1. ANZ DONATES FOR CYCLONE EVAN VICTIMS – Donations to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund Appeal continue to pour in from individuals and private organisations.
2. FIRE SAFETY AWARENESS INTRODUCED FOR SCHOOL CURRICULUM – Government through the National Fire Authority will strengthen its efforts to change community attitudes and boost fire safety awareness.
3. SCHOLARSHIP INITIATIVE TO MODERNISE AGRICULTURE SECTOR – Government’s modernisation of the agriculture sector saw 46 students at the Fiji National University receive the first ever commercial agriculture scholarship.
4. GOVERNMENT WISHES HOCKEY TEAM SUCCESS IN TOURNAMENT – Government today presented a cheque of $20,000 to the national men’s and women’s hockey teams to assist them in their World League campaign in New Delhi, India.
5. JUSTICE MINISTRY EVACUATION DRILL VERY EFFECTIVE – The Ministry of Justice Occupational, Health and Safety (OHS) teams were clad in reflector jackets and safety helmets whilst ensuring the safety of their staff during the tsunami evacuations in Suva this week.
6. FIJI HIGHLIGHTS INFORMATION TECHONOLGY INTEREST AT UN FORUM – Fiji’s pursuit for the advancement in geospatial information technology was recently presented at the UN High Level Forum in Doha, the capital of Qatar.
7. NATIONAL SPORTS COMMISSION NAMES TOMORROW – Government will tomorrow make public the names of individuals that will head the National Sports Commission.
8. FIGHT AGAINST TB CONTINUES – Sixteen people were presented with certificates during the first ever Tuberculosis (TB) Champions Graduation Ceremony at the Tamavua Hospital today.
9. GSS HEAD OUT TO BUY NEW VESSEL – THE Head of Government Shipping Services (GSS) and Navy Commander John Fox will lead a team to Korea and Japan on Monday to inspect vessels that government is intending to buy.
10. FIJI’S OHS REFORMS BECOMING A MODEL FOR PACIFIC – The success of Fiji’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) reforms has seen neighbouring Pacific countries looking to base their OHS policies and structure around Fiji’s OHS model.
11. OISCA AND FIJI SIGN MOU – A Memorandum of Understanding was recently signed between the Organisation for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement, International Japan [OISCA] and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to boost the work undertaken by government.
12. YOUTH WORKER TO ESTABLISH REFERRAL SCHEME – The President of the Nadi District Youth Council and Youth Plus Volunteer Award Recipient 2012, Mr Jioji Cakacaka is looking for a partner to establish a referral organisation for the people of Nadi as part of his volunteer scheme.
13. JAPAN OFFERS SCHOLARSHIPS ON EDUCATION RESEARCH – The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan is currently offering scholarships to Fiji’s teachers who wish to conduct research on school education.
1 ANZ DONATES FOR CYCLONE EVAN VICTIMS
Donations to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund Appeal continue to pour in from individuals and private organisations.
Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama today received a cheque of $50,000 from the Australian and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ).
Expressing his appreciation on behalf of government, PM Bainimarama said that he was grateful for the assistance provided as this would be of benefit to the recent cyclone victims.
ANZ’s Chief Executive Officer Pacific & Chief Executive Officer Fiji Vishnu Mohan said that ANZ was pleased to be of assistance.
ANZ also donated $30,000 to the Fiji Red Cross society.
2 FIRE SAFETY AWARENESS INTRODUCED FOR SCHOOL CURRICULUM
Government through the National Fire Authority will strengthen its efforts to change community attitudes and boost fire safety awareness.
A significant fire safety initiative was today launched by the Minister for Local Government, Samuela Saumatua and the acting Minister for Education, Viliame Naupoto. This will now see Fire Safety Awareness introduced into school curriculums around the country.
Minister Saumatua highlighted that the initiative was only possible through the combined efforts of the National Fire Authority, the Ministry of Education and UNICEF.
“We witness a milestone achievement for our nation with the introduction of an enhanced Fire Safety teaching approach for our children at the primary school level,” Minister Saumatua said.
Minister Saumatua affirmed that this strategy toward changing the culture and mindset towards fire safety will lead to prevention of property fires and deaths due to fires.
