Monday, 11 August 2014

Incremental Grassroots Assistance Helps Poor Help Themselves

Dr Jiko (r), the Davuileu women, and four donated sewing machines.
When I published Sofaia's story three weeks ago the usual critics burst forth with comments like, "Nice smokescreen Croz. Does Sharon have any integrity left?" and  "This rubbish from the junta ministry of misinformation is beyond farcical."

Not for the first time, they had completely missed the point.  Reducing poverty requires major changes at national level such as improved access to education and work but it also needs incremental grassroots action where people are helped to help themselves.

So I have two more stories for the critics this week.

Rabi Island off SE Vanua Levu.

 A $500,000 government grant will help women to establish  bee farming projects in the four villages, and other projects —coconut replanting programs, soap-making, fish farming and the construction of farm roads as well as root crops and rice farming— will also generate income.

These projects add to those already working on the island: a new virgin coconut oil factory, and a  bio-fuel factory that will encourage coconut growers to plant more to meet the demand in the two facilities. As the government representative said: "We are assisting them so they are self-reliant, sustainable and economically-empowered" which, critics,  may add is much more than previous governments did. 

Nausori, close to Suva.

And on the main island. the Davuilevu Women’s Group in Nausori has secured funding to build a new Women’s Resource Centre.

 Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni said  development projects like women centres have already resulted in women starting their own businesses and empower them to be financially independent.

 The spokesman for those living at Davuilevu, Joji Qaranivalu, thanked government for providing a swift response to their request for a women's centre.

“We are very glad that this is the first government has come right down to us to address our bread and butter issues. We are grateful to the Bainimarama government for coming right down to our doorsteps —to sit with us and hear us out— and identify development projects to improve our lives. This approach empowers us to take ownership of the solutions whilst addressing the challenges we face."

Women's group president Mrs Kesaia Wati Qaranivalu said the Minister’s visit has challenged the women to capitalise on their talent and skills.

 “We have 50 women in our group who earn income by selling roti parcel, pies, cakes, and fruit juice at the group canteen. On a weekly basis, we are able to fork in $200 to help the women, however we felt that there is much more we can achieve by working together with the government."


  1. Sorry Croz I couldn't help myself when I read this and though before your mate Marc Edge gets in, I should probably ask did Ministry of Information write this piece for your blog? Hahaha. Apologies mate but am sure you will be "sweetaz".

  2. Based on two MOI press releases. Is there something wrong with that? Surely the important question is whether the stories are true.

    1. Certainly nothing wrong with that Croz. I was merely being cheeky but it was aimed more towards Marc Edge than you.

  3. Minfos take on biofuel is surely interesting. At current world market prices for coconut oil and diese (Croz I am sure you can find these on the web), it is simply insane to encourage the use of coconut oil as fuel, but never mind let the journalism of hope prevail.

  4. Coups are good for my holidaysTuesday, 12 August 2014 at 22:58:00 GMT+12

    Since the dictatorship Fiji has become a great place for discounted low budget holidays. Everything is cheap and the staff run around doing everything for less wages than my kids get in pocket money. Oh and give the taxi drivers a 5 cent tip - they work hard and deserve it!

  5. If Croz and Whaleoil are corrupt, don't visit and participate in their blogs mate. Stay with C4.5 the most engaging blog in the world-NOT.


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