1. EIGHT STUDENTS TO STUDY MEDICINE IN CUBA – Eight students will be leaving our shores to pursue medical studies in Cuba through the Public Service Commission Overseas scholarship scheme.
2. NEW CENTRE PROVIDES ECONOMIC BOOST FOR KUKUWALU – The establishment of a new women’s centre in Kukuwalu village in Newtown will raise the prospects of income generating projects for the women in the area.
3. GARDEN ISLAND HOSTS YOUTH CELEBRATION – Youth groups and representatives from throughout the Northern Division gathered at Holy Cross College ground in Wairiki, Taveuni, last week for the National Youth Day celebrations.
4. TASKFORCE REJUVENATES EFFORT ON ADDRESSING VIOLENCE – The Fiji Police Force has applauded the consolidated approach taken by the newly formed EVAW (Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children) to address the issue of violence against women and children in Fiji.
1 EIGHT STUDENTS TO STUDY MEDICINE IN CUBA
Eight students will be leaving our shores to pursue medical studies in Cuba through the Public Service Commission Overseas scholarship scheme.
Amongst the eight students was 19 year old Yaroi villager from Moala in Lau, Lolohea Tagilala who said she was honoured to be chosen to pursue her dreams of becoming a doctor.
“I am honoured and privileged to be chosen to study medicine in Cuba. Years of hard work have finally paid off even though it was challenge being amongst other candidates that also applied”, Ms Tagilala said.
While congratulating the students on this development, the Minister for Youth and Sports and chief guest Viliame Naupoto reminded the students on their role and its contribution to Fiji.
“Government is committed to having a health system that is responsive to the needs of the people, that provides a fair service and one that has qualified personnel who can provide efficient, effective and professional care”, the Minister said.
“Government is also committed to providing that opportunity to Fijian students for overseas training in different fields of study”.
Minister Naupoto said that “Government has fully supported this scholarship scheme since 2010, when the first cohort of students left our shores for Cuba. With the addition of the eight students whom we are fare-welling today, the number of Fijian students will now be 22”.
2 NEW CENTRE PROVIDES ECONOMIC BOOST FOR KUKUWALU
The establishment of a new women’s centre in Kukuwalu village in Newtown will raise the prospects of income generating projects for the women in the area.
The “Kukuwalu Women’s Centre” was officially opened recently by the Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni who commended the efforts by the women to see the establishment of this project.
Kukuwalu is a multiracial community with a population of 400 and the first descendents hailed from Solomon Islands. The Centre is one of the first government funded projects for this community and has been built with a funding of $6000 from the Ministry of Women.
In her opening address, Minister Luveni said the Centre will create income generating opportunities for women and it will also build their confidence to improve their livelihood.
“This group has portrayed great potential when I had first visited them last year and upon hearing that they were fundraising to collect money for their women’s centre, the Ministry was determined to contribute towards this endeavor.
“The Centre provides a permanent space where women can come together to have their group meetings and coordinate their income generating activities. It will also open doors for further networking with the other government ministries in terms of information sharing and accessing awareness programs on women and children,” Dr Luveni said.
Kukuwalu Women’s Club president Mrs Sarah Gris thanked the government for assisting them to build this much needed infrastructure in their village.
“We are so fortunate to have a Minister for Women who leaves the comfort of her office and comes down to our village and gives us opportunity to discuss our plans with the government. We would still be struggling to collect the funds for this Centre had it not been for the Ministry funding, today the women are happy that finally their long awaited dream has became a reality. The Centre is worth $9000 and we are glad the group managed to contribute $3000 towards its completion,” she said.
Mrs Gris said the women will now be able to display and sell their handicrafts, sewing and wood carving products.
“The Centre is located near the roadside so we can easily attract the customers and we can even sell our baking and food items along with the handicrafts. There are 50 women in this village who don’t have permanent employment so this Centre has given them an opportunity to earn income for their families. We are determined to work together, support each other to make a difference in our community,” she added.
Mr Tom Victor, leader of Kukuwalu Development Committee said that, “We would like to thank the Ministry for helping us develop this unique centre, it will steer a change in mindset of the people that women are breadwinners of their families, this Centre is just a perfect way to recognize the important role of women.”
3 GARDEN ISLAND HOSTS YOUTH CELEBRATION
Youth groups and representatives from throughout the Northern Division gathered at Holy Cross College ground in Wairiki, Taveuni, last week for the National Youth Day celebrations.
An annual event on Government’s calendar, the celebrations were held in other parts of the country. This year it was held for the first time in Taveuni. The Ministry of Youth and Sports permanent secretary Mr Joseva Sania officiated at the event.
Pointing out the theme of the celebrations, ‘Youth – Energy of the Nation,’ Mr Sania stressed that it’s important to recognise the contribution by Fiji’s youth towards the overall socio economic development of the nation.
“For Fiji to move forward we must continue to prepare and engage our youth to contribute to the reform work for our nation,” added the Permanent Secretary.
The Permanent Secretary used the occasion to urge the youth of the Northern Division to make use of the opportunity to have their voice heard in the formation of the next government as the voting age had been lowered.
Various activities organised for the day included tree planting activities, booth displays and competitions.
4 TASKFORCE REJUVENATES EFFORT ON ADDRESSING VIOLENCE
The Fiji Police Force has applauded the consolidated approach taken by the newly formed EVAW (Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children) to address the issue of violence against women and children in Fiji.
While opening the Gender Based Training workshop held recently at Ro Lalabalavu House in Suva, the Fiji Police Force’s Human Resources director Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Unaisi Vuniwaqa said the EVAW Taskforce has inculcated new hope and rejuvenated effort on eliminating violence.
The Inter-Agency Taskforce on EVAW was formed in April this year by the Ministry of Women and includes representatives from various government and non-government organisations who will work together to address violence against women and children.
While addressing the Taskforce members, SSP Vuniwaqa said that a collaborative platform will enable stakeholders to effectively look at the root causes of violence and efficient ways of addressing this issue.
“We thank the Ministry for bringing all the relevant stakeholders under one roof for a round table discussion. The Taskforce will play a key role in identifying strategies to address the issue of violence.
The EVAW Taskforce provides a multi-sectoral platform for stakeholders to share information, data and resources to map out a consolidated effort to eliminate violence against women and children,” she said.
SSP Vuniwaqa said that Police statistics show that in 2013, of the total offences committed 13percent of it accounts to sexual offences.
“We have seen that due to increase awareness people are now reporting cases to the police and through training like these one, the EVAW Taskforce members will be able to upgrade their knowledge and reach out to the families and communities. The impact will be witnessed in positive response from communities to participate and respond effectively to our awareness programs.
“The vision on creating violence free communities is shared vision and it can only be achieved if all the stakeholders work together it will foster positive changes into the lives of the women, children and the communities,” she reiterated.
In line with this vision, the Ministry of Women in partnership with Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) had organised a Gender Based Violence training to enable the Taskforce members to understand the dynamics of gender based violence and device action plans to create violence free environment for women and girls.
The training saw the participation of representatives from the Fiji Police Force, Fiji Correctional Services, Solicitor General’s Office, health, education, provincial development, i-taukei affairs, Empower Pacific and UN Women.