- GENDER TRAINING TO EMPOWER MEN IN LOCAL COMMUNITIES – A four-day ‘Male Advocacy Training’ program organised by the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and Fiji Women’s Crisis centre concluded yesterday.
- Ministry monitors projects in north – To ensure taxpayers funds are well spent on Government-funded women empowerment programs, the Ministry of Women has embarked on a monitoring exercise of all the income-generating and livelihood projects that has been funded in recent years.
- NORTHERN DIVISION HOLDS GLOBAL BLOOD DONOR DAY CELEBRATIONS – The World Blood Donor Day celebrations were held at the Nadogo Secondary School grounds in Nadogo in the Northern Division this week.
- FIJI SECURES NEW DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES WITH INDONESIA – New information sharing and development opportunities have opened up for Fiji through a Joint Technical Working Group on Social Affairs meeting that convened in Jakarta, Indonesia this week.
- 500 women prepare for divisional craft show in July – Over 500 women will be participating in the divisional craft show to be held in Suva next month.
- GENDER TRAINING TO EMPOWER MEN IN LOCAL COMMUNITIES
A four-day ‘Male Advocacy Training’ program organised by the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and Fiji Women’s Crisis centre concluded yesterday.
The workshop is part of the Ministry’s ongoing awareness on its Zero Tolerance Violence-Free Communities’ campaign and involved approximately 20 male participants who hold important positions of authority in their communities.
Held at the Government’s training centre in Nadave, the training looked at empowering men to take on a more leading role in eradicting violence against women and children in various communities across the country.
The program was supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and closed by the Development Cooperation – Fiji and Tuvalu Counsellor, Ms Joanne Chloe.
In closing the training, Ms Choe said gender violence is a deeply personal issue for every individual in this country.
“The issue of power between men and women is very personal and to see these male advocates who have been trained this week tell their experience and how they will apply it back home was very inspiring,” Ms Choe added.
Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) coordinator, Ms Shamima Ali said that the participants who are gatekeepers in their communities will return with the knowledge gained to educate and inform their respective community members on the need to respect women and girls and help fight all forms of violence.
“Men are very important in eradicating all forms of violence against women and girls and the knowledge they have gained will go a long way in achieving our objective of promoting gender equality and eliminating violence against women,” Ms Ali said.
Temesi Muimui, a youth representative from Nadevo, Levuka said the course was an eye opener for him which gave him a chance to change his mindset.
“This is a learning point and I look forward to spreading the news that women are human too and need to be treated equally,” Muimui said.
The training is part of a four module series which the 20 participants from Naitasiri, Tailevu, Rewa, Lomaiviti and Kadavu took part in.
- Ministry monitors projects in north
To ensure taxpayers funds are well spent on Government-funded women empowerment programs, the Ministry of Women has embarked on a monitoring exercise of all the income-generating and livelihood projects that has been funded in recent years.
Since 2011 and 2014 the Ministry has funded a total of 22 livelihood projects in Northern Division, 19 in the Central Division, 19 in the Western Division and 29 projects in the Eastern Division. The Ministry had invested a total of $294,113.67 in establishing all of these projects. Last year, the Ministry funded 2 canteen projects, 2 baking projects and one Virgin Coconut Oil Project in Northern division by providing the funding of over $4000 for each of these projects.
The Minister for Women Hon Rosy Akbar said the Ministry is monitoring all the projects in the four divisions to ensure its sustainability and growth.
“We have also partnered with banks to provide financial literacy trainings to women’s groups who have received these projects. The monitoring programs is progressing well, a report is being prepared and will provide the way forward in strengthening the women’s livelihood programs”, the Minister said.
“In the Northern Division, 15 projects have been monitored so far and our reports show that these projects are doing well. Women have opened bank accounts and some have saved money to further expand their projects”, Minister Akbar said. “Our officers continue to be in touch with them and provide them with any advice or assistance they need in managing these projects. Helping these women with marketing of their products also remains a top priority for the Ministry.”
