1. FIRST FOR FIJI AS GOVT SETS UP CHILD HELPINE – Government will soon introduce a telephone Child Helpline as it pursues various mechanisms to strengthen child care and protection.
2. NEW KOROLEVU STATION TO STIMULATE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY – In a move designed to boost government’s reach to those in the rural areas, a new Government station will be established along the Coral Coast at Korolevu.
3. NEW BOOST FOR WOMEN WITH DISSABILITIES – Creating economic and employment opportunities for everyone in the country including the marginalised or disadvantaged will continue to be addressed by Government.
4. MINISTER CALLS ON SECURITY OFFICIALS TO PUT FIJI FIRST – Fiji’s stable internal security environment has facilitated important developments such as the drafting of the new constitution says the Minister for Defence, Joketani Cokanasiga.
5. COUNCIL PLANS FOR A RESIDENTIAL CARE HOME – In the quest to improve the quality of care provided to the disabled persons in Fiji, the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons is currently looking at developing a residential care home for those disabled persons who are in need of shelter and proper care.
1 FIRST FOR FIJI AS GOVT SETS UP CHILD HELPINE
Government will soon introduce a telephone Child Helpline as it pursues various mechanisms to strengthen child care and protection in the country.
This new move which will be spearheaded through the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation will become a focal access point for all children in Fiji to seek counseling, advice, services and report cases on abuses.
“Establishing a child helpline is a key deliverable for the Ministry and the timeline for the completion of this helpline is by June 2014. Apart from addressing the challenges reported by the children, the Child Helpline will also provide an access point for concerned adults, parents, guardians and citizens to access the helpline to report abuse and request for information on child related matters”, said the Ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta.
“The helpline will maintain the confidentiality of the callers. Twenty-four hour access will be provided through a telephone number, including texting, email address and postage box to the majority of children in Fiji. The helpline will also provide data to highlight gaps in the service system so that appropriate policies and processes can be devised”.
To ensure that this new development meets international guidelines and norms, the Ministry has sought the assistance and support from various stakeholders.
“Child Helpline International has offered to provide support for setting up a helpline in Fiji. The organization is the global network of child helplines in 142 countries, which together receive over 14 million contacts a year from children and young people in need of care and protection.
“The Ministry will also capitalize on the existing service agreements with Empower Pacific and NGO counseling service and other Government Ministries like the Police Force, Ministry of Education) to ensure management of all cases, “Dr Koroivueta said.
2 NEW KOROLEVU STATION TO STIMULATE ECONOMIC ACTIVITY
In a move designed to boost government’s reach to those in the rural areas, a new Government station will be established along the Coral Coast at Korolevu.
The Provincial Administrator for Nadroga /Navosa Mr Josevata Suka said that this development will boost the services provided by government for the public in Korolevu.
“The 1st phase should begin in the next two weeks and a district office will be established to cater and serve more than 8,000 Fijians who live along the Queens Highway between Sigatoka and Navua,” Mr Suka said.
“A budget of $300, 000 has been approved by Cabinet for the establishment of a new government station there.”
Mr Suka said that the establishment of a government station will also stimulate economic activity for nearby communities.
“The second phase would see the setting up of fisheries, forestry and agriculture stations to assist Fijians to assist with the introduction of income generating projects,” Mr Suka said.
He added that government will continue to decentralise services to most rural of places so that Fijians do not have to travel far to access them.
Health centres, education officers and rural development offices including more income generating projects and centres are being built to achieve a more economic and social stable environment.
3 NEW BOOST FOR WOMEN WITH DISSABILITIES
Creating economic and employment opportunities for everyone in the country including the marginalised or disadvantaged will continue to be addressed by Government.
This week saw the demonstration of that commitment when the Ministry of Social Welfare signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons (FNCDP). This agreement will see all women who suffer from disabilities and who depend on social welfare assistance to acquire competent tailoring skills to venture into employment and independent income generating opportunities.
The agreement was inked earlier this week and offers a promising venture for the women with disabilities and unemployed women to enhance their sewing skills at the Inclusive Sewing Centre and graduate with Certificate of Attainment in Garment construction.
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta says that the agreement will strengthen cooperation to boost training and employment opportunities offered at the Sewing Centre.
“The signing of this Agreement has taken this partnership to another level and it will streamline the services at the Sewing Centre and ensure the sustainability of this program. Started in 2012, the Sewing Centre is designed to complement the Welfare Graduation Program through which both able bodied women and also those with disabilities are able to acquire knowledge and confidence to venture into independent livelihood.
