(on right) Minister for Women, Hon. Rosy Akbar during one of her visit to Waisomo village in Kadavu. The women of Kadavu specialize in production of honey and handicrafts.PHOTO:SUPPLIED.
To ensure taxpayers funds are well spent on Government-funded women empowerment programs, the Ministry of Women has embarked on a monitoring exercise of all the income-generating and livelihood projects that has been funded in recent years.
Since 2011 and 2014 the Ministry has funded a total of 22 livelihood projects in Northern Division, 19 in the Central Division, 19 in the Western Division and 29 projects in the Eastern Division. The Ministry had invested a total of $294,113.67 in establishing all of these projects. Last year, the Ministry funded 2 canteen projects, 2 baking projects and one Virgin Coconut Oil Project in Northern division by providing the funding of over $4000 for each of these projects.
The Minister for Women Hon Rosy Akbar said the Ministry is monitoring all the projects in the four divisions to ensure its sustainability and growth.
?We have also partnered with banks to provide financial literacy trainings to women?s groups who have received these projects. The monitoring programs is progressing well, a report is being prepared and will provide the way forward in strengthening the women?s livelihood programs?, the Minister said.
?In the Northern Division,?15 projects have been monitored so far and our reports show that these projects are doing well. Women have opened bank accounts and some have saved money to further expand their projects?, Minister Akbar said. ?Our officers continue to be in touch with them and provide them with any advice or assistance they need in managing these projects. Helping these women with marketing of their products also remains a top priority for the Ministry.?
During the monitoring, some of the successful projects identified in the Northern Division included the following: Dawa Bee Keeping, Vusaratu Bee Keeping, Natewa Canteen, Yaroi Canteen & Catering, Manavure Bee Keeping & Horticulture, Tabuvakasuka Vanilla, Waitabu Canteen, Veilomani Canteen, Nautovuso Bee Keeping, Sovatabua Canteen, Warikaba Vegetable & Bee Keeping, Senidakuakula Bee Keeping and Nubunikavula Canteen.
The Ministry is also revisiting the communities that have been declared violence-free to monitor its progress. These communities were provided with the relevant information and training on Gender-Based Violence, Domestic Violence Decree and Child Welfare Decree. These trainings are provided by the Ministry in partnership with the Fiji Police Forces and women NGO?s like Fiji Women?s Crisis Centre.
Of the 39 declared violence free communities in Fiji, 10 communities in northern division have so far joined Ministry?s Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign. These are Vunivesi, Savudrodro, Yasawa, Nabouono, Namoli and Nawailevu, Natua, Nabouwalu and Namau, Naseakula.
Meanwhile, Minister Akbar is calling on women groups to register with the Ministry to be able to access the programs.
?We are encouraging women?s groups in all the divisions to register with the Ministry to be able to have that easy accessibility on all the women?s programs. Currently we have 1702 women groups who have registered and we hope that with increased awareness more will join. To register, please visit any of your nearest women?s divisional office and fill in the registration forms. The Ministry staff will be able to assist you and give you all the information regarding the Ministry?s programs for women and children,? Minister Akbar said.