1.?MINISTER PRAISES TALENTS IN RURAL COMMUNITIES?-?The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Jiko Luveni is impressed to see that women in rural and maritime communities are determined and enthusiastic to participate in Government?s programs on economic empowerment and poverty alleviation.
2.?DR LUVENI TO TOUR WESTERN DIVISION?- The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni will be touring the Western Division from Thursday 5th?to Friday 6th?June, 2014.
3.?182 PARTICIPANTS EXPECTED FOR THE WOMEN?S AND CHILDREN?S SUMMIT IN AUGUST?-?The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation is expecting a total of 182 participants for the Women?s and Children?s Summit to be held in Suva from for 6th?to 8th?August this year.
4.?GOVERNMENT ROADSHOW AT THE UPPER NAITASIRI PROVINCE?-?The Laselevu Government Road Show was an opportune event for people in the Province of Naitasiri to enquire about Government services and its benefits.
1.?MINISTER PRAISES TALENTS IN RURAL COMMUNITIES
The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Jiko Luveni is impressed to see that women in rural and maritime communities are determined and enthusiastic to participate in Government?s programs on economic empowerment and poverty alleviation.
Minister Luveni?s comments came after her recent visit to the women?s groups from the five villages (Nacamaki, Tuatua, Sinuvaca, Navaga and Mudu) on Koro Island, Lomaiviti Group earlier this week.
?I am glad to say that women in rural and maritime areas are very resourceful. All they need is government?s assistance to add value to their skills and products.?Through my discussions with them, I have seen them opening up to new ideas to earn income by utilizing the resources available around them,? Minister Luveni said.
?They are committing themselves to various income generating programs coordinated within their groups and are also passionate to learn new skills to earn income. They know that the Government is providing them with the assistance they need to progress by taking one step at a time with their income generating projects. And this has actually motivated them to use their talents wisely by engaging in economic activities to financially support their families.?
Minister Luveni revealed that the Ministry is now assisting women?s groups to commercialize their income generating products.
?Within the last 3 to 4 years, the Ministry has helped them start off with small to medium enterprises like beekeeping, Virgin Coconut Oil production, poultry, vegetable farming and handicrafts to name a few, which has helped them supplement their family income. Most of the women?s groups are now ready to go a step further into entrepreneurship to produce items for export markets that will ensure a much higher returns for their products. The Ministry has also worked on various training programs for women to help them meet the standard quality and quantity for export driven products.
?The continued networking with these communities have boosted their morale and increased women?s profiling which is currently evident in Fiji now, given that women are enthusiastic in the way they engage themselves in various development programs to improve the livelihood of their families. And this has been a huge encouragement for the Ministry to continue to provide them with the assistance they require,? Minister Luveni said.
Dr Luveni said the programs are designed in such a way that it inculcates gender equality and instills greater understanding between the males and females.
?For example, the solar electrification program enabled the women to become Fiji?s first solar engineers, a career which is usually male dominated. The women?s resource centres which are primarily built to assist women are constructed by the men in their villages. The program capitalizes on male support to increase the women?s economic visibility in their communities. Similarly, the violence free community campaign that is becoming popular among communities is being championed by the male leaders like the?Turaga-ni-koros?(village headmen) and church leaders,? Dr Luveni explained.
2.?DR LUVENI TO TOUR WESTERN DIVISION
The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni will be touring the Western Division from Thursday 5th?to Friday 6th?June, 2014.
Her official tour will begin by visiting Vanuakula Village and Seniyaya Settlement in Lautoka?on Thursday. These two communities have successfully completed the 10 phases of the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign (ZTVFC) within the period of 10 months to qualify as a violence free community in Fiji.
Dr Luveni also visited these communities last year and officially launched the campaign, which is coordinated by the ministry in partnership with the Fiji Police Force and Non-Government Organisations such as the Fiji Women?s Crisis Centre and Empower Pacific.
A similar program will also be held at Dreketi Settlement in Lautoka?on Friday?before Dr Luveni returns to Suva.
Minister Luveni said the campaign was becoming popular among communities in Fiji and it aimed to strengthen community support to stop all forms of violence against women and children.
?A community that would like to join this campaign has to form a gatekeepers committee first in their communities and it is through this committee that we put together a 10 phase program which may take up to 10 months of awareness programs to complete before the community qualifies for the declaration phase,? Dr Luveni said.
