[Nadi, Fiji – 19 March] – Flood affected families in Nadi who benefitted from Fiji’s first cash-for-work project to recover from the devastating effects of the twin floods of early 2012, had a first-hand chance to share their stories with Nicholas Rosellini, the UNDP Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.
Mr Rosellini visited the affected communities in Nadi today where he met women, men, youths supported through the cash-for-work programme and visited farms and flood rehabilitation locations.
The Cash for Work programme was implemented in Nadi and Rakiraki and benefitted 1,209 individuals, of which 74% were women. Sofiya Bi was one of 865 participants in the cash for work programme in Nadi.
“I was about to start my small store business when the floods came and destroyed everything. I was left with the payment for the groceries I bought for my shop. A few months later, I joined the cash for work programme in Vuniyasi. Some of us sewed the eco-friendly bags while others worked on the farm to earn cash and recover from the floods. I was able to finally open my shop. I also repaired the house damaged by the cyclone in December 2012 using the savings from the cash for work programme,” said Ms Bi.
Today, the Vuniyasi group was proud of the result of their teamwork and was one of the three villages who received special recognition for their good cooperation and spirit of commitment during the cash for work programme.
“We are pleased to support the communities recovering from the floods and cyclone. I hope this is part of the longer process for recovery and that we will be able to help you continue to be self-reliant. I was heartened by the stories shared by you”, said Mr. Rosellini, speaking to some 100 villagers gathered in Vuniyasi today.
Ms Bi said that in addition to recovering from the floods, the cash for work programme also allowed the community to work together.
“A big achievement for us was coming together as a group, learning about different cultures and working with strength, sensitivity and sincerity, which made us feel empowered,” she said.
Following the completion of the cash for work programme, 14 communities out of 29 communities in two locations who were supported for agriculture farming formed a small-scale community oriented farming venture. The lessons learnt from the early 2012 flood were put in practice by communities in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Evan in December 2012. Five communities were able to initiate recovery activities by utilizing the money generated from farming activities.
The cash-for-work was jointly funded by Australian AID and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and directly implemented by UNDP in partnership with various government agencies as well as UN agencies (ILO, UN Women).