“The enhancement of fire safety teachings in the education curriculum will embed the Fire Safety culture into children’s behavior and ensure the safety and security of the children”, Minister Saumatua said.
“We have now begun the journey towards a cultural revolution in an attempt to change community attitude and behavior towards Fire Safety, “Minister Saumatua said.
The Ministry of Education in partnership with the NFA developed the fire safety curriculum which will be piloted in fifty (50) primary schools before the National Implementation in 2014.
“My plea to the Ministry of Education is to effectively implement the curriculum and continue to work with the NFA in its regular review so that fire safety maintains its vitality and significance in Fiji’s education system,” Minister Saumatua said.
The new Student’s Fire Safety Activity Book for Classes 5 and 6 was launched and handed over to the Acting Minister for Education, Commander Viliame Naupoto.
“This initiative will save lives, saving properties, changing the behavior of our children for the betterment of their lives and the country they will lead in the future”, Minister Naupoto said.
“We assure you that we will provide the right leadership for the implementation of this and it is an effort that will be utilized well by the Ministry of Education,” Commander Naupoto said.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) provided $40,000 to develop the fire safety initiative.
UNICEF representative Mr Simon Molendijk who was also present at the event, said that the launching and development of the initiative was an opportunity for the students and was looking forward to further cooperation and support.
3 SCHOLARSHIP INITIATIVE TO MODERNISE AGRICULTURE SECTOR
Government’s modernisation of the agriculture sector saw 46 students at the Fiji National University receive the first ever commercial agriculture scholarship today.
Officially awarding the letters of scholarship to the students, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said that government’s modernisation of the agriculture sector was aimed to make it more productive for the nation’s needs.
“The policies of my Government are focused on ensuring that we become self-sufficient,” Prime Minister Bainimarama said.
“We need to be more efficient in what we already produce. And we need to constantly explore new agricultural methods, introduce new technology, new seed varieties, new crops, new farming techniques and improve animal husbandry.”
The head of government also highlighted the need to build the capacity of farmers around the country.
“That is why we are all here today – to launch a major new initiative to encourage our young people to become farmers. And become professional at that,” PM Bainimarama said.
“In a world of scarce resources and a growing global population, the job of a farmer is undoubtedly more important today than at any time in history.”
PM Bainimarama also said that farming today was a highly specialized skill and farmers needed proper training to do the job they’re now expected to do.
Fiji National University’s Vice Chancellor, Ganesh Chand said that upon completion of the course, the students would receive a loan package of $70,000 and assisted by the University’s agriculture extension officers.
“Through constant guidance, we will make sure that in a few years time, we will have a large, productive and high incoming earning farms,” he said.
“We hope that this scheme will continue for a number of years so that at the end of 10 years we will have 50 large commercial farms that will take Fiji into a new agriculture era.”
The $70,000 loan package that will be given to students upon completion of the course will cover the cost of 100 acres of farm land, a tractor and basic farm implements, fertiliser, a house and shed and start up cash of $2000.
The Vice Chancellor also commended government for having confidence in the agriculture sector.
4 GOVERNMENT WISHES HOCKEY TEAM SUCCESS IN TOURNAMENT
Government today presented a cheque of $20,000 to the national men’s and women’s hockey teams to assist them in their World League campaign in New Delhi, India.
Minister for Youth and Sports Commander Viliame Naupoto handed over the cheque to the Fiji Hockey Federation (FHF) at a ceremony at the National Hockey Turf in Suva.
Minister Naupoto highlighted government’s recognition of the role played by sports in the country in improving lives of people.
“Sports is the best agent of change for our youth and the feat of the national hockey teams in reaching the international stage by qualifying for the World League,” he said.
“Government is happy in the sense that it is exciting time for sports which are considered minor in the country to be able to achieve such accomplishments and we (government) will be full supporting the team and sports in the country.”
He also thanked companies and private organisations who have come forward to assist the development of sports in the country.
“Sports that used to be regarded as minor (in a country where rugby, soccer and netball are the heavyweights) are now popping up and every now and then turning heads,” Commander Naupoto said.
