- FIJIAN VOLUNTEER TEACHERS BOUND FOR MARSHALL ISLANDS?-?The second batch of retired Fijian teachers, who will travel to the Marshall Islands to teach there, were reminded of their role in strengthening relations between the two countries.
- CLIMATE CHANGE A THREAT TO FIJI?S FOOD SECURITY?-??Unless action is taken soon, climate change will drastically affect our food security and above all, affect different communities in Fiji.?
- MAKOGAI STUDENTS TO BENEFIT FROM NEW BOAT?-?Students at Makogai District School will benefit from a new boat that was recently provided to them by the Ministry of Education.
- CIVIL SERVANTS SIT FOR MANDATORY SERVICE EXAMINATIONS?-?A total of 552 civil servants around the country sat for the mandatory ?Service H? Examinations this week as part of efforts to strengthen and develop Fiji?s civil service.
- $1.9M FOR RURAL AND MARITIME PROJECTS?-?More than $1.9million has been used to develop and implement various infrastructure projects in rural and maritime communities across the country.
- NAITASIRI FARMERS TRAINED ON MANAGING DALO FARMS FOR EXPORT?-?More than 50 farmers in the Province of Naitasiri were taught on the basics of dalo farming in a one day training recently held at Nasoqo village.
1?FIJIAN VOLUNTEER TEACHERS BOUND FOR MARSHALL ISLANDS
The second batch of retired Fijian teachers, who will travel to the Marshall Islands to teach there, were reminded of their role in strengthening relations between the two countries.
While presenting the air tickets at a ceremony today, the Public Service permanent secretary, Parmesh Chand said the volunteers?will provide their service to further enhance their capabilities in the Republic of Marshall Islands? education sector.
Mr Chand said the teachers, who are going under the Fiji Volunteer Service (FVS), will assist and be beneficial to the children of Marshall Islands.
?These retired teachers going on regional assignments have committed to go and serve in the Pacific Islands. These retired volunteers will be teaching Maths, History and English. The initial group of a dozen teachers that went to Marshall Islands, 10 of them were offered permanent contracts by the Government of Marshall Islands,? Mr Chand said.
?They came back after finishing their two years? term and have gone back on substantive contract and salaries to go and teach in Majuro. Six more teachers will depart for the Marshall Islands later.?
Currently, there are nine teachers in Vanuatu, six in Nauru and nine in Tuvalu serving under the FVS, which takes the total number of Fijian volunteers in the Pacific Island countries to 34.
Mr Chand also said that with a budgetary allocation of $1million this year, FVS expanded its scope of coverage and now involve the engagement of unemployed graduates and experienced personnel in areas of national community interest.
?Through this program, 20 (with 10 initially being engaged) unemployed teacher graduates have been recruited under the scheme to work with the Ministry of Education by assisting the staff of the National Substance Abuse Advisory Council in the conduct of training and awareness programs in the areas of drug and substance abuse, non-communicable diseases, health promotion, HIV & AIDS, child abuse and other related social issues in schools and communities around the country.
?We also have as many as 30-40 local volunteers engaged in the areas of education, health, climate change and disability and we are thankful for the contributions they are making,? Mr Chand highlighted.
For 60-year-old, Maria Kalara Qiqiwaqa of Waiyavi, Lautoka, the opportunity to serve in Marshall Islands is a worthy one.
Having taught in Bua, in Rewa, and 15 years at Ra High School and 10 years until retirement at Jasper Williams High School in Lautoka, Mrs Qiqiwaqa said she is looking forward to working with the children of Marshall Islands.
?I am really happy and look forward to travel to Majuro and make use of the knowledge and experience I have gained in the past 34 years as a secondary school teacher. I have heard that the education system there is not as developed as what we have in Fiji so I happy to go out there and help somehow,? Mrs Qiqiwaqa said.
