1. IMMIGRATION OFFICES TO OPEN TOMORROW – Members of the public that have not collected their passports can expect to collect them tomorrow at immigration offices that will be open in the Central, Western and Northern Division.
2. FIJI CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEER DAY – Local and international volunteers were today recognised for making a difference in the communities they serve through volunteering.
3. FIJIAN WOMEN PUT SMILES ON FACES OF PATIENTS IN PNG – Christmas came early for the patients at Papua New Guinea’s only mental facility, Laloki Psychiatric Hospital, as the women of the Fijian community living in PNG donated them beddings and toiletries.
4. NORTHERN PROGRAM BEARS SUCCESS FOR RESIDENTS – More than 350 projects have been successfully implemented by the Northern Development Programme (NDP) from 2012 to 2014.
5. INITIATIVES IDENTIFIED TO AVOID COMMUNICABLE DISEASES – The Ministry of Health and Medical Services continues in its efforts to address communicable diseases through different initiatives.
1. IMMIGRATION OFFICES TO OPEN TOMORROW
Members of the public that have not collected their passports can expect to collect them tomorrow at immigration offices that will be open in the Central, Western and Northern Division.
Director Immigration, Nemani Vuniwaqa said that their offices in Suva, Labasa, Savusavu, Lautoka and Nadi will be open tomorrow from 9am until 1pm for passport issuance.
“We had problems with our software but we are issuing books normally from today,” Mr Vuniwaqa said.
“I have had staff that have been working overtime just to ensure that passport books are issued today and for offices in the Western and Northern Division, the department has made arrangements with Fiji Link for the books to be put on the last flight today.”
The director added that the department had 33,000 blank passport books in stock, which is expected to last for a year.
2. FIJI CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEER DAY
Local and international volunteers were today recognised for making a difference in the communities they serve through volunteering.
Speaking at the International Volunteer Day (IVD) celebrations at Sukuna Park this morning, Public Service permanent secretary Parmesh Chand said the day highlights the contribution of volunteers in engaging people from the grassroots in decision making process.
Mr Chand said volunteerism has been a part and parcel of everyday life in Fiji and the Pacific at all levels from village setting, rural and urban communities to the national level.
“We need to give back by sharing and giving the way volunteers approach their work. volunteers do not impose their ideas and values but rather work to make things happen. They teach children to read, feed the old and the sick, help preserve the environment, visit prisons and help keep peace,” Mr Chand said.
Highlighting this year’s theme of ‘people participation and make change happen, volunteer’, Mr Chand said Fiji was sharing the abundance of skills in certain sectors of our human resource capacity under the Fiji Volunteer Service (FVS).
There have been more than 70 local volunteers engaged in the FVS since establishment in 2012.
“Currently, there are 21 volunteers engaged in the service with six graduates and youth volunteers in the Ministry of Health and PSC, 10 skilled volunteers engaged with the National Substance Abuse Advisory Council (NSAAC) and five senior volunteers engaged in the Ministry of Health, the Parliament and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
“At the regional level, the Fiji Volunteer Scheme has engaged more than 40 senior volunteers in the area of education. Currently, we have six volunteers in Nauru, seven in the Republic of Marshall Islands, nine in Vanuatu and nine and Tuvalu,” Mr Chand said.
As part of the celebrations, four volunteers were awarded for their Volunteer services in Fiji.
The Youth Award was presented to Joseva Ravula of Seaqaqa, Neelam Chand of Ba got the Youth Plus Award, the 2014 National Volunteer Award was presented to Iosefo Nikola and the International Award went to Saori Norioka of Japan.
United Nations resident representative, Osnat Lubrani said volunteerism has an important role to play in harnessing the potential of young people.
3. FIJIAN WOMEN PUT SMILES ON FACES OF PATIENTS IN PNG
Christmas came early for the patients at Papua New Guinea’s only mental facility, Laloki Psychiatric Hospital, as the women of the Fijian community living in PNG donated them beddings and toiletries.
Fiji’s High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea Romanu Tikotikoca said the hospital had a special place in the hearts of those Fijians living in PNG capital, Port Moresby.
High Commissioner Tikotikoca, who was there to present the donation, said that relations between Fiji and the facility began when the Fiji Police Dance band performed for patients there last year. Since then, other Fijian musicians visiting PNG have been encouraged to perform there as well.
The Fijian envoy to PNG said that the donation was timely during this festive season. He added that Christmas was a season to give and the Fijian mothers, though far from their homeland, were there to put a smile on the faces of the patients.
Their donation included beds, mattresses, pillows, bed sheets and toiletries.
HC Tikotikoca said the visit to Laloki reinforced the existing relationship between the Fijian community and the hospital as well as with the two governments of Fiji and PNG.
4. NORTHERN PROGRAM BEARS SUCCESS FOR RESIDENTS
More than 350 projects have been successfully implemented by the Northern Development Programme (NDP) from 2012 to 2014.
Presenting the NDP report to the Commissioner Northern today, the NDP Manager Waisale Tuidama said the projects have directly benefitted the lives of ordinary Fijians, especially those living in rural and maritime communities in Vanua Levu.
“Through a research we have completed, we have found out that these small scale farming projects has created employment in the North.”
He said the impact assessment completed saw that in 2013 NDFP Projects has created 471 employments in the informal job sector.
“This has contributed to the livelihood of 1199 family members in a household from the NDP recipient.”
He said the assets acquired by the recipient after the projects increased successfully.
“Nearly all the projects we have funded have been able to shift family away from the poverty level.”
Mr Tuidama added that the NDP has contributed to the GDP of Vanua Levu.
Meanwhile, the Hon. Minister for Agriculture, Rural Maritime Development and Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu highlighted in Parliament this week that NDP has decreased the rural poverty level in the North.
“Slowly NDP is in fact contributing to poverty elimination in the North.”
5. INITIATIVES IDENTIFIED TO AVOID COMMUNICABLE DISEASES
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services continues in its efforts to address communicable diseases through different initiatives.
The latest initiative is seeing the ministry work in partnership with the Lautoka City Council Health Department and Advisory Counselors to improve waste disposal in populated rural areas by placing compost bins.
The ministry has identified the need to work along with the Lautoka City Council for awareness and training on the same. The areas identified for this project includes the Koroipita Low-Cost housing, Tomuka Settlement and Delaisaweni Settlement.
So far 11 compost bins have been placed in the Koroipita Low-Cost housing. This will benefit the 400 households in the area. Further to this, 11 community leaders representing their respective housing blocks and other members of the community participated in training and awareness on proper waste management practices.
It was also noted that a number of dengue-like illness were reported from certain communities within Lautoka where illegal dumping of rubbish occurred. The installation of these compost bins is an effort to encourage proper disposal of rubbish as leaving rubbish discarded creates potential breeding sites for dengue mosquitoes.
The Ministry of Health & Medical Services urges the public to dispose of rubbish and other waste materials wisely as this will contribute towards a clean and hygienic environment and also reduce health related diseases.