1. YOUTHS TO BE ADVOCATES TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN – Youth empowerment for social, economic and political development should be the key focus of addressing violence against women, children and child protection says Minister for Health Doctor Neil Sharma.
2. TEACHERS CHALLENGED TO PROMOTE WELLNESS IN SCHOOLS – Pre-school teachers were reminded of their roles in nurturing children and promoting wellness so that they can become healthy citizens of the future.
3. FIJI’S MEMBERSHIP COMMENDED – Fiji’s joining of the Melanesian Spearhead Group in 1996 has been labelled as the best thing to have happened to the Melanesian region.
4. $9.5M FOR NEW SUGAR SYSTEM – Government will purchase a new cane payment quality system under the NIR (Near Infrared equipment) says Director for Sugar, Viliame Gucake.
5. PS SANIA OPENS OVALAU ATHLETICS – Permanent Secretary for Youth and Sports, Josefa Sania opened the Ovalau Secondary Athletics Zone 2013 at Nasau park today.
6. PENANG SANGAM SCHOOL COMMENDED – The Permanent Secretary for Education, Dr Brij Lal today expressed his appreciation to the management and teachers of Penang Sangam School for their concerted effort in rebuilding the classroom block that was damaged by the fire last year.
7. ONE OF A KIND CLOSING FOR 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MSG– The traditional and modern Melanesian fashion display held yesterday at the University of the South Pacific brought a fitting finale to the MSG Silver Jubilee celebrations this week.
1. YOUTHS TO BE ADVOCATES TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN
Youth empowerment for social, economic and political development should be the key focus of addressing violence against women, children and child protection says Minister for Health Doctor Neil Sharma.
He made the comments at the workshop on “Engaging Youths in Child Protection and Women’s Empowerment to End Violence against Women and Girls today.
“Youths are tomorrow’s future and they play an instrumental role in nation building with more than 12,000 youths graduating out of the school system annually and will need employment,” Dr Sharma said.
He said that government has put in place mechanisms to end violence against women and children.
“Various pieces of legislations have been either modernised or constructed to see that violence against women and children, some of these include the Domestic Violence decree 2009 and the Child welfare decree 2010,” Dr Sharma said.
He highlighted that the child welfare decree 2010 is a great example which makes it mandatory for professionals dealing with children to report matters to authorities.
“Doctors are now empowered under the child welfare Decree 2010 to take children into protective custody for up to 96 hours, and if necessary they could also face prosecution,” Dr Sharma said.
He adds in this case, if the doctor suspects that a child is being abused by the parent then he/she has the power to take the child in protective custody.
Meanwhile, the ministry of Health for the past four years has put in a tremendous effort such in the development of family life education to assist in addressing issues faced by youths.
“We now have adolescent and peer educators programs, under this programs peer educators visit schools and communities to educate youths on abstinence, emergency contraception, family planning and condom use,” Dr Sharma said.
He encouraged participants to work together to end violence against women and children in our own homes.
2. TEACHERS CHALLENGED TO PROMOTE WELLNESS IN SCHOOLS
Pre-school teachers were reminded of their roles in nurturing children and promoting wellness so that they can become healthy citizens of the future.
National Advisor for Non-communicable diseases, Doctor Isimeli Tukana made these comments while officially opening a two-day workshop on training teachers on wellness and healthy oral hygiene.
“Teachers can identify a child in the way they think, what types of foods they bring from home and their behaviour in the classroom,” Dr Tukana said.
He challenged teachers to become agents of change within the school community and change the mindsets of children.
“If we nurture children to practice the wellness concept of keeping fit and eating healthy foods at a young age, we can prevent our future generation from dying of non-communicable diseases at a young age,” Dr Tukana said.
He adds that a classic example is Dilkusha Kindergarten School where they have encouraged children to drink water rather than buying or drinking soft drinks.
Meanwhile, the National Advisor for Oral Health, Doctor Joan Lal said another aspect of wellness is having proper oral health hygiene.
“In 2004, the health ministry conducted an oral health survey and results showed that 88 percent of children at the age of 6 years have four or more decayed teeth,” he said.
