CAPTION: School students at the World Day Against Child Labour celebrations in Suva.
1. DR LUVENI TO MEET WOMEN’S GROUP IN WEST – Women in the Western Division are set to receive more sewing machine assistance as Government continues to reach out to the rural communities in Fiji.
2. SEAWALL FOR LOMARY – More than seven hundred school children of Lomary Catholic Primary and Lomary Secondary School will now have their beachfront protected through Government’s investment of a $100,000 seawall.
3. FIGHT AGAINST CHILD LABOUR CONTINUES – The Fijian Government’s efforts to eradicate child labour has seen the successful withdrawal of 24 children from the clutches of child labour in the first five months of this year.
4. PROGRAM UNDERWAY TO ERADICATE AMERICAN IGUANA – The Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) together with Nature Fiji -Mareqeti Viti has put in place a bounty programme to eradicate the American Iguana, considered a pest by local authorities and a threat to local vegetation.
5. FRA HAS SUCCESSFUL MEET WITH NORTH BUS OPERATORS – Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) has come to a consensus with bus operators on the major road maintenance needs of the Northern Division.
6. FNU TO RUN MODEL SCHOOLS – Minister for Education, Filipe Bole while opening the Ministry of Education Donors Sectoral Meeting yesterday announced the Ministry’s support towards the initiative to create model primary and secondary schools.
1. DR LUVENI TO MEET WOMEN’S GROUP IN WEST
Women in the Western Division are set to receive more sewing machine assistance as Government continues to reach out to the rural communities in Fiji.
In the next two days, Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation minister, Dr Jiko Luveni will distribute 50 machines which will directly assist women in the division to further develop their sewing skills.
Dr Luveni said the tour will provide women groups in Ba, Tavua, Ra and Lautoka with an opportunity to discuss issues concerning their livelihood, such as requests for further government assistance and income generating programmes.
Her visit will also witness the declaration of several violence free communities in the west beginning with Naivuvuni village in the province of Ra
Naivuvuni would be the second village in Ra to be declared violence free in Fiji.
Dr Luveni moves on to Nadelei village in Tavua to officially launch the Zero Tolerance Violence Free Community Campaign and to present villagers with certificates of recognition for their commitment towards building a violence free community.
In Natalecake village in Ba, Dr Luveni will also officially declare the village to be the first in Ba to be declared a violence free community.
The Minister will then proceed to Viseisei village in Vuda, Lautoka to officially hand over project materials worth $5000 to the Viseisei Women’s Cooperative. The donation is in line with the Ministry’s commitment to complement income generating projects and economically empower women groups in Fiji.
2. SEAWALL FOR LOMARY
More than seven hundred school children of Lomary Catholic Primary and Lomary Secondary School will now have their beachfront protected through Government’s investment of a $100,000 seawall.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama issued a directive for the construction works for the seawall to begin immediately.
This follows a visit by the head of Government to the Lomary Catholic schools earlier this week.
Divisional Commissioner Central, Laisenia Tuitubou said PM Bainimarama in his visit emphasised the immediate construction of the Lomary seawall.
“The Lomary seawall project is a result of one of the outcomes from the tikina meeting which was presented to the development board in 2012,” Mr Tuitubou said.
“We have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Works who will construct the project at a cost of $100,000.”
Mr Tuitubou said the seawall project would benefit surrounding communities and villages in Lomary in the protection of their coastline.
3. FIGHT AGAINST CHILD LABOUR CONTINUES
The Fijian Government’s efforts to eradicate child labour has seen the successful withdrawal of 24 children from the clutches of child labour in the first five months of this year.
This was revealed today at the World Day Against Child Labour celebrations at the Civic Centre in Suva.
The Ministry Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment has referred all these children to school with the assistance from the Ministry of Social Welfare and Ministry of Education.
Speaking at the celebrations, ministry acting permanent secretary Samuela Namosimalua said the attention to the phenomenon of children working has probably never been greater than it is today.
“Children employed during school hours either in domestic work or any other duty deprive them of education and it infringes on their basic rights,” Mr Namosimalua said.
“Many people agree that some type of work done by children do not harm their lives and are considered as part of the moral development of the child. However, there are certain situations which our children should never be employed in where these types of situation destroy the future and the development of our children.”
Mr Namosimalua said the celebration signifies serious concerns and commitments to ensure that all stakeholders join hands in the fight against child labour.
The theme for this year’s celebrations is ‘No to Child Labour in Domestic Work’ which throws light on the many children employed in domestic work who are deprived of the basic fundamental rights of education.
“In any situation at home where a child is deprived of education due to a family commitment, such as crop harvesting, looking after younger siblings, selling produce, attending to traditional and religious commitments to name a few, is child labour. These are examples of child labour in domestic work and is real in Fiji. These domestic activities deprive a child from attaining education,” Mr Namosimalua stressed.
The preliminary findings of child labour school based survey conducted in 2012 in collaboration with the Ministry of Education that involved 79 schools, both primary and secondary in the four Divisions, confirmed the existence of child labour.
The final report of that survey will be released soon.
Mr Namosimalua said Government’s commitment to eradicating child labour is enunciated in the provisions of The Employment Relations Promulgation (ERP) which came into effect on 2nd April, 2008.
