- FIJI AND KOREA TO PROVIDE LOW COST SEWAGE TREATMENT TECHNOLOGIES – Fiji?s Department of Water and Sewerage, in partnership with the Korean Environment Corporation (KECO), will provide a low cost and environment-friendly treatment for sewerage systems in rural areas of Fiji later this year.
- EDUCATION MINISTRY CARRIES OUT OUTREACH PROGRAM IN SOUTHERN LAU – Officials from the Ministry of Education recently visited communities in the Southern Lau group to create awareness on the services and direction of the Ministry of Education.
- AQEP PROVIDES DIGITAL ASSISTANCE TO LAU SCHOOLS – Schools in the islands of Kabara, Namuka and Komo were given a laptop and printer each by the Access and Quality Education Program(AQEP) Team.
- DONORS COMMENDED FOR RESPONSE TO NATIONAL DENGUE CASES – The Minister for Health, Dr Neil Sharma this week acknowledged and thanked various donor agencies for their support and assistance towards the Fijian Government?s response to recent dengue fever cases.
- MINISTRY RECORDS IMPROVEMENT IN LAU SCHOOL ATTENDANCE – The school attendance in the southern Lau group has greatly improved in this new academic year.
- Vivekananda Training Centre becomes first in Fiji National Certificate – Vivekananda Technical Centre (VTC) which was formerly known as Nawaicoba Vocational Centre is the first Tertiary institution to have acquired the Fiji National Certificate status endorsed by the Fiji Higher Education Commission.
- Youth training impacts Vatutavui Village – The Ministry of Youth and Sports recently organised a week-long Seeds of Success training for the young people at Vatutavui village in Tavua.
- PSC?s Green Initiative Team Launches its Activities – The Public Service Commission is taking a step towards ensuring that all activities and processes carried out use a ?green energy? approach.
1 FIJI AND KOREA TO PROVIDE LOW COST SEWAGE TREATMENT TECHNOLOGIES
Fiji?s Department of Water and Sewerage, in partnership with the Korean Environment Corporation (KECO), will provide a low cost and environment-friendly treatment for sewerage systems in rural areas of Fiji later this year.
Further discussion on this issue is a major part of a two day final workshop on ?Low Cost Sewerage Treatment Technologies for Rural Water and Sanitation Schemes?, which began in Lami today.
As he opened the workshop, the Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities said today?s meet was a result of a Research Contract Agreement signed between Fiji and KECO on the 17th of December, 2013.
?I would like to acknowledge KECO for the opportunity in collaborating with my ministry in conducting research on a newly improved Sanitation Technology called Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR). This technology should develop a Low Cost and Environmentally friendly treatment for sewerage systems in Fiji which has been researched, trialed and applied successfully in Korea,? Mr Natuva said.
KECO has provided over $7000 for the implementation of a low cost waste water treatment pilot project in rural areas here.
?The introduction of this new technological system in the treatment of Waste Water in Fiji under this Seoul Initiative could reduce the threat of pollution to our water source, and environment and thus improve the health standard of living for our Rural and Urban dwellers,? Minister Natuva said.
He highlighted that the project is designed for capacity building of local staff in the areas of research and training on water and sewerage technology to support Green Growth in Fiji, which is critical for sustainable development.
Mr Natuva also pointed out that sanitation facilities in rural areas had been improving from pit latrines to water seal and septic tanks.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Fiji, His Excellency Mr Seong-in Kim was at the workshop today and said the Green Growth initiative in Fiji will help promote effective environmental policies.
?Since 2008, KECO has conducted 22 pilot projects in 14 countries and this year, it is working in countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka and Fiji. Water pollution and waste dumping has been identified as the threatening cause of environmental damage to Fiji through this project,? H.E Seong-in Kim said.
?Appropriate measures to improve sewage treatment systems and technical developments are essential.?
Director Water and Sewerage, Apisai Ketenilagi said the improved sanitation technology successfully implemented in Korea is currently being trialed at the laboratory here.
?Some laboratory piloting tests are being conducted before it can be trialed in one of the villages in Fiji. These sanitation technology systems are user-friendly, not very complicated, low cost as well as good for effectively and sustainably used in rural communities. The maintenance and operation methods are also simple,? Mr Ketenilagi said.
Close to 40 participants from key stakeholders involved directly in the operation and maintenance of water and wastewater systems and the close monitoring of its effects on the environment are taking part in the workshop.
2 EDUCATION MINISTRY CARRIES OUT OUTREACH PROGRAM IN SOUTHERN LAU
Officials from the Ministry of Education recently visited communities in the Southern Lau group to create awareness on the services and direction of the Ministry of Education.
The visit was a joint operation between the Ministry of Education and the Australian Aid funded Access to Quality Education Programme. The islands visited included Kabara, Namuka and Komo.