Dr Lal said that teachers should be role models and teach children to practice healthy habits before entering primary and secondary level.
He also encouraged teachers to take ownership of this workshop and become champions of health.
A participant representing Global leaders’ organisation, Analesi Tuicaumia said the workshop will pave the way for teachers to become champions for health.
3. FIJI’S MEMBERSHIP COMMENDED
Fiji’s joining of the Melanesian Spearhead Group in 1996 has been labelled as the best thing to have happened to the Melanesian region.
Those were the words of the MSG secretariat, Director General, Peter Forau in Suva today, in highlighting the achievements of the regional sub – grouping since Fiji became a full member.
“Fiji joining of MSG has been the greatest thing that has happened to Melanesia because of its ability to lead and the expertise it brings to the bloc,” he said.
“The organisation is now respected and recognised as an international leader in advancing issues pertaining to the wellbeing and prosperity of all Melanesians.”
Highlighting the mechanisms put in place and technical expertise advanced by Fiji in the formulating of the MSG Trade Agreement, Mr Forau said it has brought about a lot of changes on how regional trade has evolved within and outside the MSG countries.
“The Trade agreement which was established in 1993 and revised in 2005 has been the only agreement which is working while our neighbours (non – MSG countries) are still relying of trade agreements such at Pacific Islands Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) and Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) and PACER Plus,” he said.
“And the organisation is still growing. It has now become a beacon for our neighbours and they have recognised that the once ‘instable’ region is now a region of prosperity. They (other Pacific nations) now know that the MSG can do things successfully – once again highlighting Fiji’s input in MSG affairs.”
Mr Forau echoed similar sentiments that of Papua New Guinea’s Grand Chief and one of the founding fathers of the MSG, Sir Michael Somare that Fiji’s role in regional cooperation cannot be over emphasised.
“Fiji is very important to regional cooperation not only is it strategically located but it also has the skills and expertise which is vital for the region if it is to grow,” he said.
4. $9.5M FOR NEW SUGAR SYSTEM
Government will purchase the NIR (Near Infrared equipment ) which will be used for the new cane quality payment system says Director for Sugar, Viliame Gucake.
This is in line with Government’s vision to provide the best incentive for sugar cane farmers to assist them in achieving the goals of the industry.
Prime Minister and Minister for Sugar Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has approved the disbursement of the $5m for the Fertilizer Subsidy while the request to incur expenditure on the $4.4m is well underway with the relevant documentation from the FSC.
“These are being procured from Queensland Australia and along with it we also have the company that does the tracking of each consignment of sugar that is weighed at the mills,” Gucake said.
“Jointly it is going to cost $4.4million which government will fund and the surplus will have to be met by the industry.”
This is the current focus of the ministry of sugar as the industry begins to get back on its feet after a long troubled battle with mill maintenance and cane production problems.
The other focus is the disbursement of funds to the various institutions that receive grant from government.
“The other focus is the Subsidy for Fertilizers, which for this year government has put aside $5m,” Mr Gucake said.
“The onus is on the ministry that this funding is prominently disbursed for these purposes early in the year.”
5. PS SANIA OPENS OVALAU ATHLETICS
Permanent Secretary for Youth and Sports, Josefa Sania opened the Ovalau Secondary Athletics Zone 2013 at Nasau park today.
He urged the athletes to do their best to join other athletes from throughout Fiji who qualify to the national finals to be the first users of the newly upgraded National Stadium.
The national stadium was last used during the Secondary Schools Athletics Coca Cola Games last year and is expected to be first used in this year’s games.
Furthermore, Mr Sania urged the people of Ovalau to participate in sports or some form of physical activities and be more careful of their lifestyle.
“ The Ministry of Youth and Sports is promoting sports to fight Non Communicable Diseases which has been proved to be the number one killer in our country today,” stressed Mr Sania.
Addressing the athletes, Mr Sania advised them to get their satisfaction not from the medals they win but from knowing in their heart that they have given their best.
“Take this meet as an opportunity of learning and as you participate be good ambassadors of your school by promoting the good values of life,” added Mr Sania.
People from throughout the old capital town of Levuka turned out in numbers to watch the first day zone meet 2013 which also saw the three secondary schools showcase their talents.
