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Linking Women To The Business World

Linking Women To  The Business World
From left: Janet Lotawa and Sereima Maraivalu. Photo: Sheetal Prasad
June 20
16:08 2015

Empowering women in rural and remote communities is the core function of a local organisation – Rise Beyond the Reef.

In partnership with Westpac Bank in Fiji, the women’s group showcased a number of craftwork made by its members at the recent Fiji Tourism Expo in Denarau, Nadi.

The items on display were bags, baskets, mats, etc – all hand-woven – that were on sale at the expo.

The organisation, driven to generate income for its women members, was co-founded by an American woman, Janet Lotawa, who is married local man Semi Lotawa, from Nalotawa Village in Ba.

The organisation engages women by making use of the available resources that they have to sell and generate income.

It is based at Nalatawa Village and its income-generating programme extends to five other villages.

Mr and Mrs Lotawa’s work is fully committed to supporting the communities in terms of educational infrastructure and access to continued learning. They also help train and educate the women about saving money, budgeting, how to run a business, which is backed up by Westpac Bank.

“Financial literacy is one of the efforts, which is why we are partnering with Westpac Fiji on that,” Ms Lotawa said.

“We also facilitate agriculture technical training, things that are relevant to their livelihoods and also educational infrastructural projects. Our theory of change is that you can get money in leadership roles for women then they have an opportunity to earn an income and be leaders in their communities.

“Women are having the greatest capacity for change and a greatest investment back into their families and communities.”

The organisation currently engages 129 women.




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