1. FIJIAN PRESIDENT ADVOCATES HIV/AIDS TO KIRIBATI YOUTH – His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau reminded the youths of Kiribati on the dangers of HIV/AIDS.
2. FIJI FOREIGN MINISTER BRIEFS INDIAN COUNCIL OF WORLD AFFAIRS ON FIJI’S ELECTIONS PROGRESS – Fiji’s Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola addressed the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) on Tuesday afternoon on Fiji’s progress towards elections and also on Fiji’s foreign relations.
3. PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION UNDERGOES RESTRUCTURE PROGRAM – The Public Service Commission (PSC) has undergone further restructuring to re-align its work activities to the respective provisions of 2013 Constitution.
4. HOSPITAL BLOOD BANK EXTENDS OPENING HOURS – The Blood Donor Center at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWM) will now extend its opening hours till 9pm to allow members of the public to donate blood after working hours.
5. EDUCATION AND HEALTH MINISTRY TEAM UP TO ADDRESS RHEUMATIC HEART DISEASE – This week the Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma met with the Minister for Education Filipe Bole to work together in raising awareness on Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) among children in schools.
6. WORKSHOP TO STRENGTHEN ECONOMIC VIABILITY OF WOMEN – In the quest to increase the economic capabilities of women, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation is in the process of organising a workshop that will allow Non-Government Organisations to secure financial support to start new income generating projects in Fiji.
7. NGO’S EXCITED ABOUT FIJI’S FIRST WOMEN’S EXPO – Prominent women’s organisations have expressed gratitude to the government for organising Fiji’s first National Women’s Expo and Rural Women’s Designer Awards Night that is scheduled for August this year.
1 FIJIAN PRESIDENT ADVOCATES HIV/AIDS TO KIRIBATI YOUTH
His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau reminded the youths of Kiribati on the dangers of HIV/AIDS.
As the UNAIDS Special Representative to the Pacific, Ratu Epeli made the comments in a press conference in Bairiki Square this afternoon. The President is on a State Visit in Kiribati and met with Senior Government Officials including the President of Kiribati.
“You’ve got to be careful, you have to be wise and know what you should do to avoid contracting HIV and AIDS”, the President said.
“I say to you young people, sexually active young people, use protection to save your life,” he urged.
Ratu Epeli added that it was his firm belief that AIDS could be eradicated through responsible safe sexual practices.
At the same press conference, the President highlighted the electoral developments taking place in Fiji as the nation gears up for the 2014 elections later this year.
Meanwhile the President hosted the Government of Kiribati to a reception last night and was opportunity for him to extend gratitude to the Government and people of Kiribati for hosting his delegation to the island nation.
The President leaves Kiribati later today and will be travelling onto Nauru.
(For more photos from this event, please visit the Ministry’s Facebook Page)
2 FIJI FOREIGN MINISTER BRIEFS INDIAN COUNCIL OF WORLD AFFAIRS ON FIJI’S ELECTIONS PROGRESS
Fiji’s Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola addressed the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) on Tuesday afternoon on Fiji’s progress towards elections and also on Fiji’s foreign relations.
In his statement, Minister Kubuabola underscored the significance of the upcoming national elections that will take place by September as a historical milestone for the people of Fiji, where for the first time in its history, Fiji will hold free, fair and democratic elections.
He further informed the Council about the reforms and the positive changes that the Government had put in place since 2006 in its efforts to ‘Build a Better Fiji for All’.
In his address, he also discussed the developments in Fiji’s foreign relations over the years to what it has achieved to date.
‘I must admit that Fiji has become a more confident and stronger nation in its conduct of diplomacy among the international community. Fiji has grown and embraces itself as a good global citizen with full respect for international law and practice,” Minister Kubuabola said.
‘The Fijian Government is appreciative of the support of our partners towards our efforts to expand our relations with all the members of the UN member countries and further deepen its relations with its friends, like India.’
The ICWA is an important national institution that is devoted exclusively to the study of international relations and foreign affairs. The Vice President of India is the ex-officio President of the institution.
The Minister also met with Tariq Anwar, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries to discuss the three Memoranda of Understanding that will be signed between the two governments during the ministerial bilateral on Wednesday, 12 February.
‘The signing of three MOUs on Wednesday is a strong indication of our strengthened bilateral relations and we are grateful to the Government of India for her continued support to the government and the people of Fiji.’
Other issues on the table include a single overarching MOU on agriculture to ease the existing bureaucratic red tape on having an MOU for each individual area of cooperation.
