1. FINAL ROUND OF VOTER REGISTRATION IN AUSTRALIA – Fijians living in Australia, who are yet to register for the upcoming general election, are requested to make the most of the last chance to register from this Thursday to next week Thursday.
2. FIJIAN RURAL DEVELOPMENT LEARNS FROM MALAYSIA – Senior government officials from the Ministries of Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Agriculture, and Fisheries and Forests are attending a series of meetings and site visits in Malaysia to learn some of Malaysia’s best practices model in rural development.
3. NEW WOMEN’S RESOURCE CENTRE OPENS IN NADI – The new Namotomoto Women’s Resource Centre in Namotomoto village in Nadi was officially opened by the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni over the weekend.
4. HEALTH MINISTER LEADS BLOOD DONATION DRIVE – The Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma celebrated World Blood Donor Day last Saturday by donating blood.
5. BANGLADESH FACES UP TO THE NEW CHALLENGE – The Bangladesh settlement, known as Reservoir Road, is a multiracial community has become the seventh community in Tavua to join the Government’s program on safeguarding the rights of women and children.
6. 506 BENEFIT FROM LTA’S OUTREACH, COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT – Government’s commitment to the Fiji Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011 to 2020, which was launched by the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in 2011, has seen 506 ordinary Fijians being trained, tested and presented with driving licences.
1. FINAL ROUND OF VOTER REGISTRATION IN AUSTRALIA
Fijians living in Australia, who are yet to register for the upcoming general election, are requested to make the most of the last chance to register from this Thursday to next week Thursday.
They are requested to can contact the Fiji High Commission in Canberra and the Consul General office in Sydney as the final round of registration will be from June 19 to 26.
Acting Head of Mission Cheryl Brown- Irava said the Fiji High Commission in Australia and Fiji Consulate General office in Sydney are assisting the Fiji Elections Office, will commence the final round of Overseas Voter Registrations for Fijian citizens in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory, Victoria and Western Australia.
Ms Brown- Irava said the High Commission and Consulate General office in Sydney is committed to assisting the Fiji Elections Office in reaching and registering as many Fiji Citizens who would like to vote in Fiji’s 2014 Elections.
“As this will be the last chance for Fijian citizens to register in Australia, all eligible voters are urged to make use of this opportunity,” she said.
Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and bring with them their Valid Fiji Passport in order to register, regardless of a person’s immigration status in Australia (only a valid Fiji passport is required).
Staff of the High Commission and Consulate will also be on hand to offer consular advice and assist with Fiji passport applications for renewals/replacement/new passports, dual citizenship enquiries, as well as Fiji birth, death & marriage certificates.
Interested persons are invited to email email@example.com or call the Registration Teams on 0450 130 872 for QLD/NT/WA, 0466 489 452 for NSW and 0404 466 984 for VIC/ACT.Fijian citizens in Australia can obtain updated programs of registrations in their State/Territory from the Fiji High Commission website: www.fijihighcom.com
2. FIJIAN RURAL DEVELOPMENT LEARNS FROM MALAYSIA
Senior government officials from the Ministries of Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Agriculture, and Fisheries and Forests are attending a series of meetings and site visits in Malaysia to learn some of Malaysia’s best practices model in rural development.
Officials attending this one week meeting include the Minister for Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Mr Inia Seruiratu; Permanent Secretary for Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Mr Filipe Alifereti, Permanent Secretary for Fisheries and Forests, Mr Inoke Wainiqolo; Deputy Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Uraia Waibuta; the four (4) Divisional Commissioners and two (2) Principal Fisheries Officers.
The one week study tour covers a myriad of issues that ranges from rural development policy and planning; project monitoring mechanism and the success of cooperatives and small medium enterprises to name a few.
Mr Alifereti said the study tour will give the delegates the opportunity to examine and discuss with Malaysian counterparts some of the best practice models that could be replicated in Fiji to create wealth and raise the standards of living with our rural and remote communities.
“The visit will also assist the Ministries in revising its rural development strategies and also develop new ones to further enhance their roles as the coordinating and implementing agencies of rural development projects in Fiji.”
Mr Alifereti adds that the study tour will also set the platform for future collaboration and assistance between rural development, agriculture and fisheries and forestry sectors of the two countries.
3. NEW WOMEN’S RESOURCE CENTRE OPENS IN NADI
The new Namotomoto Women’s Resource Centre in Namotomoto village in Nadi was officially opened by the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni over the weekend.
The government-funded centre is designed to create employment and income generating for the Namotomoto village. The Ministry also presented the Namotomoto Women’s Club industrial, overlock and electrical sewing machines.
In her opening address at the event, Dr Luveni said that Women Resource Center is one of the many programs of the Bainimarama Government to help alleviate poverty by banking on the skills and entrepreneurial roles of women.