“Government thanks businesses houses for its contribution towards the development of sports around the country.”
The national hockey teams’ leaves for India next week and FHF president Dr Robin Mitchell thanked Government for its generous contribution which would inspire the team and players in giving their best representing their country on the world stage.
“We are grateful and this is a sign that Government is in full support of sports in the country. It would motivate and inspire the players to lay their bodies on the line,” Dr Mitchell said.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been very helpful and our High Commission in India is arranging for the accommodation so that our players are comfortable to the environment.”
5 JUSTICE MINISTRY EVACUATION DRILL VERY EFFECTIVE
The Ministry of Justice Occupational, Health and Safety (OHS) teams were clad in reflector jackets and safety helmets whilst ensuring the safety of their staff during the tsunami evacuations in Suva this week.
The OHS teams had rallied their staff at the Salvation Army Headquarter hall on Macgregor Road in Suva.
Also part of the group was the Chief Justice Anthony Gates who said he was quite pleased with his OHS team, “I’m quiet please actually they’re all wearing their uniforms, we know who they are, they were concerned about who were in the various groups, that we haven’t missed anybody. And we’re very pleased about this place of rescue, assembly point because it’s cool and the Salvation Army has very kindly given us some water. And it’s a good place to wait”.
“Whether we’re getting enough information as to what is really happening that is something I question a bit but it has been a long time since we’ve had a tsunami seriously so we will see”, he added.
“But on the whole we’ve had a fire drill a few months ago just before Christmas, so this our second emergency practice. We were going to have a meeting to discuss a lot of things in relation to preparedness and training. So actually in a way, it’s a good practise for us and we’re really going to pull our socks up and get ready for it.”
6 FIJI HIGHLIGHTS INFORMATION TECHONOLGY INTEREST AT UN FORUM
Fiji’s pursuit for the advancement in geospatial information technology was recently presented at the UN High Level Forum in Doha, the capital of Qatar.
Geospatial is an approach to applying statistical analysis and informational techniques to data which has geographical aspect. Such analysis would employ software capable of processing geographic datasets.
The Minister for Agriculture, Forest, Fisheries, Provincial Development and Disaster Management Colonel Inia Seruiratu made the presentation to members of the Forum in the presence of his Royal Highness the Emir of the State of Qatar and the people of Qatar.
Colonel Seruiratu thanked the United Nations Statistics Division for giving Fiji the opportunity to offer a statement on the importance of geospatial information.
“In Fiji, the evolution of technology is at a pace more in line with the rate of development though there are demands for more advancement in the face of global demands and in technology know-how,” Seruiratu said.
Minister Seruiratu told the Forum that geospatial information is one of the most interesting fields that Fiji is advancing into.
“Interesting because it implies the technology that incorporates land surveying, hydrographic surveying, GIS, satellite, remote sensing, cartography, photogrammetric and other methods of acquiring data and information of the earth and its resources,” Colonel Seruiratu said.
He told the High Level Doha Forum that Fiji and the Pacific has some challenges in this field and will need quality and dynamic data to provide solutions allowing more proactive rather than reactive approaches.
“The economics of protected area, the effect of climate change, susceptibility to natural disasters, vulnerability to external shocks, growing population and poverty management are some of the ongoing concerns”.
He told the Forum that Fiji, like other any other Pacific Island nation has limited land but has access to a large Economic Zone with exclusive rights over the sea extending 200 nautical miles from our shorelines.
In as far as agriculture is concerned. Minister Seruiratu said leased land and economic activities in peri – urban and urban centres allowed Fiji to enjoy as a leading developed island nation in the South Pacific.
7 NATIONAL SPORTS COMMISSION NAMES TOMORROW
Government will tomorrow make public the names of individuals that will head the National Sports Commission.
The Minister for Youth and Sports Commander Viliame Naupoto will make this announcement.
The establishment of the Commission was first alluded to by the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama during the 2013 budget announcement which also has been allocated $1.5 million dollars in its first year.
The Commission is aimed to cater and assist sporting federations that intends to host international tournaments in Fiji.
Minister Naupoto said the commission will be tasked to make sure that sports and players are better looked after.