Mrs Qiqiwaqa and her three other colleagues, Mr Manoa Maqanatagane, Mrs Jieni Ravai and Mrs Vaseva Baba will depart Fijinext Monday.
2?CLIMATE CHANGE A THREAT TO FIJI?S FOOD SECURITY
?Unless action is taken soon, climate change will drastically affect our food security and above all, affect different communities in Fiji.?
This was pointed during presentation by the Ministry of Agriculture at the National Platform for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change workshop underway in Suva.
The Ministry?s economic planning officer Jone Raileabula highlighted that countries in the region including Fiji are?experiencing the effects of climate change, including worsening coastal erosion and floods. This said has a severe impact on food security.
?The Ministry established programs to introduce new crops, crop varieties, or technologies that could be adopted to help farmers improve their traditional production systems,? Mr Raileabula said.
?Communities need to work together to find the best way to adapt to changing agricultural needs and communities should also work with each other and relevant authorities,? he said.
Mr Raileabula adds that the Ministry has been conducting research on method of improving storage, post-harvest handling & cold storage.
?There are developing ideas to have new varieties of crops with resistance to drought, salinity, flooding and extreme temperatures
?This include traditional varieties e.g. Coco yams (Dalo ni tana), Yams – uvi dina (greater yam), kawai (lesser yam), tivoli (wild yams), Drought tolerant kumala, Salt tolerant root crops,? he said.
Some of the other areas that the Ministry is undertaking to mitigate climate change include the?desalting of farm drains, watershed management irrigation, river dredging, embankments programs and breeds that are disease tolerant and have a high adaptability to Fiji?s climate.
Meanwhile, Mr Timothy Wilcox, the Sub-Regional Coordinator (Pacific) at United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction commended the Bainimarama government for their efforts in conducting this workshop to address the effects of climate change in the country.
?We need to promote food security as an important factor in ensuring the resilience of communities to hazards, particularly in areas prone to drought, flood, cyclones and other hazards that can weaken agriculture-based livelihoods,? Mr Wilcox said.
3?MAKOGAI STUDENTS TO BENEFIT FROM NEW BOAT
Students at Makogai District School will benefit from a new boat that was recently provided to them by the Ministry of Education.
The boat which was presented with an engine was provided to assist students travel to school. The school is one of the 4 identified by the Ministry of Education that face significant challenges in terms of access to schools.
The Transport Assistance Unit at the Ministry of Education delivered the boat to Makogai District School.?This is part of the governments? effort to ensure that education is made accessible to every Fijian student.
?We will continue to pursue alternatives to ensure that education is made accessible, affordable and equitable to every Fijian child. We have now extended our service to donating boats as previously we only disseminate transport vouchers. I hope that from now all students of Makogai will attend school regularly and maximize the many educational opportunities available now,? said the Ministry?s acting permanent secretary Mrs. Basundra Kumar.
?The vision for our nation is to build a better Fiji and to me this can only be realized if we develop sound individuals in our schools by providing them with all the possible assistance that we can deliver,? commented Mrs. Kumar.
4?CIVIL SERVANTS SIT FOR MANDATORY SERVICE EXAMINATIONS
A total of 552 civil servants around the country sat for the mandatory ?Service H? Examinations this week as part of efforts to strengthen and develop Fiji?s civil service.
The Service H Examination, which is conducted internally by the Public Service Commission, were last year made compulsory by the Fijian Government and involves the enrollment of civil servants in tutorials which began in July. The tutorials and examinations cover the Rules and Regulations of the Government, the General Orders, the People?s Charter for Change Peace and Progress, Financial Instructions and the effects of the 2013 Constitution on the everyday workings of a civil servant.
The Public Service permanent secretary Mr Parmesh Chand said that these exams and the topics encompassed in the tutorial syllabus are also part of efforts to foster a knowledge-based public service where learning is prioritized. Mr. Chand said that this will also benefit ordinary members of the public, as civil servants who are more knowledgeable on the inner workings and machinery of Government will be in a better situation to help them in terms of service delivery.