“Women are indeed, convincing agents of change. Namotomoto Women’s Resource Center is special as it is centrally situated and accessible to all women of this community to sell their products to close by markets. It belongs to a group of extremely enterprising women keen to go the yards to succeed.
“Through this project, Namotomoto village and the surrounding villages of Nadi at large will have the opportunity to contribute to the economic development of our country. I have no doubt that the dynamic culture of Nadi will be a business boost to the women of Namotomoto. With new ideas, new skills and encouragement, we can provide those opportunities for the benefit of everyone
“This demonstrates government’s commitment to institutionalize women’s programs and services in communities such as yours. Government is very serious on empowerment of Fijian women and today’s event is a mark of this. Through Bainimarama government, an enabling environment for women to be free to live lives free of violence and free to pursue economic and political empowerment is uplifted,” Dr Luveni said.
The new facility will also be used by other government agencies and stakeholders to promote women livelihood programs, financial literacy training, sexual and reproductive health programs and others.
“The resource centre opens the window for women that will improve their lives and the lives of their families. It boosts their morale and it is indescribable the gainful benefits that will unfold. This year similar centres have been opened in Kadavu and Bua. Macuata, Qarani, Korovisilou and Ba are near commissioning to fully meet the planned women resource centres for 2014,” Dr Luveni added.
While speaking about the plans for this new Centre, Mrs Sereima Lutumailagi, president of Namotomoto Women’s Club says the core product will be sewing and selling school uniforms to assist children who come from disadvantaged families.
“Sewing is the major activity for our club, however we were in need of a centre through which we can operate in a more organised and consolidated manner. We have more than 40 registered members in the club who will be sewing school uniforms that will be supplied to Nadi District School, Nadi Primary School and Ratu Navula School.
“We have already taken some orders for school uniforms which will be sold at prices ranging from as low as $8 to $10. The club will assist the women members to open their savings account so that once they start earning money they can also save for rainy days. This centre is a great investment into the lives of the women and children of Namotomoto village.
“Apart from the uniforms we also hope to sew items like table cover, cushion and pillow cases. We are grateful to the government for providing this much needed facility in our village,” Mrs Lutumailagi said.
The women resource centres is a major capital project for the Ministry and todate it has built a total of 45 women centre extensions and 16 women resource centres in Fiji.
4. HEALTH MINISTER LEADS BLOOD DONATION DRIVE
The Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma celebrated World Blood Donor Day last Saturday by donating blood.
Dr Sharma was the chief guest at the celebrations in Ba to acknowledge the great contribution of regular voluntary blood donors.
In his address, the Minister noted that the theme of this year’s World Blood Donor Day, “Safe blood for saving mothers”, had particular resonance for him as his own grandmother had died in childbirth.
Dr Sharma said “a lot of tertiary health care has come to Fiji. Open Heart Surgery, advanced joint and brain surgeries are a few noted ones. There is still a need for blood after road accidents which are on the increase. Blood is always in need”.
Dr Ezekiel Nukuro, Team Leader and Health System Development from the World Health Organization was also in attendance. In his address, Dr Nukuru said, “the safest blood is from regular voluntary donors and that Fiji has made great progress towards the goal of 100% voluntary donation”.
The celebrations were attended by the Fiji Red Cross Society Western Division branches and began with a march through Ba town to Gujarati Park.
Awards were presented to blood drive organizers from each Division and overall winners in the various categories were presented with shields.
The Fiji Red Cross Society ran an oratory competition for the secondary schools in Ba on the theme of Safe blood for saving mothers and winners were award with prizes on this day.
The Blood Donor Bus and the Wellness Bus were both on hand for blood donation and medical checks. A total of 36 blood donations were collected at the event.
5. BANGLADESH FACES UP TO THE NEW CHALLENGE
The Bangladesh settlement, known as Reservoir Road, is a multiracial community has become the seventh community in Tavua to join the Government’s program on safeguarding the rights of women and children.
Last week the community was presented with a certificate of commitment by the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni.
The settlement which has a population of 200 was identified by the Tavua Police this year as one of the communities to join the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign. The official launching of the campaign this week marked the beginning of 10 months of awareness programs that will be facilitated by Fiji Police, Ministry of Women, Judiciary, Health, Agriculture and Non-Government Organisations like Red Cross and Empower Pacific.
In her opening address to the community, Dr Luveni said the campaign aims to break the silence on violence by raising awareness on the issue.
“I am pleased that Bangladesh has taken up the challenge to undergo the phases to become one of the violence free communities. As they are taken through different levels of awareness program, the community will be able to grasp a greater understanding about the causes of violence and ways to effectively address it,” Dr Luveni said.
“The campaign is championed by male leaders, an approach that has led to the wide spread coverage of this campaign all over Fiji. The results seen are encouraging-there is increase in women’s economic visibility and decrease in the maltreatment of women and also cut down on crime.”
