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1. “YOU CAN COUNT ON US” – SOLOMON ISLANDS PRIME MINISTER – Solomon Islands Prime Minister H.E Gordon Darcy Lilo has reaffirmed his country’s commitment to working with Fiji.
2. EDUCATION ACCESSSIBILITY FOR GIRLS IMPORTANT: COMMISSIONER – The Commissioner for the Western Division Joeli Cawaki recently stressed the importance of making education accessible for women in the country especially for young girls.
3. FISH FARMING PROJECT BENEFITING DRITI VILLAGE – A fish farming project initiated by the Department of Fisheries and the Driti Women Club in Bua has vastly improved the socio-economic conditions for families in this community.
4. NORTHERN FAMILIES WELCOME NEW INFANT SCHOOL – Villagers of Saolo, Nakawakawa and Nabunikadamu in Wainunu, Bua will benefit from the recent construction of an infant school.
5. FOREST CONSERVATION EFFORTS CALLS FOR SUPPORT FROM RURAL WOMEN – More than 40 women representing the five provinces in the Central Division have been encouraged to pay greater attention to forest conservation.
1. “YOU CAN COUNT ON US” – SOLOMON ISLANDS PRIME MINISTER
Solomon Islands Prime Minister H.E Gordon Darcy Lilo has reaffirmed his country’s commitment to working with Fiji.
At a meeting between the Prime Minister and Fiji’s President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, he expressed his desire to see relations grow between the two countries.
Pointing to the relations shared historically and through regional organisations, Prime Minister Lilo said that this was proving to be an advantage for both nations.
“As you are aware, we are very closely related and the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has brought Fiji and Solomon’s even closer,” he said.
“We have seen an increase in all aspects of cooperation between our two countries and we are hopeful that this will continue to increase.”
The Fijian Head of State is currently in Honiara on an Official Visit and this morning paid a courtesy call to the Prime Minister. At the meeting, he congratulated the Prime Minister on developments taking place in Solomon Islands.
He also presented a copy of the Fijian Constitution to Prime Minister Lilo.
“There are a few provisions that have been incorporated which is a first for many countries in the region”, Prime Minister Lilo said.
“We will continue to support Fiji as it plays a major role in the development of our region.
2. EDUCATION ACCESSSIBILITY FOR GIRLS IMPORTANT: COMMISSIONER
The Commissioner for the Western Division, Joeli Cawaki recently stressed the importance of making education accessible for women in the country especially for young girls.
At the recent Food and Craft Fair held in Nadi, Commissioner Cawaki said that there needs to be equal opportunities provided by boys and girls in the country and education should be part of this process.
Organised by the Ministry of Women, this national event showcased the various handicrafts and income generating skills of more than 200 women, some coming from as far as Cakaudrove, Macuata province, Rabi and Rotuma to celebrate the 2013 Rural Women’s Day.
During the official closing on Friday evening, Commander Cawaki said the key theme for this celebration relates well to the rural women and their development.
“The national theme ‘claim your right to dignity and education’ is very important and valuable. I would like to emphasize on the aspect of Education tonight, which is a basic right of every human being including rural women. Education is viewed as the most powerful tool in achieving peace, prosperity and progress.
“We in Fiji are fortunate that our children have been given equal rights and opportunities to attain an education. Therefore, I encourage you to make the best of this opportunity. Educate your children, especially the girl child,” Commander Cawaki said.
He said right to education of women especially rural girls continues to be a battle in many parts of the world.
“Education is not only about literacy but, it is about gaining knowledge that impacts one’s life positively. You will know of countless examples of families who have walked out of poverty when their children received quality education which enabled them to get good paying jobs and how some people have peacefully advocated their rights without wars but through dialogue,” Commander Cawaki said.
3. FISH FARMING PROJECT BENEFITING DRITI VILLAGE
A fish farming project initiated by the Department of Fisheries and the Driti Women Club in Bua has vastly improved the socio-economic conditions for families in this community.
Government through the Department of Fisheries had assisted the Women’s club in preparing 6 fishing ponds at the cost of $3500 per fishing pond.