During the monitoring, some of the successful projects identified in the Northern Division included the following: Dawa Bee Keeping, Vusaratu Bee Keeping, Natewa Canteen, Yaroi Canteen & Catering, Manavure Bee Keeping & Horticulture, Tabuvakasuka Vanilla, Waitabu Canteen, Veilomani Canteen, Nautovuso Bee Keeping, Sovatabua Canteen, Warikaba Vegetable & Bee Keeping, Senidakuakula Bee Keeping and Nubunikavula Canteen.
The Ministry is also revisiting the communities that have been declared violence-free to monitor its progress. These communities were provided with the relevant information and training on Gender-Based Violence, Domestic Violence Decree and Child Welfare Decree. These trainings are provided by the Ministry in partnership with the Fiji Police Forces and women NGO’s like Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre.
Of the 39 declared violence free communities in Fiji, 10 communities in northern division have so far joined Ministry’s Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign. These are Vunivesi, Savudrodro, Yasawa, Nabouono, Namoli and Nawailevu, Natua, Nabouwalu and Namau, Naseakula.
Meanwhile, Minister Akbar is calling on women groups to register with the Ministry to be able to access the programs.
“We are encouraging women’s groups in all the divisions to register with the Ministry to be able to have that easy accessibility on all the women’s programs. Currently we have 1702 women groups who have registered and we hope that with increased awareness more will join. To register, please visit any of your nearest women’s divisional office and fill in the registration forms. The Ministry staff will be able to assist you and give you all the information regarding the Ministry’s programs for women and children,” Minister Akbar said.
- NORTHERN DIVISION HOLDS GLOBAL BLOOD DONOR DAY CELEBRATIONS
The World Blood Donor Day celebrations were held at the Nadogo Secondary School grounds in Nadogo in the Northern Division this week.
The event also saw the launching of the National Donor membership card and the launching of the establishment of the Voluntary Blood Drive Organising Forum and also the National Oratory School Contests for students.
Officiating at the event, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services acting permanent secretary Dr Meciusela Tuicakau said the World Blood Donor day was established in 2004 and it is one of the eight global public health events.
“The Ministry has always taken this event to the communities throughout Fiji and last year it was celebrated in Ba, 2013 in Korovou Tailevu, Seaqaqa in 2012,” Dr Tuicakau said.
Dr Tuicakau said the Ministry strongly believes that community involvement and ownership is critical in combating health issues in the country.
“We cannot do it alone and your active involvement boosts health service delivery,” Dr Tuicakau said. “We thank the donors in these events, encourage people to donate voluntarily and create awareness.”
The National Coordinator Fiji National Blood Services Josefa Bolaqace said last year the Fiji National Blood Services managed to recruit more than 13,000 donors.
“Basically voluntary donation last year was almost 80 per cent and as far as the World Health Organisation (WHO) is looking forward to achieve 100 per cent in 2020. Fiji has already achieved 80 per cent in 2014,” said Mr Bolaqace.
He added that this year, their target for voluntary donation is 85 per cent and 100 per cent by 2018.
Blood recipient Laisani Danford said she attended the event as a voice of the thousands of people who have been saved by the donors.
“These are the people that were there when we needed them the most. I came to this celebration to thank the donors, organisers and the Ministry for saving my life,” Ms Danford said.
- FIJI SECURES NEW DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES WITH INDONESIA
New information sharing and development opportunities have opened up for Fiji through a Joint Technical Working Group on Social Affairs meeting that convened in Jakarta, Indonesia this week.
The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Hon. Rosy Sofia Akbar and the Minister for Social Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E Madam Khofifah Indar Parawansa signed a joint statement which reflect the strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries.
The First Joint Technical Working Group on Social Affairs was co-chaired by the Ambassador of the Republic of Fiji Ratu Tui Cavuilati and the Special Advisor to the Minister for Social Affairs Mr. Eko Ernada. Also represented at this meeting was the Director Social Welfare Mr Rupeni Fatiaki who shared in-depth information on the role and services of the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation.
