1.?REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVES ENCOURAGED TO SHARE INFORMATION AND EXCHANGE EXPERIENCES -?Head of customs from around the Oceania region were reminded to learn from each other and highlight ways of improving security at the various borders.
2.?MINISTER ENCOURAGES RA YOUTHS TO VOTE -?The Minister for Youth and Sports, Viliame Naupoto has urged a community in Ra to exercise their rights and go to the polls in the coming General Elections.
3.?AWARENESS ON VECTOR BORNE DISEASES -?The launch of World Health Day at Naulu Nursing Station today provided an opportunity for health officials to educate the public on the significance of vector borne diseases.
4.?PLAN IN PROGRESS FOR THE REGIONAL BAREFOOT COLLEGE -?The plan to build a Regional Barefoot College in Fiji is shaping out well with cabinet approval already been secured by Ministry of Women to undertake this development.
1.?REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVES ENCOURAGED TO SHARE INFORMATION AND EXCHANGE EXPERIENCES
Head of customs from around the Oceania region were reminded to learn from each other and highlight ways of improving security at the various borders.
This was relayed by Fiji?s permanent secretary for Foreign Affairs, Amena Yauvoli during the official opening ceremony in Suva today.
?We are in interesting times. Globalisation has spurred technological revolution that has changed the way we do business,? Mr Yauvoli said.
?It has made the world much smaller but more worrying is that it has made the criminal web more sophisticated.?
Mr Yauvoli said the work of customs has evolved over the years and the importance of border control cannot be overstated.
?While on the other hand you are mandated to administer economic policies that engender economic growth and collect revenue to finance government budgets, you are similarly required to administer our porous borders without restraints,? Mr Yauvoli said.
He added because of our geographical maritime locations, Fiji was constantly used as transition points for criminal activity.
Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) chief executive officer, Jitoko Tikolevu said this meeting will highlight some staffing issues but moreover, the advancing use of technology and information sharing between our regional neighbours.
?We need to have common IT platform within the region can exchange information effectively because most commonly we are using different systems,? Mr Tikolevu said.
?We will also be highlighting some challenges that we encounter in our own administrations and this is a great opportunity to share our experiences.?
Mr Tikolevu said that with the increase in transitional crimes at our borders, local stakeholders will need to work together to fight this and find solutions to protect our borders.
Mr Yauvoli is adamant that during the three day meeting, countries will be able to address better ways of fighting transnational crimes.
2.?MINISTER ENCOURAGES RA YOUTHS TO VOTE
The Minister for Youth and Sports, Viliame Naupoto has urged a community in Ra to exercise their rights and go to the polls in the coming General Elections.
Mr Naupoto was at Nalalawa village in Ra?on Friday?(4th?April) to close the Seeds of Success training organised by the ministry for the youth of Tobu, Rokovuaka, Nawaca, Dama and Nalalawa villages.
?I urge you young people to get registered if you haven?t,? Mr Naupoto said. ?This is your opportunity to exercise your right as a citizen of Fiji and vote for your Government.?
?It is your right to go to the General Elections and vote for your future and vote for your leader,? he added.
Mr Naupoto also told the community in Nalalawa to stay tuned for more updates from the Elections Office on their awareness programs.
?This year?s elections will be different from others conducted in the past and I urge you all to attend the awareness programs when it comes to your community to avoid mistakes and confusion on elections day,? Mr Naupoto said.
Nalalawa village headman, Alivereti Waqa said, ?We are grateful for the minister?s timely advice especially for the young people as there is always a laxity on their part to vote.?
Mr Waqa added that he will be encouraging the young people to ensure they go to the polls.
3.?AWARENESS ON VECTOR BORNE DISEASES
The launch of World Health Day at Naulu Nursing Station today provided an opportunity for health officials to educate the public on the significance of vector borne diseases.
The ministry also used the opportunity to call on individuals to participate in advocating the Ministry of Health?s strategy to control vector borne diseases in Fiji.
Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma said to better address protection from vector borne diseases, the ministry with support from World Health Organisation (WHO) implemented intensive integrated vector control management and enhanced clinical management of dengue fever cases.
?Much work on integrated vector control is already taking place during the prevailing dengue outbreak in Fiji. Multi-sectoral collaboration and the harmonisation of strengths of the various stakeholders is a key driver in the battle against dengue-transmitting mosquito,? Dr Sharma said.
The Minister said vector-borne diseases can impose significant morbidity, mortality and financial burden amongst our population.
?The sustainable control of mosquitoes requires good sanitation, destroying breeding sites and use of repellents.?
He said resource investment is also needed to ensure a sustainable approach in the fight against vector borne diseases.
The World Health Day theme on vector borne disease is an opportune time for all Fijians to address the global health issue of vector borne diseases and reflect on dengue fever outbreak that affected the nation.
Commonly known vectors in Fiji are mosquitoes and ticks. In Fiji, tick-borne diseases are not as significant as mosquito-borne diseases. Mosquitoes transmit dengue fever and lymphatic filariasis, which are endemic to Fiji.
4.?PLAN IN PROGRESS FOR THE REGIONAL BAREFOOT COLLEGE
The plan to build a Regional Barefoot College in Fiji is shaping out well with cabinet approval already been secured by Ministry of Women to undertake this development.
The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Jiko Luveni said they have progressed work in partnership with India?s Barefoot College and the Government of India.
?We have secured the Cabinet approval to establish a Regional Barefoot College at Naleba Youth Training Centre in Macuata. Mr Bunker Roy, the executive director of the Barefoot College in Rajasthan in India has been to Fiji last year and had surveyed the facility,? Dr Luveni explained.
?Mr Roy has mapped out the infrastructural needs and we may need to construct three more new buildings at the current site to prepare accommodation facilities for managers and trainers at this Regional Barefoot College. He is also in the process of securing financial support from potential donors.?
Minister Luveni said the 10 local solar engineers that were sent to India, have demonstrated great leadership as women who had effectively delivered their role as solar engineers in their respective communities.
?There is a good lesson learnt from the selection criteria of this project because the 10 solar engineers are well established in their villages, we knew that once they returned from the 6 months training in India, we were not going to lose them to any employer as their first priority was to solar electrify their own villages,? Minister Luveni said.
?The solar engineer for example in Nabouono village right up at Udu Point in the North has not only solar electrified the households in her village but solar electrified the next village, (Yasawa) as well. The criteria was that each of these engineers were to solar electrify atleast 50 households so those that didn?t meet the numbers had to solar electrify the neighboring villages as well.?
The 10 solar engineers will be hired as solar electrification trainers at the Regional Barefoot College in Fiji.
?The College will cater for the pacific region and it?s going to provide training opportunities to women to acquire six months of skills in solar electrification. Regardless of their level of education, the women from Fiji and including those from pacific region will be able to step into career that previously was dominated by men,? Dr Luveni said.
The solar villages include Dama Village in Ra and Waikubukubu village in Ba and for Eastern Division the four villages in Kadavu are Baidamudamu, Lawaki, Nabouwalu and Naioti village. Similarly for the Northern Division the six villages are Vunidogoloa in Cakaudrove, Lutukina and Nabouono village in Macuata, Yasawa and Nakorovou village in Bua province.
The rollout of the solar electrification has been conducted under the flagship of Ministry of Women, UN Women, Barefoot College and Fiji Locally Managed Marine Areas Network (FLAMMA). The Barefoot College has provided training to over 52 countries around the world and over 650 women have been trained as solar engineers, reaching over 350, 000 people world-wide.