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Vuniwaqa Urges Religious Leaders To Help Address Social Issues Facing The Country

The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa has called on faith-based leaders to help address social issues facing Fiji today. A meeting between her ministry and representatives
02 Mar 2017 11:00
Vuniwaqa Urges Religious Leaders To Help Address Social Issues Facing The Country
Minister for Women,Children and Poverty Alleviation Mereseini Vuniwaqa (sitting fifth from right), Permanent Secretary Dr Josefa Koroivueta (sitting fourth from right), Director Social Welfare Rupeni Fatiaki (sitting right) with representatives from different faith-based organisations yesterday. Photo: Vilimoni Vaganalau

The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa has called on faith-based leaders to help address social issues facing Fiji today.

A meeting between her ministry and representatives from over a dozen faith-based organisations gathered at the Southern Cross Hotel in Suva.

At the meeting, Ms Vuniwaqa said: “Faith-based organisations and religious leaders’ presence in local communities, coupled with their capacity to deliver critical services, allow them to mobilise grassroots support, earn the trust of vulnerable groups, and influence cultural norms – all of which make them vital stakeholders in development.

“As the ministry reflects on causes and solutions to social problems, no social institution has been allocated such a central role as the family.

“Thus, it is important that if any significant changes are to be made in trying to address social issues, it will require the concerted effort of all stakeholders to make an impact, especially in strengthening the family unit,” she said.

This was accomplished by Government collaborating with faith-based leaders and working towards evidence-based and solution-centred strategies in addressing the various social issues.

“Government’s commitments to protect the rights of its citizens are clearly reflected under Fiji’s 2013 Constitution that has provided for a wide range of socio-economic rights.

“These rights include the right to education, access to healthcare, housing and sanitation, reasonable access to transportation, food security and safe water, and social security schemes,” Mrs Vuniwaqa said.

“Under Fiji’s five-year and 20-year National Development Plan, Government’s major objective is to improve the living standards of all Fijians.

“This is attainable through fair and efficient delivery of social services.”

One of those taking part, Romanu Tikotikoca said: “It is an opportunity for them to see the various social issues that exist and what needs to be done to tackle it.

“It’s a good move by Government as it will enlighten the people who are attending this workshop to know the roles and responsibilities of the churches.

And as we go back we are going to promote what we have taken in from today, to our members so that they realise truly the responsibilities pertaining to that,” Mr Tikotikoca said.

Attending the meeting with the ministry were more than 50 representatives from 18 different faith based organisations.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj



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