The Joint Technical Working Group meeting reiterated on the importance of effective implementation of the key areas of cooperation: These include:
- Sharing Information on Social Rehabilitation
- Social Security and Social Protection Programs
- Capacity Building for Fiji Officials; and
- Benchmarking or study field visits to learn best practices on community empowerment in its relation to poverty eradication and rehabilitation.
The Joint Technical Working Group has also agreed on the following:
- The extension of the current Memorandum of Understanding for next 3 years from the date of expiry. Both parties will work on it with the possible signing at the end of the year upon expiry this year
- The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation (Fiji) to provide written proposals for 2 Fijian Officials to do attachment and study visits at the National Vocational Rehabilitation Center on Person Living with Disabilities and the Rehabilitation Center for Juvenile Offenders in Indonesia. This is as per the request of the Fiji delegation present at the First Joint Technical Working Group.
It was also agreed at the end of the meeting that Fiji will be host the 2nd Joint Technical Working Group in Suva in 2016.
- 500 women prepare for divisional craft show in July
Over 500 women will be participating in the divisional craft show to be held in Suva next month.
The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar says the event provide marketing opportunities for rural women, the best selected products will showcased at the 2015 National Women’s Expo to be held in October from 14th to 16th . The Suva Craft Show will be held next month at Civic Centre and it will be officially opened by Minister Akbar.
“Over 500 from the 360 women’s groups have registered for the central division craft show. These are women from Rewa, Tailevu and Naitasiri province and including those from Suva and Nausori corridors.
“They will be showcasing their skills and products made from masi (tapa), voivoi, coconut products, handicrafts, jewelleries, home art decorations, foods items and contemporary crafts to name few. Quality of these products is of essence and the best ones will be identified and tagged with the Fijian-made logo as we build-up towards the National Women’s Expo,” Minister Akbar said.
Some of the other products to be sold at the Craft Show in Suva will be traditional mats vakabati, kuta, fan, baskets, traditional wedding dresses, wall hangings, crochet, embroidery, screen printing items, baskets, tie and dye items, curtains, sarongs, sulu, home-made products pickles, jams and cakes.
Minister Akbar said that similar shows are planned around all the divisions and public is encouraged to come forward and show their support for the empowerment of rural women.
Mrs Mereoni Guivalu, president of Hookers Womens Group said that they are looking forward for the craft show next month.
“There are 15 members in our group that is based in Waila, Nausori and most of these women are domestic workers. We specialize in producing embroidery, table cloths, handicrafts and ladies dresses. We are busy now preparing for the show and our group is determined that our products will be selected for the women’s Expo because we are focusing on quality. We also look forward to also meet with Madam Minister, who is doing a wonderful work for the women of Fiji,” Mrs Guivalu said.
Similarly, Mrs Ram Kumari of Nakasi Hart Women’s Group says the show will enable them to earn money for their families.
‘We have 10 active members in our group who are single mothers and widows. We were assisted by the Ministry through tailoring program and we sew school uniforms, bed sheets, pillow cases, pot holders and cushion covers. We thank the Ministry for giving us the opportunity to come out and showcase our skills and sell our products. Such events also help us to share our skills and network with women from other groups,” Mrs Kumari said.
The dates and venues for the western, eastern and north Divisional Craft Shows 2015 are as follows:
- Thursday 9thJuly, at Nabouwalu, women from Bua will participate in this show
- Navua Town on Thursday 23rdJuly will see women from Namosi, Serua, Beqa and Navua participate in this show
- Lautoka Shirley Park on Friday 24thJuly has been organised for women from Lautoka, Nadi, Tavua, Rakiraki, Sigatoka and Ba.
- 24thJune in Namacu Village for Koro Island
- 2ndof July at Nawaikama Village, Sawaieke, Gau Island for the women from Gau, Nairai, Batiki