CAPTION: Left- Minister for Defence Joketani Cokanasiga is being escorted by the Permanent Secretary for Defence Jale Fotofili.
1. GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AGREE TO MOVE FORWARD IN ENSURING NATIONAL SECURITY IS MAINITAINED – Senior Government officials today signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the National Combined Law and Security Agencies group (NCLASA) with the ultimate objective of ensuring that all Fijians are safe and secure.
2. GOVERNMENT COMMENDS UNICEF SUPPORT TOWARDS EDUCATION – The Ministry of Education has commended the effort of the United Nations Children Fund or UNICEF, in assisting the development of education in Fiji.
3. BOARDING AT NASINU SECONDARY TO BE PHASED OUT – Nasinu Secondary School in Kinoya will no longer accommodate boarding students in 2014.
4. DISASTER PREPAREDNESS CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED – A ‘Get Ready Disasters Happen’ campaign has been jointly launched by the Ministry for Health, Ministry for Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management and UNICEF to inform and encourage people for disaster preparedness.
1 GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AGREE TO MOVE FORWARD IN ENSURING NATIONAL SECURITY IS MAINITAINED
Senior Government officials today signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the National Combined Law and Security Agencies group (NCLASA) with the ultimate objective of ensuring that all Fijians are safe and secure.
Minister for Defence, National Security and Immigration Joketani Cokanasiga said this is a new beginning for all organisations present as Fijians all have a role to play in maintaining a safe and secure Fiji.
“In order for us to ensure our citizens are safe and secure, Government must be informed and appraised of security threats, emerging trends and moreover be equally responsive in terms of assessing, analysing and implementing the required responses,” Mr Cokanasiga said.
The signing of today’s MOU will commit relevant government ministries and agencies to coordinate closely with each other to strengthen the various frameworks that looks after Fiji’s security and defence. This includes food security, border security, cyber security etc.
“The NCLASA MOU signed today will provide the necessary framework which will underpin sharing of information across organisational boundaries for national purposes”, said Defence minister Mr Joketani Cokanasiga.
“It will provide a paradigm shift in security circles from a “NEED TO KNOW to NEED TO SHARE basis”, he said.
Mr Cokanasiga told government officials present at today’s signing that in order for government to mitigate emerging threats of transnational crime and unsustainable resource exploitation, an integrated approach by government will be required.
Ministry of Defence permanent secretary Jale Fotofili pointed out that he is optimistic that through the co-operation from all government agencies, the main objectives of the MOU will be accomplished.
2 GOVERNMENT COMMENDS UNICEF SUPPORT TOWARDS EDUCATION
The Ministry of Education has commended the effort of the United Nations Children Fund or UNICEF, in assisting the development of education in Fiji.
UNICEF last week injected more than $800,000 to assist some of the planned activities within the Ministry of Education.
“The effort of donor agencies like UNICEF towards fulfilling the planned activities for the Ministry of Education is very much appreciated,” commented the Ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Brij Lal.
The fund is aimed at developing minimum quality standards for schools including the rehabilitation of infrastructure and facilities. This will also assist in capacity building for teachers teaching classes 1, 2 and 3.
“The assistance is a timely one for the Ministry as it embarks on creating a safer environment for learning. Education is an asset in life and children should be provided with the safest and best services possible to achieve their dreams,” remarked Dr Lal.
“Quality standards should be a priority in any educational environment to guarantee quality outputs”.
UNICEF Pacific Education Officer Mr Iosefo Volau presented signing documents to the Permanent Secretary for Education to formalising the release of funds for these developments.
“This fund will ensure that we create a safer environment for learning to reduce the risks of danger and to assist in equipping teachers for quality delivery,” said Mr Volau.
3 BOARDING AT NASINU SECONDARY TO BE PHASED OUT
Nasinu Secondary School in Kinoya will no longer accommodate boarding students in 2014.
The Ministry of Education said that the school offered boarding services and facilities for students who had to travel from maritime areas and remote parts of the country which only had junior secondary schools. However through the development and upgrading of forms in schools in these areas, students no longer have to travel all the way to Suva.
“Nasinu Secondary School was initially established in 1980 to cater for students who have completed form 4 level from the various Junior secondary schools in the maritime and remote areas of the country. Now that schools in the four education divisions have been upgraded to provide form seven education, Nasinu Secondary School will become an ordinary day school,” announced the Minister for Education Filipe Bole.
For heavily populated areas of Kinoya, Nadera and Cunningham can now add Nasinu Secondary as another choice for their children who will be enrolling into form 3 next year.
Meanwhile the Ministry said that they are finalising plans for the alternative use of boarding facilities for the school.
4 DISASTER PREPAREDNESS CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED
A ‘Get Ready Disasters Happen’ campaign has been jointly launched by the Ministry for Health, Ministry for Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management and UNICEF to inform and encourage people for disaster preparedness.
The Ministry of Rural & Maritime Development and National Disaster Management permanent secretary, Filipe Alifereti said the objective of the Get Ready Disasters Happen campaign is to promote key messages in order to strengthen communication with families and at the community level in support of disaster preparedness and response.
“The multimedia communication package for keeping families and children safe and healthy in emergencies consists of materials for print, audio-visual and internet that can easily be used by families for emergency preparedness and response,” Mr Alifereti said.
Mr Alifereti said that as Fiji is a natural disaster prone country, the campaign would also ensure families’ safety and their health status is maintained during disasters.
“There have been 36 recorded natural disasters in Fiji since 1980 with 221 fatalities and over $1billion of damage to Fiji’s economy. Last year’s floods in January and March and Tropical Cyclone Evan in December last year is still fresh in our minds.
“The key to effective disaster management is preparedness. Disaster preparedness is everyone’s business. Disasters such as floods, earthquakes, landslides, cyclones, volcanic eruptions and also tsunamis, when they come, cannot be denied but we can be prepared as it helps to minimise the impact of these disasters,” Mr Alifereti added.
The campaign package consists of ten key messages that look at health, sanitation, protection and education issues.
The Minister for Health, Dr Neil Sharma said that multi-micronutrient powders will also be distributed to children under the age of five in selected areas as part of the ministry’s National Iron and Multivitamin Supplementation Program, which was launched in 2009.
Dr Sharma said this program is aimed at reducing the high incidence of anaemia in the vulnerable sections of the community.
“We saw that there was a progressive increase of anaemia in young children and in pregnant women and they needed to be treated. We have reviewed the iron fortification of flour and additionally with zinc and folic acid,” Dr Sharma said.
He added that anaemia is also caused by worm infestation when children tend to run bare feet.
“We know that deficiencies of this nature adversely affects growth and development of individuals and as a result our national development and our potential to be fully functional and operational individuals.”
The multi-micronutrient powder will help reduce the vulnerability of children to micronutrient deficiencies during emergencies when food supplies and healthy foods are scarce.
A training of trainers is also scheduled as part of the campaign in early May to inform members of the communities about disaster preparedness.