8 FIGHT AGAINST TB CONTINUES
Sixteen people were presented with certificates during the first ever Tuberculosis (TB) Champions Graduation Ceremony at the Tamavua Hospital today.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Land Force Commander Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga congratulated the Ministry of Health and the patients for their cooperation and success in the fight against TB.
Colonel Tikoitoga said the impact of TB on Fiji’s overall health status and socio-economic well-being, especially for the most vulnerable in our society, is extensive.
TB infects about four million women annually and kills over 750,000 globally per annum.
Colonel Tikoitoga said the stigma faced by people infected with TB is devastating. He added that its synergistic relationship with HIV/AIDS makes it a double burden on those that are already suffering the devastating social, economic and health impacts of HIV/AIDS.
“There must be more research done to identify the epidemiology of TB in children especially in the context of rising HIV/AIDS. Ministry of Health has identified that diagnosis of the disease is difficult in its infant stages thus the possibility that the disease may be prevalent in more individuals than necessarily identified,” Colonel Tikoitoga said.
Colonel Tikoitoga said the patients’ perseverance throughout the 6-8 months treatment has given the medical profession and the TB Control Department renewed enthusiasm to continue the fight towards total eradication of TB in Fiji.
Meanwhile the Tamavua Hospital medical superintendant Sakiusa Mainawalala said the ministry’s three centres in Suva, Lautoka and Labasa continue to receive cases of this disease whereby a robust patient support strategy is enforced.
He said a positive feature on the treatment process in Fiji is that it is provided free of charge.
“We receive funding from the Government, the World Health Organisation and the Global Fund,” Mr Mainawalala said.
He said in 2012, 218 patients all over Fiji were diagnosed and treated for TB while in 2011, 213 patients were treated.
Currently, there are 13 patients being treated at the Tamavua Hospital.
Mr Mainawalala urged people to take immediate steps and consult a doctor if they see symptoms of the disease.
“TB is a curable disease and people must take the signs and symptoms seriously. If not treated on time, people can lose their lives. One more thing to take note of is that when undergoing treatment, people should take the anti-TB medication on time,” Mr Mainawalala said.
9 GSS HEAD OUT TO BUY NEW VESSEL
The Head of Government Shipping Services (GSS) and Navy Commander John Fox will lead a team to Korea and Japan on Monday to inspect vessels that government is intending to buy.
Commander Fox says the purchase of a vessel is in line with Government’s commitment towards improving shipping services around the country.
“This will make work easier for the GSS and those in the outer islands. As well, if we purchase a tug boat it will be able pull a barge which is carting equipments, machines and other heavy loads.”
The team will spend two weeks in Korea and Japan before presenting their recommendations to Government for the purchase of a vessel.
Government has allocated $3 million in this year’s budget for the purchase of a vessel.
10 FIJI’S OHS REFORMS BECOMING A MODEL FOR PACIFIC
The success of Fiji’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) reforms has seen neighbouring Pacific countries looking to base their OHS policies and structure around Fiji’s OHS model.
Ministry of Labour permanent secretary Taito Waqa confirmed that Pacific neighbours, Papua New Guinea and Kiribati, have based their OHS structure on the Fiji model.
The OHS reform, which had been worked on for the past two years, is complete and this year the Labour Ministry is concentrating on effective promotion.
“It has led to the reduction in accident rate in the last ten years from 5 to 7 percent. That is quite a significant reduction,” Mr Waqa said.
“And because of the success of the OHS reform, it has been exported to PNG and also in Kiribati.”
The draft laws in PNG have been completed and are now waiting to be discussed in parliament before it is introduced. It is based on the Fiji model
“Kiribati and some other countries have also requested Fiji for their successful models through the International Labour Organisation to be able to help them out with their reforms in OHS,” Mr Waqa added.
The OHS reforms in Fiji have been part of the Employment Relations reform which has seen an overhaul to the existing structure.
11 OISCA AND FIJI SIGN MOU
A Memorandum of Understanding was recently signed between the Organisation for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement, International Japan [OISCA] and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to boost the work undertaken by government.
