1. ELDERLY WOMEN TO BRING “LIGHT TO THE NORTH” – Studies in solar electrification by elderly Fijian women continue to reap dividends especially for the villages of Nabouono and Yasawa village in the province of Macuata.
2. GOVERNMENT INKS DEAL WITH NGOs FOR YOUNG MEN & WOMEN – Government this week signed off an agreement with the Good Neighbor International to assist with the organisation’s role in reaching out to single mothers, young women and young men seeking employment opportunities.
3. FIJI CALLS ON REGIONAL OFFICIALS TO PUSH ISSUES FROM OUTCOME DOCUMENT TO LEADERS – PACIFIC Small Island Developing States delegates have been urged to press on and impress upon their leaders on the priority areas of the Outcomes Document drafted at the preparatory meeting that closed this week.
4. EDUCATION MINISTER TOURS UNIVERSITY OPEN DAY – The Minister for Education, National Heritage, Culture and Arts Filipe Bole was part of the Open Day at Derrick Campus this week.
5. TASKFORCE EXPLORES STRATEGIES TO CURB BEGGING – An Inter-Agency Taskforce comprising of representatives from the Ministry of Social Welfare with relevant government and non government organisations is looking at evidence based approach to address the issue of street begging in Fiji.
1 ELDERLY WOMEN TO BRING “LIGHT TO THE NORTH”
Studies in solar electrification by elderly Fijian women continue to reap dividends especially for the villages of Nabouono and Yasawa village in the province of Macuata.
The villages will commission their very own solar electrification project later this month which was installed by the “solar engineers”following their return from the Barefoot College in India. Once complete, this new project will bring “light to many households and families” who often depend on other forms of expensive energy sources.
There are 6 villages in the northern division that have been selected for solar electrification which are Nabouono, Yasawa, Nakorovou, Lutukina, Vuniqalutu and Vunidogoloa.
The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni said that the official commissioning ceremony of the solar electrification will take place during her one week official tour to north which is scheduled from Monday 22nd to Friday 26th July 2013.
Minister Luveni said that following the commissioning of solar electrification at Waikubukubu village in Ba and Nakorovou in Bua, those living in other rural communities around the country have approached Government to provide the same for their communities.
“The solar electrification in Waikubukubu village is truly inspiring as this community has been living in darkness for a long time they have been dependent on the kerosene lamps but now they can access solar lights in every household. The management of the solar project is now in charge of the solar committee and each household have to pay $5 a month. The money is deposited into the committee’s savings account and will be used for any maintenance and repair works.
“Similar success has been achieved in Nakorovou village in Bua where the solar engineer has trained the youths to acquire skills on solar electrification. We are grateful to UN Women, the Barefoot College, including our partnership with the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Areas Network (FLAMMA), and Global Environment Facility Small Grant Programme that seen this initiative come to fruition,” Dr Luveni said.
Minister Luveni said that there are also plans in pipeline to build a Regional Barefoot College at Naleba in Macuata.
“We are grateful to the Ministry of Youth for availing the Naleba Youth centre as the facility to be developed into a Regional Barefoot College in Fiji and we are just waiting for Mr Bunker Roy, the founder of the Barefoot College in India to come and visit the proposed site for the new regional barefoot college in Fiji,” Dr Luveni added.
2 GOVERNMENT INKS DEAL WITH NGOs FOR YOUNG MEN & WOMEN
Government this week signed off an agreement with the Good Neighbor International to assist with the organisation’s role in reaching out to single mothers, young women and young men seeking employment opportunities.
The agreement including an annual grant of $3,000 to the NGO is only part of a separate commitment that the Government has with other non government organisations whose work is aligned to its welfare assistance programs.
Financial support to these NGOs is administered through the Ministry of Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation. These NGOs provide welfare services and community based programmes that are aimed at poverty alleviation and improving the lives of disadvantaged individuals and groups of people in Fiji.
The Ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta said that the Ministry has a budgetary allocation of $100,000 which is aimed at assisting the roles of NGO’s working in line with the vision of the Ministry.
“The NGO grant, enables the Ministry to provide grant and network with the Non-Government Organisations namely, Methodist Veilomani Boys Home, Dilkusha Home, Fiji Crippled Children Society, Lautoka Special School, St. Christopher’s Home, Fiji Vocational Technical Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities, Fiji Society for the Blind, Senior Citizens Community Center, in Ba, Father Law home, Lifeline Fiji, Homes of Hope, Project Heaven and the Good Neighbor International”.
“The Ministry has also entered into Memorandum of Understanding with Fiji Cripple children society, Dilkusha Girls Home, St Christopher’s Home, Fiji society for the Blind, Project Heaven, Veilomani Boys Home to provide effective residential services and development programs,” Dr Koroivueta said.
Good Neighbor International trustee Ms Sarote Konousi thanked Government for this financial support which has been provided to this NGO for the last 5 years.