“To date we have trained 48 women who were on social welfare assistance but are now running their own tailoring business while some of them are employed at garment factories. These women are able to earn double the amount then monthly welfare allowance, this is truly a demonstration of women who have confidently transferred themselves from welfare to workfare and now the agents of change in their families and communities,” Dr Koroivueta said.
Since its opening in March last year, the Sewing Centre has already provided a series of 3 trainings and the next training will be held from August to October where 10 women will have the opportunity to undergo 3 months intensive training to enhance their sewing skills.
The Executive Director for Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons Dr Sitiveni Yanuyanutawa said that as part of the Agreement the Ministry has provided financial support to ensure effective administration of the Sewing Centre.
“For the next training we are receiving $21,000 and the funds are dedicated to successful completion of the training, and the trainees will also be able to have weekly allowances for the 3 months training. This is an inclusive sewing centre as it provides an opportunity for the able bodied women and the women with disabilities to work side by side. FNCDP has witnessed these graduates being transformed into successful tailors who are now running their sewing business from their homes and they are doing well.
Through the signing of this agreement here today, we hope to provide similar opportunities for many more women in Fiji who are determined to earn independent livelihood,” Dr Yanuyanutawa added.
4 MINISTER CALLS ON SECURITY OFFICIALS TO PUT FIJI FIRST
Fiji’s stable internal security environment has facilitated important developments such as the drafting of the new constitution says the Minister for Defence, Joketani Cokanasiga.
Speaking at the closing of a three day Department Security Liaison Officer (DSLO) workshop this week, Minister Cokanasiga said that mechanisms such as the DSLO program under the National Combined Law and Security Agencies (NCLASA) Memorandum of Understanding will ensure that this stable internal environment is maintained across government.
“This training will ensure that the recently signed NCLASA MOU will be transformed into a living and breathing agreement signifying the fruition of the Whole of Government approach that was approved by Cabinet in 2010 with the endorsement of the National Security Strategy,” Minister Cokanasiga said.
“Given the progress that government is making on various agendas and at various levels, the desire by some to hinder our progress will come to the forefront.”
“It is therefore incumbent upon each of us to be able to assess the threat at organisational level, inform our colleagues whom we know can assist us, share the information and commit resources where we can.”
The Minister also added that it was in this manner that DSLOs will ensure that securing Fiji’s interests at agency level will contribute to government’s vision for a safer and prosperous Fiji.
“You as DSLOs play a pivotal role in ensuring that government remains fully informed of current and emerging trends in areas of responsibility through NCLASA framework,” Minister Cokanasiga said.
The DSLOs were also urged by the Minister to fully participate in the resulting forums that will be facilitated under the NCLASA framework.
5 COUNCIL PLANS FOR A RESIDENTIAL CARE HOME
In the quest to improve the quality of care provided to the disabled persons in Fiji, the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons is currently looking at developing a residential care home for those disabled persons who are in need of shelter and proper care.
The Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons Executive Director Dr Sitiveni Yanuyanutawa said that the construction of a residential home is one of the much needed facilities for disabled persons in Fiji.
“We are looking at the residential home, we have already come up with concept paper and we are also putting it up for cabinet so hopefully when we look at the challenges faced by the persons with disability we try to get a roof over their head and it’s a big plus for the people living with disabilities in Fiji,” Dr Yanuyanutawa said.
Apart from looking at the residential services, the FNCDP is also actively working with the Ministry of Social Welfare and other relevant stakeholders to address the issue of violence and discrimination against women and children living with disabilities.
“FNCDP is grateful to be on the EVAW (Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children) Taskforce that is working collaboratively with Ministry of Social Welfare, Non-Government Organisations and UN Women to devise an effective framework to stop violence and abuse committed not only against the mainstream community but also against the persons with disabilities.
“Disabled persons, most of them are disadvantaged and through the EVAW Taskforce we are adamant on looking at ways to address the issue of violence. We are also working on gathering updated and consolidated data, information to put together a solid context,” he said.
The Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta said that the recent review of the FNCDP Act 1994 and the completion of the draft Decree on Disability will streamline the legislative framework promoting the rights and interests of persons living with disabilities in Fiji.
“This legislative framework captures on the needs and aspirations of the persons living with disabilities and it also empowers the Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons to conduct proper monitoring and evaluation process to mainstream disability into Fiji’s development processes. It will give persons with disability more powers to exercise their rights to live dignified and productive lives,” Dr Koroivueta added.