“It is for the first time that Nasau park hosts the Ovalau Athletics Zone meet which used to be held at the St John College ground for the past many years,” explained Provincial Administrator Lomaiviti, Mr Kelepi Kubunameca.
Mr Kubunameca said that for Levuka, the Zone Meet is like their own national finals.
PA Lomaiviti, Mr Kubunameca plans to see all secondary schools in Lomaiviti come together in sports in the near future.
The Athletics Zone Meet 2013 is hosted by Delana Methodist High School.
6. PENANG SANGAM SCHOOL COMMENDED
The Permanent Secretary for Education, Dr Brij Lal today expressed his appreciation to the management and teachers of Penang Sangam School for their concerted effort in rebuilding the classroom block that was damaged by the fire last year.
A government delegation comprising of officers from the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Provincial Development were at the school today to witness the site of the rebuilt classroom.
The Management have so far completed 40% of the work and are seeking the assistance of the government to fully complete the project. The project consists of 7 classrooms,2 offices and a school hall.
“The management have done a great job and this is the attitude we want to see in all school management. Taking the leading role and doing what can be done then asking the government for assistance,” commented Dr Lal.
“The project is a step up from the previous building with a hall now in place to accommodate assemblies and other important functions in the school. The vision of the management is applauded and the support shown by the community is overwhelming as evident in the visit today,” added Dr Lal.
“The Ministry of Education is embarking on the theme ‘STEP UP’ this year and it is encouraging to see stakeholders paving the way. This is a constructive effort towards the vision of Quality Education for Change, Peace and Progress .”
Dr Lal also commended the combined effort of the teachers and management in allowing classes to operate normally from when the rooms were destroyed in the fire last year to date. The 77.5% in the Fiji School Leaving Certificate and the 85% in the Fiji Seventh Form Examination achievement for 2012 testifies of the determination in the school to maintain excellence despite the setback experienced last year.
The visit today was to allow the government delegation to assess and identify areas of need which it could assist in. The project is expected to be completed in the next three months.
7. ONE OF A KIND CLOSING FOR 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MSG
The traditional and modern Melanesian fashion display held yesterday at the University of the South Pacific brought a fitting finale to the MSG Silver Jubilee celebrations this week.
Billed as a first of its kind, the fashion parade showcased Melanesia’s best designs, culture and talent and provided something different for many followers of the weeklong event.
It was also the first fashion show to be hosted by the University of the South Pacific.
“The closing of the 25TH MSG Anniversary we decided to do something different, so I put forward the idea of hosting a fashion show, and it was agreed on and this is the first ever fashion show that is being hosted by USP and all the models are USP students,” Deputy Vice Chancellor Dr Esther Williams said.
Minister for Health Dr Neil Sharma enjoyed the closing ceremony as it showcased Melanesian culture and talent at its best.
“It is a very entertaining program and at the same time it showcases the whole of Melanesia and the culture as it developed and what is happening to the evolving culture, and what the youth are doing and is something we really enjoy as the youth are our future,” Dr Sharma said.
The fashion show allowed the different colors of the Melanesian countries to be displayed, and also linked the old and the new of the Melanesian culture.
Designer Hupfeld Hoerder said that the main concept was Melanesia.
“My designs are usually influenced by Polynesian culture but for tonight I really focused on Melanesia, the guiding factor was mainly the Melanesian people, who they are and what they really mean,” Hoerder said.
He added that the earthy colors were used based on the past.
“All the colors were earthy colors as in the olden days we were always using earthy colors, and I actually love earthy colors,” Hoerder added.
Kanaky representative and one of the panelist speakers on Tuesday Magalie Tingal said that the closing ceremony was one of a kind.
“I am truly surprised with this closing ceremony, I really didn’t expect an actual fashion show, and the closing tonight really shows a lot of what Fiji has done for the Melanesian week, and this really boosts our pride for our sense of identity, we are truly proud to also be here with people from other parts of the region,” Tingal said.
She also added that MSG has done so much for her country.
“MSG has given Kanaks unconditional support in trying to help us get to a better place,’ Ms Tingal added.