1. STUDENTS BOUND FOR CUBA BRIEFED IN NADI – Fijian students bound for the Republic of Cuba to study medicine were briefed this week by the Cuban Director for External Affairs (Asia Pacific), His Excellency Miguel Angel Ramirez Ramos at the Westin Hotel in Denarau.
2. VATUKACEVACEVA JOINS THE BATTLE AGAINST VIOLENCE – This week, Vatukacevaceva village in the interior of the Ra province became the latest village in Fiji to participate in the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community (ZTVFC) campaign.
3. EDUCATION STAKEHOLDERS URGED TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX – School managements, in particular those that offer vocational courses, have been encouraged to start looking at income generating projects for their schools.
4. AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION REMAINS KEY FOCUS FOR PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE – Improving agro production in Rotuma remains one of the focus areas for the Rotuma Affairs Unit under the Prime Minister’s Office.
1 STUDENTS BOUND FOR CUBA BRIEFED IN NADI
Fijian students bound for the Republic of Cuba to study medicine were briefed this week by the Cuban Director for External Affairs (Asia Pacific), His Excellency Miguel Angel Ramirez Ramos at the Westin Hotel in Denarau.
Mr Ramos who attended the recent Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) meeting in Nadi, briefed the students about the conditions of the scholarship and life in Cuba.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) permanent secretary, Parmesh Chand in thanking Mr Ramos also expressed gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Cuba for their support in providing Fijians the opportunity to study medicine in their country.
“This year four (4) students have been accepted to study in Cuba. We currently have a total of 14 students in Cuba since the past two years,” Mr Chand said.
He said these students have been undertaking preparatory conversational level Spanish classes since the first week of June.
“We are fortunate to have the services of Ms Katarina Lawa as their Spanish tutor to assist and oversee the welfare of students in Cuba.”
The four students leave on August 24 for Cuba. The Government of Cuba has been granting scholarships in medicine to citizens of Fiji and in partnership with the Fijian Government have been sending students to Cuba since 2010.
Meanwhile the students are expected to meet later this month with the head of government Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama who will present the students’ airline tickets and allowances for their studies in Cuba.
2 VATUKACEVACEVA JOINS THE BATTLE AGAINST VIOLENCE
This week, Vatukacevaceva village in the interior of the Ra province became the latest village in Fiji to participate in theZero Tolerance Violence Free Community (ZTVFC) campaign.
During the official launching, the Minister for Women and Social Welfare Dr Jiko Luveni presented a certificate of commitment to the villagers to acknowledge their decision on taking an action to stop all forms of violence against women and children.
Minister Luveni said that through the campaign, there will be consolidated awareness program to educate the villagers on reporting procedures, legislative laws protecting women and children.
“In the process the communities setup a gatekeepers committee that is made up of village chiefs and leaders including women, youth leaders and community policing. This committee is the eyes and ears of this campaign, they are fully trained to understand the causes of violence and platforms available to assist the victims.
“The gatekeepers work closely with the relevant stakeholders like the Fiji Police Force and the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Welfare to facilitate awareness and educational programs targeting parents, children and the leaders within a community. The community is provided with the relevant information and resources to help them make informed decisions,” Dr Luveni said.
Vatukacevaceva’s soqosoqo vakamarama president Mrs Ateca Namusa, said that the campaign will boost the awareness of rights for women in the village.
“The women here face problems like domestic violence, abuse and unwanted pregnancies however, before these issues were treated as private family matter but since the time the Ministry has introduced this program, there are discussions about these issues at the village meetings.
“The women have been encouraged to report cases to the Police and we have realized that we don’t need to suffer in silence there are laws that protect us and places we can seek assistance from when we faces problems at our homes. It is about time that we women are given the recognition for our years of contribution towards developing our families,” Mrs Namusa said.
Vatukacevaceva village Chief Ratu Apolosi Amaciya said the campaign would challenge the mindset of the men and ensure that women are given the respect which they deserve in their homes and communities.
“We are grateful to the Minister Dr Luveni for her visit here today and she is the first leader to have come to this village to talk to us on the need to protect our women and children as they are our real wealth for development.
“We anticipate that there may be domestic violence cases which have not reported and we would like to see that these cases are reported to the Police. This campaign will also be an eye opener particularly to the men that violence is not justified in any case whether verbal, physical or emotional, violence is a serious crime and it should never be tolerated,” he said.
The 10 major phases carried out during the implementation of the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign are as follows: Initial planning process, identification of stakeholders, stakeholders meeting, establishment of gatekeepers committee, community consultation, official commitment, stakeholders training on gender based violence, community training on gender based violence, economic and social empowerment program and finally the declaration of the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community.
3 EDUCATION STAKEHOLDERS URGED TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
School managements, in particular those that offer vocational courses, have been encouraged to start looking at income generating projects for their schools.
Ministry of Education permanent secretary, Dr Brij Lal made this comment at the opening of the second Education Forum for the year in Suva today.
Dr Lal said school managements, teachers, parents, students and other stakeholders in the sector should think outside the best in attaining the best for the future leaders of the country.
“Some of the income generating projects that schools can indulge in are furniture making, sewing of school or sports uniforms, vegetable supplies, poultry, fish farms, forestry and beekeeping,” Dr Lal said.
He said that the assistance of vocational students in schools could also be sought for repair and carpentry works.
“I was in Taveuni recently and I looked at the vocational students of Bucalevu Secondary School who were making the quarters for Tutu Training Centre. It is a very good incentive where students get hands on skills training.
“At the same time they are able to get a little bit of pocket money. I also saw the same at Savarekareka in Savusavu where the students have done a classroom. This is very encouraging,” Dr Lal added.
The permanent secretary also highlighted the promotion of art, drama and music in schools which could also be used to entertain tourists as well as locals.
“I have seen some schools in the Eastern Division and Cakaudrove that carry out entertainment programs for tourism and it’s a good way to earn some dollars and some resources for the schools.”
Dr Lal also urged school managements to maintain proper documents or acquittals and expenditures.
These forums are designed to allow education officials and other relevant stakeholders to meet and look at ways of improving educational processes, reforms, challenges and propose recommendations.
The third and final Education Forum for the year will be held in October, 2013.
4 AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION REMAINS KEY FOCUS FOR PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE
Improving agro production in Rotuma remains one of the focus areas for the Rotuma Affairs Unit under the Prime Minister’s Office.
Consultant in the Prime Minister’s Office, Tomasi Tui said that this follows the quarantine treatment of non fruit fly commodities such as pineapples and water melons.
“These fruits have to be treated first before any export to Tuvalu can be carried out,” Mr Tui said.
“Vegetables such as dalo leaves, bele and cabbage will also be treated.”
Rotuma Export Council chairman, Hiagi Foraete said that exports to Tuvalu began in 2011 with 5 export shipments.
“A total of A total of 38tonnes of root crops, mostly dalo was exported during the 5 shipments with a revenue of FJ$69,000,” Mr Foraete said.
“Fruits and vegetables have been given the green light to be exported to Tuvalu and we look forward to have root crop, fruits and vegetables in our next export shipment.
“We are liaising with the Importers in Tuvalu for their orders for the August shipment.”
The Council has also exported to the Agriculture Marketing Authority in Suva.