?Most of these gatekeepers committees are headed by men. There is awareness programs carried out for men, women and youths so that we can bring the issue to the forefront and that people are comfortable in talking about it in public. And the young people and women representatives work in partnership with Fiji police to effectively implement all the phases of the campaign.?
Apart from awareness programs, the campaign also opens up income generating opportunities for women?s groups.
?One of the key phases of the campaign is economic empowerment of women. The ministry provides them with assistance to start their income generating projects and also through the construction of women centres. These centres are built with the vision to institutionalize women?s groups providing them with the required infrastructure to be able to organise themselves well and be more resourceful,? Dr Luveni said.
She said that community awareness programs have led to increase in reporting of cases to the police.
?Due to increased awareness, more women are now reporting the cases and because it is a public health issue and women and young people are now more comfortable in reporting these cases,? Dr Luveni said.
The 10 major phases carried out during the implementation of Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign are:?Initial planning process, identification of stakeholders, stakeholders meeting, establishment of gatekeepers committee, community consultation, official commitment, stakeholders training on gender based violence, community training on gender based violence, economic and social empowerment program and finally the declaration of the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community.
Any community that wishes to join this campaign is advised to call the Ministry Headquarters on?3312199?or visit their nearest divisional and district women offices.??
3.?182 PARTICIPANTS EXPECTED FOR THE WOMEN?S AND CHILDREN?S SUMMIT IN AUGUST
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation is expecting a total of 182 participants for the Women?s and Children?s Summit to be held in Suva from for 6th?to 8th?August this year.
The Summit is one of the key events aligned with Fiji?s first National Women?s Expo and Rural Women?s Designer Awards, which will be held at Vodafone Arena, Suva. The summit is the first to be organised by Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation in partnership with various stakeholders like the Fiji Police Force, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and some non-government organisations.
It is coordinated under the leadership of Minister Dr Jiko Luveni, who is actively engaged in the awareness programs in various communities throughout Fiji through the violence free campaign with a total of 69 communities listed on this campaign so far.
The theme for the summit is ?Towards a future free from violence, abuse and exploitation of women and children.?
Minister Luveni said the summit aims to up-skill the gatekeepers and community facilitators, enhance their roles and help them develop a work plan in terms of championing violence free initiatives.
The program presentation will focus on positive parenting, gender based violence, Child Welfare Decree, Domestic Violence Decree and also awareness on the community facilitators package. There will be panel discussions among participants, 132 of who are the gatekeepers from declared communities while 50 of them are community facilitators under the Department of Social Welfare?s Child Services Unit.
Since 2009, the ministry is spearheading Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign (ZTVFC) that has reached out to various communities in both urban and rural areas enabling the communities to undergo 8 to 10 months of awareness programs before being declared violence free community.
Apart from the Women?s and Children?s Summit, the ministry in partnership with the Ministry of iIaukei Affairs has for the first time organised a?Marama-ni-Yavusa?training for 86 traditional women leaders in Fiji, which will complement the National Women?s Expo.
4.?GOVERNMENT ROADSHOW AT THE UPPER NAITASIRI PROVINCE
The Laselevu Government Road Show was an opportune event for people in the Province of Naitasiri to enquire about Government services and its benefits.
The two day road show was organized last week by the Ministry of Provincial and Maritime Development and the Divisional Commissioner Central?s office.
Senior agriculture officer Naitasiri, Adriano Tabualevu said the Ministry of Agriculture played a vital role in the upper Naitasiri region because most of them entirely depended on agriculture for their livelihood.
?They may be far in terms of the geographical location but the road show is the day for all ministries to come and showcase what they have in terms of programs, services and various issues that can be dealt face to face,? Mr Tabualevu said.
He said the ministry was now focusing more on operations of farming and livestock rearing.
Mr Tabualevu said the ministry aimed to contribute to the government objective of increasing export and reducing import.
?We have an opportunity here in commodities like ginger and dalo to do this. We have the climate and soil and together with manpower, it is now just a matter of developing and improving infrastructure.
?Improvements in infrastructure will enhance development to reduce poverty and imports and increase production for export,? Mr Tabualevu said.
Various government ministries and other stakeholders exhibited their services at the road show in Laselevu last week.