- PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA COMMITS $1.42MILLION TO FIJIAN ELECTION – The People’s Republic of China has committed FJD$1.462m towards preparations for the 2014 General Election following the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Fijian government yesterday.
- FIJIAN FOREIGN MINISTER BRIEFED ON MISSION DEVELOPMENTS – The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, visited the Fiji’s High Commission in London this week.
- RISING INVESTOR CONFIDENCE CREATING MORE JOBS FOR FIJIANS – Investment reforms and policies initiated by Government continues to create employment opportunities for Fijians.
- FINANCIAL LITERACY A PRIORITY FOR PSC STAFF – As part of its social responsibility, the Public Service Commission recently organised a Financial Education presentation for its staff.
- EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM PRODUCING RESULTS FOR FIJIAN WOMEN – The implementation of the ‘Women’s Plan of Action’ is contributing towards women representation at all levels of decision making in Fiji’s rural communities.
- DREKETI COMMUNITY VOWS TO PROTECT WOMEN AND CHILDREN – The Dreketi settlement in Saweni, Lautoka is the recent beneficiary of the government’s program to safeguard the interests and rights of women and children in Fiji.
1 PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA COMMITS $1.42MILLION TO FIJIAN ELECTION
The People’s Republic of China has committed FJD$1.462m towards preparations for the 2014 General Election following the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Fijian government yesterday.
The MOA was signed by the Acting Prime Minister and Minister responsible for elections, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, and the People’s Republic of China Ambassador to Fiji, Huang Yong.
The Acting Prime Minister expressed the Fijian government’s appreciation and said that the assistance from the Chinese Government reflected the strong bilateral relations between the two countries.
Ambassador Huang said that China was happy to see the progress that Fiji was making in its preparations towards elections in September.
2 FIJIAN FOREIGN MINISTER BRIEFED ON MISSION DEVELOPMENTS
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, visited the Fiji’s High Commission in London this week.
The Minister was briefed on the work carried out by the Fiji High Commission as it advances Fiji’s interests in the United Kingdom, the Holy See, Germany, Israel and Denmark.
The London office is also accredited to the International Sugar Organization, the Commonwealth of Nations and the International Maritime Organisation.
Fiji’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Solo Mara advised the Minister that a team from the Elections Office will be in London from the 13th June to undertake voter registration for Fiji nationals in the United Kingdom, Germany and other parts of Europe.
He highlighted that significant work has being carried out by the Fijian mission in raising Fiji’s profile not only in relation to the promotion of tourism, trade and investment opportunities but also through consular services for Fiji nationals.
He also pointed out to the Minister that remittance to Fiji from the United Kingdom account to more than 100,000 pounds a month.
More than 2000 Fiji nationals live in the UK and Germany.
3 RISING INVESTOR CONFIDENCE CREATING MORE JOBS FOR FIJIANS
Investment reforms and policies initiated by Government continues to create employment opportunities for Fijians.
For the past five years, Government has implemented major reforms to regulate employment relations and establish an institutional framework to assist the unemployed find gainful employment.
Statistics from the Reserve Bank of Fiji indicate that Fiji’s GDP has grown consecutively for the past four years and we will experience another growth gain this year. The central bank has forecasted a 3.8 percent growth for 2014 signaling a strong economic progress for Fiji.
Fiji’s investment promotional body, Investment Fiji said that the value of foreign investment proposals and projects implemented has generally increased over the years. Since 2009 until August 2013, the number of foreign investment projects implemented in the country stands at 583 projects with a value of F$2923.4million invested in the country. These investments alone have created 11, 742 jobs in the country.
The Bainimarama Government recognizes that in order to create more income and employment opportunities for its people, it must continue to play a facilitative role by enticing the private sector to drive investments in the country.
The establishment of the National Employment Centre in 2010 has also diversified its role to ensure that unemployed Fijians can have access to empowerment training. The NEC has also partnered with various private sector organisations to provide employment for Fijians. Since its establishment, a significant number of young Fijians have registered with NEC to upgrade skills with more than 53 per cent of these being women.
The Northern Development project has had an impact on micro and small enterprise development and livelihood improvement. It continues to engage with Fijians living in rural and maritime communities to establish income generating projects. This includes farmers living in rural communities.
A range of programs is provided under the Ministry of Youth, Women, Agriculture and other government agencies, all designed to assist people gain employment, start their own enterprises or improve their livelihoods through some form of income generation activities.
4 FINANCIAL LITERACY A PRIORITY FOR PSC STAFF
As part of its social responsibility, the Public Service Commission recently organised a Financial Education presentation for its staff.
The Financial Literacy presentation was carried out by the Westpac Bank manager of sustainability Mrs. Eseta Nadakuitavuki. The presentation included basic tips regarding saving, borrowing and budgeting of finances. Staff at the PSC was encouraged to take control of their finances and to make informed, confident decisions. The Financial Literacy Working Group of the Reserve Bank of Fiji is currently in talks to work with more Government Ministries and Departments to promote financial literacy and responsibility across the Public Service.
The Public Service permanent secretary Mr Parmesh Chand, urged staff to make use of the information provided. He also emphasised that presentations such as this will continue to be held for the benefit of PSC Staff.
5 EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM PRODUCING RESULTS FOR FIJIAN WOMEN
The implementation of the ‘Women’s Plan of Action’ is contributing towards women representation at all levels of decision making in Fiji’s rural communities.