The awareness programme gave the opportunity to the community in the three islands to understand the services and direction of the Ministry of Education. It has also prompted the communities to form small groups in their villages to assist teachers in the academic development of their children.
The Manager of Vunigigia Village School, Mr Sireli Toga applauded Government reforms in particular those reforms taking place at the Ministry of Education.
?I am indeed thankful to the Ministry of Education for the constant visits made to the school. This has really injected motivation to the community here in Udu to work together in assisting the achievement level of our students.
We don?t normally get constant visits to our school in the past and with these new reforms and initiatives, we are thankful that education officers make constant visits to us now to provide professional guidance on how we can best assist in the learning of our children here in Kabara?, Mr Toga said.
The Head Teacher at Komo Village School, Mr Ilaisa Mateni commended the visiting team for the information disseminated to the teachers and community in Komo.
?I wish to express our appreciation for the empowerment and encouragement given to us through the mentoring exercise and the resources given will be very handy in the improvement of our service delivery.
We are fortunate that we are getting constant visits from the education officials and this will allow us to synchronise our strategies to the vision and mission of the ministry as a whole?, Mr Mateni said.
3 AQEP PROVIDES DIGITAL ASSISTANCE TO LAU SCHOOLS
Schools in the islands of Kabara, Namuka and Komo were given a laptop and printer each by the Access and Quality Education Program(AQEP) Team.
This donation was presented to the schools during a joint visit to the islands by the AQEP team and officials of the Ministry of Education. AQEP is an Australian Aid funded programme assisting schools in remote areas on improving accessibility and quality in education.
Naikeleyaga Village School, Kabara District School, Vunigigia Village School,Namuka Village School and Komo Village School all received a laptop and printer each during the AQEP and Ministry of Education delegation visit last week.
The Ministry of Education permanent secretary Dr Brij Lal commended the contribution made by AQEP.
?I appreciate the initiative taken by AQEP to equip the schools with these laptops and printers. Fiji is committed towards making education equitable for all Fijians and with such assistance the Ministry of Education is very much appreciative,? commented the Permanent Secretary.
?We need to bridge the digital divide between the urban schools and the remote schools. This will allow the smooth transition of students from the remote areas to higher educational opportunities as they will have hands on experience on the latest technologies we now have,? added Dr Lal.
?We also have an allocation for computer in the grant given to the schools and this is where wisdom comes in for the school heads and managements to equip their schools with digital materials to empower students learning. We want all Fijian children to have access to the best learning material available and for this I acknowledge the contribution of AQEP to the 5 schools in southern Lau,? Dr Lal said.
4 DONORS COMMENDED FOR RESPONSE TO NATIONAL DENGUE CASES
The Minister for Health, Dr Neil Sharma this week acknowledged and thanked various donor agencies for their support and assistance towards the Fijian Government?s response to recent dengue fever cases.
?I would like to thank you for your support in whatever form it has been and we look forward to your continued assistance so that our midterm and long term arrangements could be that people receive a better quality of life in Fiji and region?, Minister Sharma told representatives from various agencies including diplomats.
?We need to be able to continue with this effort and this meeting to bring you together to demonstrate what exactly we are doing and to be able to be transparent as far as the support you have provided whether it is financial or technical in nature.
The Minister briefed international partners and donors about the status of the endemic since the detection of the outbreak in December 2013.
?A National Dengue taskforce was put in place to be able to monitor, coordinate and assist our health team to get out to the periphery and be able to do justice to the disease entity and to rescue people who have been suffering from the disease.
?This included various measures such as advocacy, public health measures, the lab support, clinical services outreach and being able to coordinate this with our donors and partners, international partners and global agencies,? Dr Sharma said.
Dr Sharma outlined the six target areas that the response team aims at; surveillance, clinical management, lab reporting and management, public health response, logistics for dengue outbreak coordination and improved communication for dengue outbreaks.
The government approach and the partnership formed with public and corporate organizations have assisted in reducing figures and statistics for dengue cases.
5 MINISTRY RECORDS IMPROVEMENT IN LAU SCHOOL ATTENDANCE
The school attendance in the southern Lau group has greatly improved in this new academic year.
The finding was gathered by a group of education officers that visited the islands of Kabara, Komo and Namuka last week.
The five schools visited were Naikeleyaga Village School, Kabara District School, Vunigigia Village School,Namuka Village School and Komo Village School. The visiting team is a joint operation between the Ministry of Education and the Access to Quality Education Program (AQEP) which is an Australian Aid funded programme.
The school manager of Naikeleyaga Village School in Kabara, Mr Kameli Baleilautoka said that the free education initiative this year and the developments and resources funded by AQEP has transformed the image of the school which now captures the attention of the students.
