Photo: Honourable Rosy Akbar with women in Labasa.
The Hon. Minister for Women, Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Akbar has commended the Market for Change Project initiated by the United Nations Women’s Organisation.
The Market for Change Project targets market vendors in an effort to help improve the working conditions, leadership capabilities and earning power of women in both rural and urban areas.
Speaking at the International Rural Women’s Day celebration in Labasa today, the Minister highlighted that the Project expects to benefit more than 7,000 women vendors from rural and urban communities across the country.
“At the national level, shelters for women market vendors at the Rakiraki and Suva municipal markets have been constructed and the Labasa Market produces the largest fresh produces in Vanua Levu that has approximately 500 vendors”, the Minister told guests at today’s event.
“The economy of the Labasa district is largely driven by season wealth obtained from sugar harvesting and the majority of fresh produce sold in the Labasa market is locally grown on small farms.”
The United Nations Women organisation Regional Programme Specialist Preeya Ieli said rural women play a critical role all around the world. She added that markets are essential to the livelihoods of many Fiji households where a vast majority are women.
“Here in Labasa 74 per cent of the market vendors are women, therefore the UN Women started Markets for ChangeProject in Fiji.”
Ms Ieli said working in 10 markets including Labasa, the Markets for Change project mainly targets vendors in an effort to improve the working conditions and leadership capabilities.
The project has been implemented in other Pacific island countries including Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.