Rural women at craft fair10/22/2013
Women representing more than fifty women groups from all the provinces in the country have commended Government for their commitment to addressing the concerns of rural women through several government programs.

At the conclusion of the recently organised Food and Craft Fair that was held in Nadi, the women highlighted various government programs targeted towards protecting women and empowering them at the same time. The event also provided an avenue for women to directly address concerns and challenges with other groups and organisations including Government.

Through partnership with Non-Government Organisations, the Ministry of Women made all the travel and accommodation arrangements for women as far as Cakaudrove, Macuata, Bua, Rotuma, Tailevu, Ra, Rabi and Naitasiri to participate in this national event.

Banaban Women’s Organisation president Mrs Terikano Takesau said while the Food and Craft Fair provided them with an opportunity to display their products, they were able to sell some of this at the venue.

“The Banaban women are grateful to the government for giving us this special day to promote our skills and products. In two days we have managed to sell a lot of coconut value added products like Virgin Coconut Oil, soap, even handicrafts and ladies jewelries through which we have earned more than $400.”

“Most of these products have been bought by the tourists visiting our stalls and we hope that the Ministry will organise similar craft shows in the future. The rural women have also acquired skills and knowledge relating to financial literacy, health, agriculture, education and also developed friendship with women from other provinces,” Mrs Takesau said.

She said a major government project will soon open in Rabi and it will benefit around 1000 Banaban women living in Rabi.

“We are indebted to the government for assisting us with the establishment of a Virgin Coconut Oil factory in Rabi which should be opened by the end of this year. This development has been possible through the Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama’s visit to the island where the Banaban people had the opportunity to directly request for government’s assistance to start this much-awaited development.

“The project has been funded by government with an amount of $32,000 and the new infrastructure will boost the economic development through the production of best quality and quantity of Virgin Coconut Oil to be marketed both local and international market. Last year, the ministry of women has also donated two electrical coconut scrappers to the Banaban Women’s Group worth over $2000 which assists the women with their VCO production,” Mrs Takesau reiterated.

Mrs Sushila Rameshwar, president of Nadi Women’s Council said government’s reach to rural women through various income generating projects should be commended.

“The present government has reached out to many women’s groups through various initiatives like violence free campaign and construction of women centres. The Nadi Town Council would like to acknowledge the Minister Dr Luveni for her continued hardwork and confidence she has taken in her role as a women’s minister to reach out and listen to the voices of rural women in Fiji.

“The 2013 Rural Women’s Food and Crafts Fair is the demonstration of the positive changes received by the rural women in Fiji who have delightfully come out in large numbers to market their creativity and potential as key agents for food security and poverty alleviation,” Mrs Rameshwar said.