Mr Chand confirmed that new entrants to the Civil Service are required to undertake and pass the Service H Examination within the period of their probation. All existing officers have been given until the end of 2014 to sit for and pass the Examination, if they have not already done so. For existing Officers, passing the exam will qualify them to be considered for renewal of their contract. Should the new or existing officer fail, it is the prerogative of the Permanent Secretaries either to discontinue their contracts or to allow these officers to attempt the Examination again.
Certain categories of Officers who have been exempted from mandatory Examination H include those officers?in technical fields who don?t deal with administration work.
The first mandatory Service Examination H was conducted in December 2013 and recorded a total of 203 candidates. The May 2014 session of the Service H examination recorded a total of 419 candidates, Fiji wide.
5?$1.9M FOR RURAL AND MARITIME PROJECTS
More than $1.9million has been used to develop and implement various infrastructure projects in rural and maritime communities across the country.
These projects, designed to improve the lives of those living in these areas, were implemented by the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development for the following programs; Self Help Program, Non-Access Road Scheme, Rural Housing and the Poverty alleviation program.
The Self help program is directed toward small infrastructural projects on a cost sharing basis which has 98 projects for the four divisions. This has cost over $700,000 with 57 of the projects completed and the remaining in the last stages of completion. The Non- Cane access road scheme is directed towards the construction of new farm roads to open up areas that have potential for commercial agro-based activities. The scheme has the implementation of 21 projects with 13 completed and the rest are still in progress costing over $900,000.
The ministry also administers funding for the rural housing and Poverty Alleviation Program (PAP) which is directed to the provision of affordable and cyclone resistant houses to families in Fiji?s rural areas.
Most of the projects implemented in the first quarter have been completed in the second quarter of this year and the projects are implemented in all the 14 provinces.
6?NAITASIRI FARMERS TRAINED ON MANAGING DALO FARMS FOR EXPORT
More than 50 farmers in the Province of Naitasiri were taught on the basics of dalo farming in a one day training recently held at Nasoqo village.
Organized by the Ministry of Agriculture in consultation with the Agro Marketing Authority (AMA) for the Tikina (district) of Naboubuco, the training was based on better farming management practices on dalo, particularly the tausala variety.
The bulk of our dalo export is the tausala variety which must conform to grading standards required?for overseas established and potential markets.
While opening the training, the Principal Agriculture Officer (Central) Ms Tepola Seniloli said that the potential of the highlands is great and a lot can be produced.
?The Ministry supports farmers in regards to the production and its improvements and we need to continuously work together with AMA to strengthen the relationship.
?It is relevant that we work together in achieving the quality of dalo categorized by exporters, thus it is important that farmers collaborate with AMA as markets are opening up not only for dalo but for other commodities too,? she said.
Farmers were also enlightened on the effects of chemicals, the soil, land management and other commodities associated with Agricultural practices.
?The training focused mainly on dalo (tausala) and we are encouraging farmers to work in groups and it is the work of the Ministry of Agriculture to monitor the planting programme that will be in place,? she said.
Field Officer (Procurements) Eroni Qama said that the AMA assists farmers in achieving their best as well as helping them financially and economically.
?We are here to educate farmers on the various aspects and criteria of market demand locally and internationally so as to avoid disappointments on market days.
?We have decided to choose Naboubuco farmers as one of our supplier due to the fact that they supply two tonnes of dalo weekly and this training marks the beginning of better coordination and linkages between farmers of the Tikina of Naboubuco, Ministry of Agriculture and AMA,? he said.
Training participant, Josaia Nadorome of Rewasau thanked the Ministry and AMA for the initiative of visiting supplying farmers.
?We are thankful for the support and we are willing to help grow the country?s economy with our dalo and we are grateful for the enlightenment on the taro beetles, chemicals and other factor that can elevate and destroy our dalo productions.
?We are now satisfied that there is a promising market there for us,? he said.