Signing the MOU on behalf of the Ministry of Youth and Sports was Fiji’s Ambassador to Japan, Mr Isikeli Mataitoga and representing OISCA was the President for OISCA International, Dr Hoshiko Nakano.
The MOU is entered into a spirit of mutual friendship and understanding to promote community development as an integral part of the socio-economic well- being of the people of Fiji.
Under the MOU, the OISCA will organise for experts to provide technical and other educational opportunities as well as to organise courses and trainings such as organic farming, farm management and community development skills to empower rural youth.
The agreement signed is another five years commitment by OISCA where they are ready to dispatch a maximum of five experts according to the need of the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
OISCA will also provide opportunities for trainees from Fiji and will later be assessed to undertake leadership studies in Japan.
12 YOUTH WORKER TO ESTABLISH REFERRAL SCHEME
The President of the Nadi District Youth Council and Youth Plus Volunteer Award Recipient 2012, Mr Jioji Cakacaka is looking for a partner to establish a referral organisation for the people of Nadi as part of his volunteer scheme.
Mr Cakacaka who has been a full time volunteer in the Nadi District believes that the referral organisation would help to identify and address the needs of those who genuinely need assistance.
The referral organisation will receive clients and also direct them to institutions and organisations that can give assistance.
His exposure of voluntary duties and commitments to the many committees he is part of has allowed him to understand the great need to have a referral mechanism in place.
“Volunteerism is a noble commitment to humanity,” stressed Mr Cakacaka.
“In view of my diverse voluntary roles, youth development is always an area of challenge and my first preference of choice. Some other areas which I would like to work on in 2013 are people with disabilities, women & girls, senior citizens, and eco justice, “said Mr Cakacaka.
Mr Cakacaka benchmarked most of his voluntary duties against international commitments for government and civil societies such as MDG’s, UN ratified charters & conventions and this has helped him in aligning his work in addressing these thematic areas with government, civil societies, faith based organization, NGO’s, Youth Groups, Women’s Group and more.
Mr Cakacaka was one of the recipients of the recently held National Volunteer Awards which also marked the year’s International Volunteer Day (IVD). IVD is a global event dedicated to celebrate enormous contribution of volunteers around the world.
With the referral organization to be established for the people of Nadi, Mr Jioji Cakacaka is also welcoming those who are interested in financially sponsoring this project.
The Ministry of Youth Permanent Secretary, Mr Joseva Sania commended Mr Cakacaka for his impressive contribution to the society and especially to the youth of Nadi.
“Fiji needs a lot of people like Mr Cakacaka, who works wholeheartedly for the people,” Mr Sania said.
13 JAPAN OFFERS SCHOLARSHIPS ON EDUCATION RESEARCH
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan is currently offering scholarships to Fiji’s teachers who wish to conduct research on school education.
Public Service Commission (PSC) Acting Permanent Secretary Iliesa Lutu has commended the offer of scholarships by the Government of Japan. .
He said that research conducted on school education through these scholarships will be of added value to the Government.
“All teachers in Fiji are encouraged to apply for this scholarship. This is an opportunity not to be missed,” Mr Lutu said.
According to the Terms of the scholarship, applicants must be born on or after April 2, 1978 and must be a graduate of universities or teacher training schools and have worked as teachers at primary or secondary level in Fiji for at least five years. Applicant must also be willing to learn Japanese and receive research guidance in the Japanese Language. They must also have the ability to do research in Japanese and adopt living in Japan.
H.E. Mr. Eiichi Oshima, Ambassador of Japan says that Japan has been constantly receiving excellent teachers every year under this Scholarship, in different fields of study including education psychology and special education. He hoped that motivated teachers utilize this opportunity to further develop their capacities.
The period into which the scholarship is being offered is between October 2013 and March 2015, including intensive Japanese Language course. Scholarship benefits include tuition and other university fees, accommodation and transportation. The closing date of applications is 16:00 pm 28 February 2013. Submission should be made to the Embassy of Japan. Application documents can be downloaded at http://www.fj.emb-japan.go.jp/Infor_culture/Scholarship_2013intake_TeacherTraining.html.
Applicants are advised to read guidelines carefully and specify the field of study precisely.