Speaking on behalf of the Bangladesh community, Mr Rajneel Ram, station officer of the Tavua Police Post said that a new committee has been formed to ensure the successful rollout of the campaign.
“As per the fourth phase of the campaign, a gatekeepers committee has been formed and it comprises of the men and women leaders who work closely with the police in trying to stop violence. This year, we have recorded two assault cases in this settlement and we hope people will come freely to report the cases once the awareness programs begin. The campaign, establishes a support system that enables the victims to report cases and also avail counseling and medical services where needed,” Mr Ram said.
Mrs Swashni Devi, president of Reservoir Settlement Women’s Club thanked Minister Dr Luveni being the first minister to ever set foot on the soils of Bangladesh settlement.
“The women are greatly touched by the Minister’s visit, the message she shared today has motivated us to confidently carry out our roles as mothers, wives and daughters in our community. The talanoa session with Dr Luveni has also opened a new opportunity for the Bangladesh women-we are happy that the Ministry will assist us with start a new canteen project through which our club will further assist unemployed women and children from poor families.
“We hope that such visits from senior government officials will continue as it makes it easy for us to access the required services to improve the lives of the poor and disadvantaged,” Mrs Devi said.
Any particular community that wishes to join this campaign are advised to call the Ministry of Women Headquarters on 3312199 or visit their nearest divisional and district women offices. To date there are 89 communities that have joined this campaign and many more waiting in the queue.
6. 506 BENEFIT FROM LTA’S OUTREACH, COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Government’s commitment to the Fiji Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011 to 2020, which was launched by the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in 2011, has seen 506 ordinary Fijians being trained, tested and presented with driving licences.
The three weeks community outreach training and awareness program conducted by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) that began in May was held at Navoci village Hall in Nadi.
In an official event organised at Namotomoto village in Nadi recently, the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni presented certificates to the new driving licence holders in Nadi who had undergone the training provided by LTA. The licenses presented ranged from the following categories (5 level 1 Defensive Driving Certificates, 40 Public Service Vehicle (PSV) Defensive Driving Certificates, 64 Group 4 Drivers Licence, 169 Class 2 Provincial Driver’s Licence and 228 Learners Permits).
While presenting the licences, Dr Luveni said that this initiative has been possible through the Bainimarama government’s vision to stretch out the services to the doorstep of the communities through awareness and outreach programs.
“Outreach or Community Engagement operates within the vision of Bainimarama Government’s ongoing program to improve the level of services to the ordinary Fijians in the remote and rural communities. This means that they do not have to come to LTA offices to get their learners permit and to get the defensive driving or driver’s test. It eases the financial burden associated with paying fares to travel all the way from rural areas to LTA offices and all the required trainings and testing is conducted near to their locations and in a much friendly environment,” Dr Luveni said.
“The Land Transport Authority through outreach programs have reached out to thousands of people in the rural and maritime islands. Outreach doesn’t mean compromising the standard of service, but is purposely meant to make life easier to our ordinary Fijians.”
Dr Luveni reminded the drivers to champion the, “Safety on Our Roads” at the highest level.
“To all those drivers who have been certificated today-our request is that you look after your driver’s licence, it is the source of income for you and your family. Respect and follow the road rules, look after your safety and the safety of your vehicle and most importantly the safety of other road users. The LTA will gladly renew the licences when they are satisfied that you are capable of maintaining the safety standards that they stand for.”
While receiving his PSV Defensive Driving Licence, Desh Reddy, a retired worker of FSC (Fiji Sugar Corporation) from Malolo Nadi thanked the Bainimarama government for opening this opportunity to ordinary Fijians. “I am very happy that I have finally got my PSV Defensive Driving licence which will assist me start my taxi business. Currently, I have a carrier business in Nadi and I am planning to start the taxi business soon, which will become a reality now that I have finally got the required licence,” Mr Reddy said.
“I thank the LTA for providing this awareness and training programs at a venue closer to our homes, the sessions were very informative and interactive. We no longer have to worry about paying daily fares to travel all the way to LTA office. The training actually guides the drivers on road safety measures and road signs, the test we go through is very practical.”
Similarly, the 30 year old market vendor from Namotomoto village in Nadi, Mrs Vinaisi Liku Vueti was filled with joy when she went up the stage to receive her certificate in, “Restricted Master/Engineer Class 6 Maritime Awareness Training” that was held from 10th to 13th June at Navoci Village Hall. This training has put together by the Ministry of Transport and Public Utilities in partnership with Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF).
“Getting this certificate means that I can get a part time job at the hotels and even start my own fishing business. The training has been an eye opener to me especially it teaches us on the importance of marine safety measures. We have to go for a practical testing and only when we pass the test then we qualify to receive these certificates. I would like to thank the government for providing such training opportunities for women to learn maritime safety rules and in the process it also creates new employment opportunities for us,” Mrs Vueti said.