Designed to develop the potential of women around the country in areas related to social, political and economic growth, the ‘Women’s Plan of Action’ or WPA is producing results.
The Minister for Women Dr Jiko Luveni explained that the WPA has five thematic areas of development including formal sector employment and livelihood, elimination of violence against women and children, equal participation into decision making, women and law and easier access to services.
“In order for women to participate at all levels of decision making, we must first ensure that we create a socially enabling, violence free and economically viable environment,” Dr Luveni said.
To develop women’s leadership skills especially those living in rural and maritime communities, the Ministry has been working with the iTaukei Affairs Board, resulting in 236 Marama ni Yavusa attending a leadership training programme.
The Minister highlighted that for the first time, a significant number of villages have nominated a Marama ni Koro or a village headwoman.
The Ministry has also opened 52 women’s resource centres while 68 communities have declared their commitment to the ‘Zero Tolerance of Violence Against Women and Children Campaign’ with 26 of these communities now declared violence free.
In this year’s national budget, the Ministry was allocated $750,000 to implement the WPA with an additional $180,000 set aside for the construction of four Women’s Resource Centers in Labasa, Nadi, Serua, and Namotomoto.
“This government recognises women’s contribution in our society and is therefore capitalising on community support to take ownership of the campaign to prevent violence against women and children in their communities”, the Minister said.
The Ministry is working closely with women’s groups and communities to ensure financial independence for women so they can contribute economically. The Ministry has successfully assisted 130 women’s groups in starting income generating projects and more than 1500 women have been trained in tailoring and sewing machine maintenance.
“The ministry is promoting awareness and interest in entrepreneurial skills starting with women’s groups and encouraging women that have gained business skills to branch out on their own and start their own business,” Dr Luveni said.
The ministry has been assisted by microfinance institutions such as the IHRDP and NCSMED while the agriculture ministry has been a crucial partner by providing training in income generating projects such as bee keeping, poultry, seaweed and fish farming, piggery and vegetable farming.
Minister Luveni said that the WPA has also been presented to the International community who have commended the structure and success of the program for Fijian women.
“The success of this program has also been acknowledged as a successful program by the United Nations Women,” Dr Luveni said.
“The Fiji programme was presented to the Commission on the Status of Women held at the UN this year in New York and the UN Women executive director has praised Fiji’s programme and recommended replication in other countries,” she added.
6 DREKETI COMMUNITY VOWS TO PROTECT WOMEN AND CHILDREN
The Dreketi settlement in Saweni, Lautoka is the recent beneficiary of the government’s program to safeguard the interests and rights of women and children in Fiji.
In October last year, the community subscribed to the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign. Following 10 months of awareness, the settlement has qualified to be declared as a violence free community.
To recognise the positive changes achieved as a result of the campaign, the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni unveiled a billboard in front of the Dreketi Sangam Primary School in Lautoka this week.
Speaking at this event, Minister Luveni said the success of the campaign is in the hands of the communities that commits to it.
“To date there are 85 communities in Fiji that have joined this campaign of which 30 have successfully completed the 8 to 10 months of awareness programs and training. From the monitoring reports gathered by Fiji Police and that of the gatekeepers committee which are established in the declared communities, they have noted substantial reduction in the maltreatment of women, and this change is also accompanied by the significant reduction in the crime rates in these communities. In August this year, the Ministry has also organised a Women’s and Children’s summit for the gatekeepers committees from the declared communities,” Dr Luveni reiterated.
While speaking on behalf of Dreketi Women’s Club, their president, Mrs Leba Tavutu spoke on the changes experienced in the community.
“There are more than 200 people in this multicultural society that depends on sugarcane farming and fishing as the major source of income. Our women’s club was formed last year and it comprises of 60 Indian and iTaukei women who are mostly domestic workers. Today, I am delighted to speak about the various benefits of this campaign, the most important one being that women are now confident enough to speak about the challenges they face.
“A gatekeepers committee that comprises of women, including the men and youth representative has been formed and it works closely with the police to assist anyone who maybe facing a problem in their families. The women are now able to freely discuss about their problems in the weekly club meetings as they have trusted members in their communities who can be approached for any assistance they may need.
“This campaign has united the women from different races to work together in Dreketi settlement and for this we have to thank madam minister Dr Luveni for guiding us on this new pathway. It is through her motivation, the women have learnt to speak out against any injustice and violence committed against our sisters. As women’s leader, Dr Luveni’s courage to lead the violence free initiative has inspired us to be always confident in making a positive change in our community,” Mrs Tavutu explained.
Expressing similar sentiments, Vuda district Advisory Councillor Mr Nathu Mani said that awareness programs have become “an eye opener for Fijians living in the Dreketi settlement”.
“The presentations by Police have provided information on the laws that protect women and children, particularly on the Domestic Violence Decree and the Child Welfare Decree and the need for people to effectively use these laws to protect their rights. During the awareness, we were also informed that domestic violence, be it verbal or physical abuse is a serious crime and it should be reported-there is no drop policy on such cases,” Mr Mani said.
The Seniyaya settlement in Lovu, Lautoka was also declared as violence free community on Thursday this week along with the Vanuakula settlement in Drasa who signed up for 10 months awareness programs facilitated through the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Campaign.