GOVERNMENT recognises that empowerment and development of women is a priority for inclusive and sustainable development.
The 2016/2017 National Budget highlights policies that benefit women.
The 2014 National Gender Policy which is aligned to the 2013 Constitution of Fiji and with the ratified international conventions is aimed at promoting gender equality, social justice and sustainable development in Fiji.
Women’s Plan of Action
An allocation of $1million is provided for the implementation of the National Gender Policy.
The program largely focuses on the five thematic areas: formal sector employment and livelihood, equal participation in decision making, elimination of violence against women and children, access to basic services; and women and the law.
Fiji Women’s Federation
It is a national advisory body to the Minister of Women for the improvement and coordination of women’s programs around Fiji. A funding of $0.2 million is provided to the organisation for its operation.
The Government will continue to provide funding of around $0.2m to women organisations to advance the interests of women and children around the country.
Fiji National Women’s Expo
Since 2014, the Fiji National Women’s Expo has been held annually focusing on creating a platform for rural women groups to market their products particularly handicrafts and search for development partners to gain access to urban and international markets. More than 1000 women from 499 women’s group around Fiji have been participating since 2014. In the 2016-2017 budget, Government has allocated a sum of $0.5m to host the third National Women’s Expo.
Food Voucher Program:
Pregnant women in rural areas will continue to receive assistance through the Food Voucher Program to reduce cases of malnutrition and complications during pregnancy. An allocation of $0.5m has been budgeted for this program, which comprises $30 monthly food voucher for the duration of 10 months for recipients.
Domestic Violence Helpline
Government is dedicated towards the protection of women’s rights and reduce incidence of violence against women. A sum of around $170,000 is allocated for the establishment and operations of a 24 hour toll free domestic violence helpline, which will provide reporting and free referral platform for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Women in policing
The Women in Policing Network with the Fiji Police Force was established to encourage and improve working capabilities for police women, at the same time encourage Equal Employment Opportunity within the organisation to enhance effective and efficient policing.
An allocation of $0.02m is budgeted for this program
Cottage Industry Development
The program assists women in cottage industries like mat and basket weaving, masi making and floral arrangement. A sum of $0.1m is allocated in the budget for this initiative.
Source: Fiji Times. Date: June 23 2016