3 PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION UNDERGOES RESTRUCTURE PROGRAM
The Public Service Commission (PSC) has undergone further restructuring to re-align its work activities to the respective provisions of 2013 Constitution.
In briefing the staff on the new structure this week, the PSC permanent secretary Mr Parmesh Chand said that the 2013 Constitution has directly delegated a number of functions previously performed by the Public Service Commission to the Permanent Secretaries. The Public Service Disciplinary Tribunal is also now an independent/constitutional Office falling under the Judicial Department.
The functions of the PSC as contained in Section 126(i) are confined to:
§ To appoint Permanent Secretaries with the agreement of the Prime Minister;
§ To remove Permanent Secretaries with the agreement of Prime Minister;
§ To institute disciplinary action against Permanent Secretaries; and
§ To make such other appointments and perform such other duties, prescribed by written law.
§ Section 126 (2) (a-d) – functions do not extend to an office of a Judge or with the responsibility of the Judicial Services Commission, any other body prescribed by written law; office of RFMF, FPF and FCS.
Recently, there have been further developments, wherein the functions pertaining to the grant, administration and management of assistance for tertiary education in the form of scholarships and loans have now been outsourced to a Tertiary Scholarship and Loans Board [TSLB].
Mr Chand stated that the PSC has very important role in appointment and monitoring of performance of Permanent Secretaries, providing necessary support and framework for improved work performance, providing advisory assistance to Ministries on human resource matters, administration of office accommodation and Government housing, as well as promoting service excellence across the Public Service and knowledge management and dissemination.
He said, the affected staff have been redeployed within; particularly into areas where there is enhanced focus in the restructure such as leadership development, monitoring and evaluation, promotion of service excellence, capacity building in recruitment and human resource management practices and bringing about continuous improvements in office accommodation and housing of public servants.
“The staff are excited about the changes and the new structure as PSC will now play a strategic and developmental role in human resource matters rather than focusing on roles and functions which can be more efficiently and effectively performed by the respective Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Agencies”, Mr. Chand said.
4 HOSPITAL BLOOD BANK EXTENDS OPENING HOURS
The Blood Donor Center at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWM) will now extend its opening hours till 9pm to allow members of the public to donate blood after working hours.
The Blood Donor Center will now open till 9pm during weekdays and from 3pm to 5pm in the weekends.
While a blood drive has been organised this Friday at the University of the South Pacific Suva campus from 11am -4pm, the the mobile blood bus will be in Sigatoka this Saturday for a blood drive.
The Health Ministry encourages members of the public to help save lives by donating blood. Blood donations from all blood types are welcomed.
Those interested in obtaining more information can contact the Ministry of Health.
5 EDUCATION AND HEALTH MINISTRY TEAM UP TO ADDRESS RHEUMATIC HEART DISEASE
This week the Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma met with the Minister for Education Filipe Bole to work together in raising awareness on Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) among children in schools.
This initiative is also in collaboration with the Suva Rotary Club.
Rheumatic heart disease has been identified as a common cause of heart diseases in children and young adults which can further develop into life threatening illnesses.
“Creating awareness on Rheumatic heart disease amongst school students and teachers will enable early detection and treatment. As such screenings for Rheumatic Heart Disease would be undertaken in school settings,” Minister Sharma said.
“This will ultimately contribute towards reducing the number of Rheumatic Heart Disease cases in Fiji,” added Dr. Sharma.
“I am happy with the initiative undertaken by the Ministry of Health, as early detection will reduce the number of premature deaths from Rheumatic Heart Disease among our school aged children in Fiji,” said Ambassador Bole.
“The Ministry of Education will continue to support Heath Ministry for awareness and information dissemination on Rheumatic heart disease in schools,” added Ambassador Bole.
The Health Ministry and Ministry of Education will continue to work together to identify more effective ways and means of creating awareness on rheumatic heart disease in schools.
Meanwhile more events and a National Rheumatic Heart Disease week are being planned for the near future.
6 WORKSHOP TO STRENGTHEN ECONOMIC VIABILITY OF WOMEN
In the quest to increase the economic capabilities of women, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation is in the process of organising a workshop that will allow Non-Government Organisations to secure financial support to start new income generating projects in Fiji.
