(in middle) Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar with the president of Serua Women’s Group Mrs Mrs Veniana Anthony. Photo:SUPPLIED.
The National Women’s Expo 2015 which will be held later in the year from the 14th to 16th of October aims to reach out to 600 women artisans in Fiji by providing them with marketing opportunities, says the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar.
Minister Akbar revealed this while officially opening the two days craft show for the central division women held this morning at the Suva Foreshore Carpark.
More than 500 women from the provinces of Naitasiri, Serua, Tailevu, Namosi, Navua and Suva-Nausori have displayed their traditional handicrafts, homemade items and processed food items. The divisional craft shows are staged as build up events to the National Women’s Expo 2015.
The Minister for Women highlighted the importance of the event theme, “Connecting Women to the Markets, Making it Happen.”
“Today’s’ event marks the 9th Divisional Craft Show that has been organized throughout the divisions, districts and provinces. A total of 1,770 women from 440 women’s groups have so far participated in this year’s Divisional Craft Shows. So far 409 women have been identified to participate in the National Women’s Expo in October 2015. These Women’s’ Groups here have met the quality assessment criteria to qualify for the Fijian Made Product Brand.
“Connecting Women to markets will only eventuate when we ensure that products made by rural women artisans are of high quality, of sufficient quantity to meet the demands of new and existing markets. The Ministry ensures that stringent processes are in place so that quality food items and crafts will meet market demands,” Minister Akbar elaborated.
The two days craft show will determine the winners for the central division who will be represented at the Expo.
“We challenge you to upgrade the quality of your products by focusing on creativity, design and value adding. The usefulness of the products is another important factor and we also take into account the practical use of the products you sell. After carefully scrutinizing your displayed products, the expert assessors from partner agencies (Fiji Arts Council and Ministry for Health) will recommend the names of women groups and individuals who deserve to participate in this year’s National Women’s Expo,” Minister Akbar explained.
Mrs Muneshwari Chand, president of Naitata Lakshmi Women’s Club from Navua thanked the Ministry for providing them with this marketing opportunity.
“We have displayed home made products, like ladies handbags, pillow cases and Indian sweets. We are confident that our club will be selected for the Expo. We are excited and look forward for similar events, apart from earning money, we are able to network with other women and share our skills. Our club has earned $100 in less than an hour, we hope to sell all our products at this show,” Mrs Chand said.
Speaking on behalf of women from Serua province, their representative, Mrs Veniana Anthony described the craft show as a great platform to promote the talents of rural women.
“There are 70 women from Serua who are participating in this show. We have displayed a wide range of products, such as handicrafts, soyer sauce, jams, seaweed products, pickles and food. Such events enable women to develop self-confidence and recognize their capabilities to become financially independent.
“We are grateful to the Ministry for organising our transport and accommodation for two days. Events of this calibre demonstrate the Fijian government’s commitment to women empowerment at national level,” Mrs Anthony said.