“The ERP defines the issues of the worst forms of child labour, minimum age of employment, the rights of a child, condition on restriction of employment of children, hours and type of work that the child can perform if the child is above the age of 15 years which is the minimum employment age in Fiji,” Mr Namosimalua said.
“It also sets out the conditions under which a child can be employed; taking into consideration that the employment should not in any way affect the child’s educational participation.”
Fiji has also recently gazetted a list of hazardous occupation prohibited to children below 18 years of age.
“This legal notice came into effect on 28th May 2013. This hazardous list basically defines that there are certain type of work children cannot be employed in. This is the first list for Fiji and we are proud of our Government’s commitment in ensuring that we work towards a goal of eradicating the problem of child Labour and ensuring that we provide the right environment for our children to grow and attain the necessary educational training, and competencies for their future employability and creativity,” Mr Namosimalua said.
The ERP 2007 legal framework gives Labour officers and Labour inspectors the legal powers to enforce the minimum age of employment and other conditions of employment for children who are above 15 years.
“Those who violate this law can face a fine from $10,000 for individuals to a maximum of $50,000 for corporations.”
4. PROGRAM UNDERWAY TO ERADICATE AMERICAN IGUANA
The Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) together with Nature Fiji -Mareqeti Viti has put in place a bounty programme to eradicate the American Iguana, considered a pest by local authorities and a threat to local vegetation.
The bounty programme will reward locals for capturing this iguana species at a rate of $10 for adult iguana, five dollars for juvenile iguana and 50 cents for recovering eggs. The program will end in December this year.
BAF chief executive officer Waisiki Gonemaituba said the bounty program is part of an eradication program that includes various stakeholders.
“Since 2009- 2011 we have received reports from people in Qamea, Matagi and Taveuni that the iguana has been cited in these areas however we need to contain the numbers before they spread,” Mr Gonemaituba said.
“A six-member team is currently on the island of Qamea conducting surveys because between April to September is mating period for this species and a female iguana can lay 50-80 eggs at a time.”
In 2010, the American Iguana eradication campaign taskforce was set-up to eradicate this species and a number of community outreach programmes have been carried since to highlight to villagers, the harm it brings to the endemic iguanas and the tourism sector.
“A survey conducted in 2011 estimated 2000 American iguanas and 400 breeding adults in Qamea, Matagi, Laucala island and Taveuni and this number can increase exponentially,” Mr Gonemaituba said.
Meanwhile, Director for Nature Fiji – Mareqeti Viti, Nunia Thomas, highlighted that this pest is a threat to Fiji’s crested iguanas.
“We are conducting training with local people to be able to distinguish the features of the crested iguana and American iguana,” Ms Thomas said.
“American iguanas are mostly arboreal, well camouflaged and have excellent eyesight, and the ability to avoid detection high in the canopy,” Ms Thomas said.
Ms Thomas said part of the program will include training wildlife detector dogs and their handlers to sniff out American iguanas and their nests.
5. FRA HAS SUCCESSFUL MEET WITH NORTH BUS OPERATORS
Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) has come to a consensus with bus operators on the major road maintenance needs of the Northern Division.
FRA maintenance works manager Dale Nicholls said the meeting with five bus companies has resulted in a good alignment of the authority’s plans for repair and maintenance works with the requirements of people and stakeholders in the division.
Around $ 5million additional money has been allocated for
Following the meeting, the bus operators, FRA and their consultants MWH Global have reached an agreement on the key sections where major works is required, Mr Nicholls said.
The bus companies have additionally requested FRA to take a vigilant approach towards potholes and routine maintenance works.
The meeting was facilitated by the Divisional Commissioner Northern, Mr Ilai Moceica which also saw attendance of the Land Transport Authority and Fiji Police Force.
Prominent bus company, Parmod Transport was present at the meeting and also represented three other operators in the North.
6. FNU TO RUN MODEL SCHOOLS
Minister for Education, Filipe Bole while opening the Ministry of Education Donors Sectoral Meeting yesterday announced the Ministry’s support towards the initiative to create model primary and secondary schools.
“A new initiative supported by the Ministry of Education is the creation of model primary and secondary schools. As part of this scheme, selected primary and secondary school management would be handed over to the Fiji National University,” Mr Bole said.
However, the ministry will still handle the curriculum, examination and remuneration components of the selected schools.
FNU would be responsible for the school management and will be tasked to create, with the same financial resources which the school receives, an environment which would elevate learning in the schools while making ICT an essential teaching and learning tool.
It is envisaged that the schools will allow for quality teacher training.
“The qualitative changes would be brought about by creating stronger linkages with the corporate sector and the school alumnus. The schools will serve a useful purpose in quality teacher training,” Mr Bole added.
At present, Nasinu Secondary School is being converted into a model technical school where form four students can enter for training and attain certificates one, two and some certificate three programmes in technical and craft skill.
With this new dimension, the Education Ministry may have to reorient its management of TVET (Technical Vocational Education Training) programmes in secondary schools.
Through the same concept of model school, FNU is looking at increasing TVET type skills in primary schools. This would include introducing more education in items such as machines and tools and relooking at human history from technology perspective.
Mr Bole said that aid donors should be made aware of such initiatives.
“ I believe that it is essential that aid donors know that there are new initiatives in the education sector and that education in Fiji has developed from where it was in the last ten years,” Mr Bole concluded.