The Minister for Women Dr Jiko Luveni said this during the Fiji Women’s Federation (FWF) Advisory Committee meeting held in Suva recently. The Non-Government Organisations representing women from Catholic Women’s League, Soqosoqo Vakamarama, Assemblies of God (AOG) Women’s Ministries, Sanatan Dharam Nari Sabha Fiji, Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), Shrest Mothers Club and Stri Sewa Sabha are members of the advisory body.
Minister Luveni informed the members that on 19th of this month, a workshop will be organised to take them through step by step procedures of applying for women’s livelihood projects.
“This is the first time the Ministry will provide such an opportunity to women’s organisations and groups to actually learn about project proposals when applying for the income generating projects offered by the Ministry. We would like to expand economic projects to empower women to alleviate poverty in their homes and communities,” she said.
“Your groups have to identify suitable projects and we are looking to fund income generating projects like poultry, baking, bee keeping, handicrafts, vegetable farming and even tailoring. We want to help those who are challenged with poverty in squatter settlements, hart homes and are unemployed.
“The workshop will ensure that at the end of it you have your forms filled and project proposal ready to qualify for funding. A funding of $5000 will be provided and it also depends on the nature and scale of the projects submitted.
“We would like individual women to benefit from the projects to ensure that even if the project is managed by the group, all the members benefit equally, this will ensure the sustainability of the projects. The government would like the women groups and organisations to take a lead role in alleviating poverty in their communities,” Dr Luveni explained.
Mrs Lalita Sharma, the president of Sanatan Dharam Nari Sabha applauded the move by the Ministry to provide such an opportunity to NGO’s to uplift the lives of poor and vulnerable.
“The Santana Nari Sabha has 18 branches over Fiji and over 300 members who are actively engaged in charity work to help the disadvantaged members of the communities. Today we are greatly motivated to hear a new pathway has been created for Non Government Organisations to work together with the government to improve the lives of the women and children.
“We welcome this partnership and look forward to implement projects for children who are homeless and senior citizens who are neglected by their families. There is so much we can do for these people and we are grateful to the Minister for Women Dr Jiko Luveni for providing this opportunity to the women’s groups to steer such critical changes into our communities. We thank Dr Luveni for her vision to help those in need and definitely she is an inspiration to the women of Fiji,” Mrs Sharma said.
7 NGO’S EXCITED ABOUT FIJI’S FIRST WOMEN’S EXPO
Prominent women’s organisations have expressed gratitude to the government for organising Fiji’s first National Women’s Expo and Rural Women’s Designer Awards Night that is scheduled for August this year.
At the Fiji Women’s Federation Advisory Committee meeting held in Suva recently, the Non-Government Organisations mapped out plans for the Expo under the leadership of the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni.
While explaining about the Expo, Dr Luveni said that over 1000 women alone from the Central division will be participating in this national event.
“Over 3000 women will be gathered for this first ever women’s expo in Fiji and our divisional officers have started to network with women’s groups around Fiji and we expect 100 women to register per month for this expo. Women’s groups and organisations are requested to liaise with their nearest women’s office to lodge their names and there will be over 30 booths at the expo and groups will have the opportunity to display and sell their products. The Expo will be a power packed forum and will be staged at the Vodafone Arena from 5th to 9th of August 2014,”Dr Luveni said.
The Ministry has also organised leadership and economic empowerment training workshops for the women.
“The theme is Rural Women’s Designer Awards and there will be variety of events and the first time ever the ministry will train 230 Marama ni Yavusa on leadership and there will be hype of empowerment activities and capacity building workshops. The Ministry has launched the Expo and we have recruited a project officer to this undertaking and a committee has been formed to implement the plans for the Fiji’s first ever women’s expo,” Dr Luveni explained.
The Catholic Women’s League president Mrs Susana Evening said the Expo will provide good exposure to the women and way forward for them.
“This is long overdue event, we need to expose women’s potential and national organisation like ours will mobilize women to come and we are very excited about the Expo. We will get all our women and ensure that they make maximum use of the opportunities provided through this expo,” she said.
Expressing similar sentiments, acting president of (Assemblies of God) AOG National Women’s Ministries Mrs Rokosiga Morrison said the Expo will be an eye opener for her members.
“We will involve women out there in the community with the concept of helping them to become self sufficient through acquiring the skills for income generating projects. It is a great opportunity for women to come in and demonstrate their skills and products, it’s the time to reflect on what we have achieved and what we can do to further improve the lives of our sisters in Fiji. The Expo will unfold many new opportunities for the women and we must acknowledge the government for showing us the way forward by prioritizing women’s empowerment at national level,” Mrs Morrison said.