“The Good Neighbor International manages 2 major facilities to empower the disadvantaged individuals and families. First is what we call My Father’s House where focus is given to young people who have come to Suva in search of jobs and don’t have a place to stay they are able to get temporary shelter at this home to start their new life. The occupants have to pay $40 monthly rent and currently we are accommodating 30 youths at this facility.
“Then we have second facility known as Destiny Home in Tamavua which provides shelter and assistance to single mothers and their children. At the present we have 22 people staying at this Home including 13 children and we meet their educational needs and support their livelihood. This grant money from the social welfare will be directly invested into paying the fees and buying educational resources for the children,” Ms Konousi said.
As per the agreement all the NGO’s assisted under the NGO Grant have to submit the acquittals and quarterly reports on the grant disbursement.
3 FIJI CALLS ON REGIONAL OFFICIALS TO PUSH ISSUES FROM OUTCOME DOCUMENT TO LEADERS
PACIFIC Small Island Developing States delegates have been urged to press on and impress upon their leaders on the priority areas of the Outcomes Document drafted at the preparatory meeting that closed this week.
Fiji’s Ministry of Finance permanent secretary Filimoni Waqabaca told delegates as he closed the PSIDS preparatory regional meeting that the priority areas must be amplified in Samoa when the SIDS sits together at the Third International Conference.
“Despite the diversity of issues that confront our countries, I am proud of the spirit with which you have agreed and crafted the language this document to appropriately portray the needs of our people in a simple yet concise, action-oriented and forward-looking manner,” he said.
The delegates had vigorous discussions on areas that are posing a major threat to the livelihood of the people of the Pacific such as climate change, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and unemployment amongst young people.
“We can all attest to the cross-sectoral effects of climate change and how we need immediate solutions. NCDs are real, accounting for 95 percent of fatalities in our region,” Mr Waqabaca said.
This, he said, was alarming for a small region like the Pacific and concerted effort must be focused on changing lifestyle with emphasis on healthy food consumption and regular exercise.
Therefore the Outcome Document must be communicated at appropriate forums and auctioned accordingly at national level, Mr Waqabaca said.
“I am confident that our issues will be effectively tabled in Barbados next month, and eventually in Samoa next year, with the hope that they will find their way into the final political document,” he said.
The three regions of the SIDS, namely the Pacific, Caribbean and Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Seas (AIMS), will converge in Barbados at the end of August with their outcome documents after regional preparatory meetings.
This part of the PSIDS process was the next level after the countries of SIDS earlier submitted their national assessment report.
4 EDUCATION MINISTER TOURS UNIVERSITY OPEN DAY
The Minister for Education, National Heritage, Culture and Arts Filipe Bole was part of the Open Day at Derrick Campus this week.
The Minister was impressed with the promotional and awareness items on display by the students and staff of the Fiji National University. Secondary schools flocked the campus to get a glimpse of courses offered at the Derrick Campus.
While touring the open day, the Minister highlighted his optimism in seeing progress in the commercial agriculture studies.
“It is pleasing to note that students are thriving in this programme offered by the government. The enthusiasm shown by the students is impressive and the display today is a testimony to this commitment,” commented the Minister for Education.
The agriculture students also had the opportunity to show the Minister some of the proposed plan of farms that they can develop.
“Studying agriculture is worthwhile as we are able to apply what we learn and it also helps us create model farms which we intend to pursue in the future. We are thankful to the government for this assistance and we hope to secure a land to practically apply all that we are learning here,” commented Jone Coqe, a recipient of the commercial agriculture programme.
The Minister for Education while visiting the booths encouraged the students to strive to do their best and wished them well in their studies.
5 TASKFORCE EXPLORES STRATEGIES TO CURB BEGGING
An Inter-Agency Taskforce comprising of representatives from the Ministry of Social Welfare with relevant government and non government organisations is looking at evidence based approach to address the issue of street begging in Fiji.
The Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni said that the taskforce has recently carried out a profiling exercise and has also visited the families of the beggars to identify challenges and reasons for begging.
“The Taskforce has carried out a profiling exercise in Suva and had recorded a total of 48 beggars and of this 25 percent are on social welfare assistance. Some of the reasons identified for street begging are collecting money for paying rent, meeting basic needs and lack of family support. It was also discovered that some of them are financially well off and in some cases children and persons with disabilities are being used to get public sympathy.
“Some of them are generational beggars and migrate from one town to the next. We have formed a taskforce which is made up of Ministry of Social Welfare, Suva City Council, Ministry of Local Government, Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons and relevant NGO’s that is dedicated to finding evidenced based recommendations to best address street begging in Fiji,” Dr Luveni said.
She said the Taskforce is looking at recommendations ranging from income generating and employment opportunities for the beggars.
“The taskforce has also discussed on the possibility of setting up a rehabilitation centre for the beggars who don’t have a place to stay and this plan is under discussion at the moment. We are also expecting to conduct similar profiling exercise in other towns around Fiji and the Ministry is encouraging the relevant stakeholders to help us look at ways to curb begging in Fiji,” Minister Luveni added.