?The school attendance has vastly improved compared to past years as now the students enjoy a new learning environment with adequate facilities.
The school is also fortunate that AQEP has sponsored the uniforms, bags and sandals of all the students. All these assistance has boosted the morale of our students which is now a motivating factor for them to attend school regularly,? remarked Mr Baleilautoka.
In the attendance register of the 5 schools, the attendance of students ranged from 89% to 100% in the first twelve weeks of the first school term. This according to the teachers on the islands is a vast improvement from previous years.
The Head Teacher of Vunigigia Village School, Mrs Seini Mamafainoa highlighted that students in the village of Udu in Kabara now enjoy coming to school because education is provided freely for them.
?In the past it was always hard to have regular attendance of students as some of their parents were faced with financial constraints in the payment of fees. This free education initiative this year has removed that barrier and allows students to enjoy this privilege provided by the government.
I also acknowledge the vast developments and resources poured in by AQEP as this has created an environment that is conducive to?learning which the students now enjoy and have loved very much,? Mrs Mamafainoa said.
This improved attendance ties in well with the aim of the Ministry of Education which is to ensure that education is made affordable, equitable and accessible to all Fijian students. The overall increase in primary and secondary roll nationwide in this first academic term is estimated at 32,000.
6 Vivekananda Training Centre becomes first in Fiji National Certificate
Vivekananda Technical Centre (VTC) which was formerly known as Nawaicoba Vocational Centre is the first Tertiary institution to have acquired the Fiji National Certificate status endorsed by the Fiji Higher Education Commission.
In visiting the institution on the 10th of April to sign a Memorandum of Agreement between the Ministry of Education and the heads of Vivekananda Technical Centre, the Ministry?s Permanent Secretary was impressed with the way the Centre was progressing quickly.
?I must thank the administrators, teachers and other stakeholders for your commitment and hard work.
I am also impressed with the modern facilities, equipment, and latest machines that this Centre provides for the teaching and learning of our people. This will certainly improve skills, knowledge and experience and enhance competency for the graduates? remarked Dr Lal.
`Courses that are graded as Fiji National Certificate 4 by the Fiji Higher Education Commission offered by VTC include Automotive Mechanics, Automotive Electrical Electronics, Cookery and Cabinet Making and Joinery.
Other provider courses include Certificate 3 in Advance Office Technology.
The Center endeavors to provide recognition of prior learning, up-skilling and certification for trades and also embarks to continually develop the curriculum and upgrade manpower and infrastructure resources to meet the current and future needs of the nation.
7 Youth training impacts Vatutavui Village
The Ministry of Youth and Sports recently organised a week-long Seeds of Success training for the young people at Vatutavui village in Tavua.
Vatutavui Youth Club president Josefa Sadulu Saunaqali highlighted how the training has empowered the young men and women in his community.
?Most of us have certificates and diplomas but are still without employment. We have acquired necessary life skills from tertiary institutions but most of us chose to return to the village.
?Just after the first day of our training, a friend and I baked pies and made roti & curry to sell to men and women in the village who often go fishing late at night. We collected $50 on Monday and $70 on Tuesday respectively from our sales.?
?The training has awakened us and created in us self-belief that we can do anything with the skills and training we have acquired academically and maybe find employment,? said Josefa.
He added that the young people now know how to use time wisely, to be disciplined and have faith in themselves.
The training was closed by the Ministry?s permanent secretary Mr Josefa Sania who also presented the 23 youths their certificates following the completion of their training.
8 PSC?s Green Initiative Team Launches its Activities
The Public Service Commission is taking a step towards ensuring that all activities and processes carried out use a ?green energy? approach.
The PSC Green Initiative team this week launched their 2014 Activities at the PSC headquarters in Berkeley Crescent.
The Green Initiative taskforce team, which has been in place since 2012, looks at recognising a sustainable Healthy Environment for the staff of PSC. It means operating its role in such way that it causes minimal harm to the Environment. The team feels the only way to succeed is to embrace sustainability.
The Team?s activities involve sharing ideas and suggestions with PSC Staff on a daily basis to encourage them to make more environmentally friendly, sustainable decisions. The Team also undertakes activities in and around PSC in their contribution to keep the environment clean. The Team?s 2014 Activities include Water Conservation, Building of more greenhouses, and energy conservation.
The Green Initiative Taskforce is just one of four Taskforces within the Public Service Commission organized by staff and joined on a voluntary basis that works to improve business processes and procedures.
Other Taskforce Teams include Business Process Re-engineering, Public Relations and Knowledge Management. The formation of these teams were an initiative by PSC to address issues that they faced as an organization and as a part of their Fiji Business Excellence Awards and Service Excellence Awards build up.