A member of the women’s club Alesi Turagasau said the project has now allowed her to provide for her children’s education and for her own community.
“The organization has already funded $30,000 for development in the village like establishing footpaths along the village and buying grass cutters,” said Mrs Turagasau.
“The breeding of the Fish (malea) takes 4 to 5 months and for one fish it weighs 100 to 200 grams and it is sold at a price of $6.00 a kg.”
Fisheries Officer Bua Tomasi Cama said the fish farm first started in 1993 as a village project but it went through a lot of downfalls, however, the project was revitalized by the women in Bua.
“Early this year in August the Permanent Secretary for Fisheries Inoke Wainiqolo handed over 20,000 fish spawn as part of government’s assistance,” said Mr. Cama.
4. NORTHERN FAMILIES WELCOME NEW INFANT SCHOOL
Villagers of Saolo, Nakawakawa and Nabunikadamu in Wainunu, Bua will benefit from the recent construction of an infant school.
The new school which has yet to opened but has been named Ratu Peni Neumi Memorial Infant School demonstrates government’s commitment to making education accessible to every Fijian including those in rural or isolated communities.
For 34 year old Jotivini Vatuloa, this is a positive development for the mother of four.
“I want to thank the government for hearing a plight in bringing education right to our door step”
Education Officer Nabouwalu Lima Fong said this initiative would reduces costs for students and families from nearby communities.
“The purpose of the school is to cater for students who are often forced to go to Ratu Luke Memorial School for boarding,” said Mr. Fong.
“These students often missed much support and attention of their parents as they attend as boarders”
The new school will be commissioned by the Minister for Education Filipe Bole later this week.
5. FOREST CONSERVATION EFFORTS CALLS FOR SUPPORT FROM RURAL WOMEN
More than 40 women representing the five provinces in the Central Division have been encouraged to pay greater attention to forest conservation.
Rural women of Tailevu, Namosi, Serua, Naitasiri and Rewa gathered in Suva today for a three-day workshop aimed at improving forest conservation. The workshop addresses ways that this work can be inclusive of women assistance and participation.
During the opening of the workshop, iTaukei Affairs Board deputy chief executive officer, Apakuki Kurusiga said there were detrimental effects of deforestation, which ranged from a decline in food sources to climate change.
The workshop is attended by women, who were identified through the Soqosoqo Vakamarama to assist in educating and creating awareness on climate change and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (Redd+) in their communities.
Highlighting the many benefits of preserving Fiji’s forests, Mr Kurusiga added that a forest is like a one-stop shop for an individual’s various needs.
“To the iTaukei, a forest is the equivalent of a super-market where a fresh sumptuous meal can be attained as and when; it provides for shelter whereby the most basic necessity needed for one’s home is attained; it provides for recreational purposes and most importantly, it is the equivalent of a pharmacy,” Mr Kurusiga said.
Scientifically, he said, forests play an important role in our climate system as they act as a reservoir of carbon.
“When trees are cut down or burnt, they release carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and act as a source of carbon dioxide emissions. It also becomes a contributing factor to the loss of many local birds and animal species.
“In Kadavu, for example, we have lost a large population of parrots and a score of other animal species. The story is the same in other parts of Fiji,” Mr Kurusiga explained.
He also reminded the women of the rich and vast traditional knowledge which exist in rural communities that could be used for medicinal purposes.
“You women would know what leaf, what tree or what root is used for various ailments from minor bruises to chronic sicknesses. Wild flowers, vines and ferns are also quickly earning regular income for most, and these are encouraging signs,” Mr Kurusiga highlighted.
Meanwhile, Soqosoqo Vakamarama president, Adi Finau Tabakaucoro said the workshop was a timely intervention for the participants.
“It is a very good initiative of the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs and it is important that rural women take ownership of this program. The adverse effects of climate change is evident in Fiji and it has become an economic as well as a social matter,” Adi Finau said.
The workshop is organised in conjunction with the Forestry Department and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community/GIZ.