1. PAPUA NEW GUINEA TOURISM STUDENTS ON FIJI GOVERNMENT SCHOLARSHIPS TO STUDY AT FNU – The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, today announced that 15 students from Papua New Guinea will arrive in Fiji tomorrow to pursue studies across a wide range of courses offered at the Fiji National University’s (FNU) School of Tourism and Hospitality.
2. 4000 PREGNANT MOTHERS TO BENEFIT FROM GOVERNMENT’S FOOD VOUCHER PROGRAM – The government’s reintroduced Expanded Food Voucher Programme will assist 4000 pregnant mothers living in the rural areas.
3. BUA LEADS WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT – The villagers of Bua (Lomanikoro, Dalomo and Tiliva) have joined hands with the Ministry of Women to fight violence against women and children.
1. PAPUA NEW GUINEA TOURISM STUDENTS ON FIJI GOVERNMENT SCHOLARSHIPS TO STUDY AT FNU
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, today announced that 15 students from Papua New Guinea will arrive in Fiji tomorrow to pursue studies across a wide range of courses offered at the Fiji National University’s (FNU) School of Tourism and Hospitality.
Minister Kubuabola said, “The Fiji Government scholarships awarded to the 15 PNG students was the outcome of an initiative by Fiji’s Prime Minister Bainimarama extended to PNG Prime Minister O’Neil during their respective visit to each other’s country in late 2012 and early 2013.”
He added that during the two Leader’s bilateral meeting, the PNG Tourism sector was identified as one of the priority areas needing development and capacity building. Furthermore, the positive impact of this development cooperation will contribute to the sustainable development of PNG tourism sector which is expected to grow as a result of the resource boom Papua New Guinea is experiencing.
State efforts personally led by both Prime Ministers have resulted in ramped up collaboration between the two large Pacific Island economies. Already trade and investment between the two countries under the MSG Trade Agreement (MSGTA) is expanding but this is just a tiny proportion of the potential that is still to be tapped.
In underlining the growing cooperation between the two countries, Fiji has reciprocated with this small gesture the goodwill of the Papua New Guinea Government which has committed to provide a total of K$50 million for pre and post electoral works.
Minister Kubuabola also acknowledged the contribution of our national university, FNU, in this undertaking.
“The FNU will be an instrumental player in accelerating the knowledge and solution transfer in this South-South initiative. More importantly it is within the Melanesian framework of cooperation which aims to strengthen our collective self-reliance and build our capacity according to our own unique needs,” Minister Kubuabola said.
2. 4000 PREGNANT MOTHERS TO BENEFIT FROM GOVERNMENT’S FOOD VOUCHER PROGRAM
The government’s reintroduced Expanded Food Voucher Programme will assist 4000 pregnant mothers living in the rural areas.
The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni says a budget of $1.4million has been allocated to assist 4000 pregnant mothers who attend rural health clinics for pre and post-natal care.
This programme will be co-ordinated in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Department of Social Welfare whereby Ministry of Health through its rural health centers will identify pregnant mothers when they come to register.
“ These names will then be submitted to the Department of Social Welfare through their divisional offices through which we will verify that they are not recipients of its other welfare programmes,” Dr Luveni said.
“The vouchers will then be printed and sent back to the Ministry of Health to distribute it from their end. Vouchers will be redeemed through the nearest Post Offices”.
The Department of Social Welfare is waiting for the funds to be released from Ministry of Finance.
“Applications will be processed once the pregnant mothers register with their local health centres. Recipients of the Poverty Benefit Scheme and the Care and Protection Programme will NOT be eligible for this assistance,” Minister Luveni said.
The objective of this programme is to improve the maternal health and provide basic nutrition needs required during pregnancies.
“The programme will encourage rural pregnant mothers to register early in their health facilities as to avoid later complications during later stages of pregnancy or during child birth,” Dr Luveni said.
“It will also improve maternal health and prevent malnutrition which according to Ministry of Health records is commonly seen in rural areas.
“The Expanded Food Voucher Programme for pregnant mothers will contribute in progressing Fiji towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 which focuses on reducing child mortality rates and MDG 5 which is to improve maternal health,” Dr Luveni said.
3. BUA LEADS WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT
The villagers of Bua (Lomanikoro, Dalomo and Tiliva) have joined hands with the Ministry of Women to fight violence against women and children.
The official launching of the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign took place at Nawailevu Village in Bua last Friday where the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation permanent secretary, Dr Josefa Koroivueta officially declared Nawailevu as a violence free community.
At the same time, he launched the campaign through the presentation of a certificate designed for the three new communities joining this campaign and has to undergo eight to 10 months of awareness programmes that will be facilitated by the ministry in partnership with its stakeholders namely Fiji Police, Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, Empower Pacific and Ministry of Health.
While addressing the communities, Dr Koroivueta reminded villagers on the importance of a family and parental roles.
“A good family is built on components of trust, bonding, understanding and genuine care, these are the principles that set the foundation for building a happy family, a prosperous community and a strong nation,” Dr Koroivueta said.
“As men we must remember that women are made to be equal partners with us, to be our strength to support us in good and bad days. Communication between a wife and her husband is important in addressing family issues, they should have quality family time where children should be able to openly communicate with their parents.
“As part of this campaign, the ministry will provide assistance to the women to venture into income generating. A community should be economically independent it should be able to take steps to improve the lives of its people.”
Nawailevu Village turaga ni koro Rusiate Nautora said the campaign had been an eye opener for the men.
“There are 500 people in this village and women are the backbone of this community, through this campaign we have set the rule straight that anyone found breaking the law will not be spared, they will be handed over to the police,” he said.
“Violence is a crime and its effects are detrimental to the development of our village. A gatekeepers committee has been formed to work with the Fiji Police in keeping Nawailevu violence free.”
Expressing similar sentiments, Soqosoqo Vakamarama Nawailevu leader, Vani Ryder said following the awareness programmes changes were now seen through the attitudes and behavior of the people.
“The campaign has also encouraged parents to become good role models for their children. They have realized the importance their role as mothers to raise their sons to respect women,” she said.
“The women’s voices are now being heard and requests taken up by the village development committee. We have already submitted a project proposal to start a fish pond and the men have agreed to assist in cleaning and digging the pond.
To date, there are 69 communities that have joined Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign.