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Minister Urges Men, Vanua To Rally Behind Women

Minister Urges Men, Vanua To Rally Behind Women
Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa (front, seated fifth from left), with the Lovoni Women's Group. Photo: Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation
February 03
13:33 2018

The positive support of men and the vanua was critical if women were to realise their full potential, Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa said yesterday.

She was speaking at a handing over ceremony for the women of the tikina (district) of Lovoni, on Ovalau. The women were given five sewing machines and a laptop.

She said the ministry aimed to provide opportunities to increase women’s active economic participation within their communities.

“The donation to the women’s groups will help equip women with the skills and knowledge for economic independence and entrepreneurial empowerment,’’ the minister said.

Such donations, she said, equipped disadvantaged women with some tools to enhance their income generation.

“The Fijian Government through the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation has set aside programmes to assist women’s groups around the country to engage in income-generating projects in order to help their communities,” the minister said.

“I encourage women’s groups to identify areas of need for economic empowerment of members to reach out to our offices around the country and ask for assistance.”

Mrs Vuniwaqa and her delegation, made up of senior officials of the ministry, then donated some reading material and stationery to students in the area. These were initially provided to the ministry by donors from Australia.

Local chief, the Tui Wailevu,  Ratu Betero Vuniwaidrau, applauded the minister and her team for reaching out to the rural communities.

President of the Lovoni Women’s Group, Kuini Veremaibau, acknowledged the contribution of the government which helped in enhancing sewing skills and income generation for more than 200 members.

Ms Veremaibau said that last year, nine women from the group participated in the National Women’s Expo.

The new machines donated yesterday would improve their capacity to participate at that level again.

President of the Nasaga Women’s Group Fane Koyanasau said that her club members usually came to Levuka Town to compile their group’s monthly report at business centres and internet cafes because the club did not have a computer.

The laptop will assist the club compile reports and other business matters in the comfort of their homes instead of travelling into Levuka Town. This is a cost-cutting opportunity for the club, she said.

A Talanoa session’ was then held with the men and women of three villages in Lovoni and Nasaga Women’s Group. Government assistance programmes towards families and communities were discussed.

Acting Director for the Department of Women Selai Korovusere and Director of Social Welfare Rupeni Fatiaki informed the community about the social protection programmes and women’s economic empowerment programmes that they could benefit from.


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