Services permanent secretary, Ms Sharon Smith-Johns today received a donation of ?FJD$20,000 worth of books by Ms Jill Bess, a New Zealand public librarian.

PS Smith Johns commended the huge donation by Ms Bess.

?It is an extremely generous offer from an individual to be able to give Fiji all these books. We know through library services how much books will be appreciated out there in the rural areas and outer islands,? Smith-Johns said.

?This is one of the main aim of Government; to raise literacy levels for our people. We want to make books like this available to every Fijian citizen especially in rural areas,? Ms Smith-Johns said.

PS Smith-Johns said the 8,000 library books sent by Ms Bess is the result of contributions by libraries and publishers like Geckos Press, Random House New Zealand and the United Book Distributers.

?This is Ms Bess?s second donation consignment to Fiji. The first one was last year for the Suva City Library,? Ms Smith-Johns said.

PS Smith-Johns said in the last 10 years capturing children?s imagination through books have changed for the better.

?Unlike in the old days, new books these days are helping kid?s alot. Children are learning without even realising they are,? the permanent secretary said.

PS Smith-Johns said the 8,000 library books will be distributed in the next fortnight to public libraries and municipal libraries throughout Fiji.

Public Libraries are in Labasa, Sigatoka, Lautoka, Nausori, Suva and Rakiraki while municipal libraries are located in Lautoka, Rakiraki, Tavua, Savusavu and Suva.

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3. POSITIVE FIRST QUARTER FOR INVESTMENT FIJI

The beginning of the year has turned out to be a positive one for Investment Fiji.

Chief executive officer, Ravuni Uluilakeba said the positive first quarter performance for 2013 began with Fiji being recognized as the ?Best Exhibitor? at the Yiwu Forest Fair that took place in China.

?For Fiji to be judged as the best exhibitor in China tells a lot in the way the forestry sector and the support from government counts as you look at the global arena where Fiji sits in,? Mr Uluilakeba said.

Mr Uluilakeba also attributed the Trade and Investment Mission to Papua New Guinea as a contributing element to the success of the first three months of the year.

?The Fiji-Papua New Guinea Mission that was led by the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and accompanied by private sector, was very positive,? he said.

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4. NAITAUVOLI JOINS THE BATTLE AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

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In the quest to create peaceful societies through eliminating all forms of violence, village leaders and elders in rural communities are signing up for the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign (ZTVFC).

On Wednesday this week, Naitauvoli village in Naitasiri province pledged its support for the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign.

Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni this week officially launched Naitauvoli village in Naitasiri province ?a Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community.

Dr Luveni congratulated the Naitauvoli village leaders and reiterated that the campaign will be instrumental in changing the mindset of people and motivate them to live in peace and harmony with each other.

?It will take one year behavior change preparation to declare absolute zero tolerance and strength of this campaign is the strong support from the male leaders.Confident women, free of abuse are resourceful and progressive, they will seek economic empowerment for sustainable development,? Dr Luveni said.

The campaign is strongly backed up by the Naitauvoli village headman, Jonacani Tamanivalu along with the women and youth leaders.

MrTamanivalu said his people support this campaign and are determined to work together in becoming a violence free community in Fiji.

?We have 300 people in this village and there are families we believe who may be facing issues of dispute and violence, yet is it not reported. This is the campaign through which we hope to break the silence of those hidden cases,? MrTamanivalu said.

?Everyone in the village is now aware that violence is not an acceptable behaviour. ?No violence? is our new village law and we are very serious about implementing all the measures to reinforce this law.?

Mrs Vatea Naibena, president of the Soqosoqo Vakamarama Naitauvoli revealed there are cases of domestic violence in Naitauvoli that are not been reported.

?This because the issue of violence has always been treated as a private matter until now, we have realized that we don?t have to suffer in silence, we have got our village leader who is heading the gate keeping committee and he is there to listen to our views. We hope that through awareness we will learn more about the new laws that protect women,? Mrs Naibena said.

Starting next month, the Ministry of Women will conduct awareness training programs in Naitauvoli village.

The trainings will focus on Gender Based Violence, Domestic Violence Decree, Child Welfare Decree, leadership skills and anger management skills.

The ministry will work with its stakeholders, namely Police, Ministry of Health, Department of Social Welfare, Provincial Development and Ministry of Agriculture to prepare the village to be declared as violence free.

Currently, there are over 34 communities that have pledged their support for this campaign with many more communities waiting to join in.

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5. DISCIPLINED FORCES COMPLETE TRAINING IN INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW

About twenty senior officers of the Fiji Military Forces, Fiji Police Force, Fiji Corrections Services and non-government organisations received certificates today after undergoing a week-long training on international humanitarian law.

The inaugural training, called the Law of Armed Conflict workshop, was facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

While closing the workshop at Queen Elizabeth Barracks in Nabua, Director General of the Fiji Red Cross, Mr Filipe Nainoca reminded the participants of the important role played by them when deployed for duties in foreign surroundings during conflicts.

Mr Nainoca said the training has a special significance for the participants as they now understand the implications of all that is required under international humanitarian law.

?This certificate has a very special significance because it certifies that you understand international humanitarian law and not only that, in your career as military or police officers, this holds high standing internationally,? Mr Nainoca said.

?This also means that you know how to save a life or what to do in an event of an emergency. In understanding international humanitarian law, you have the capacity to be able to save lives, more often in a war.?

Mr Nainoca highlighted that for the last 150 years, there has been a constant state of conflict in different areas throughout the world.

?More than 90 per cent of conflicts happening in the world today are within a country. No longer is it between one country and another.

?As such, it increases the responsibility of peacekeepers and holders of international humanitarian law certificates to help in the protection of lives,? Mr Nainoca added.

He also called on the officers to be mindful of Fiji?s reputation internationally as peacekeepers, for instance in Lebanon.

?Fiji is well recognised and has a high reputation in peacekeeping in Lebanon. May you in knowing what you know now, go out and continue this reputation internationally that we have of being peacekeepers.?

Press Release