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By ELLEN STOLZ
The Fijian Government under the Livelihood Programme has set aside $150,000 to help in the development of Fiji’s natural resources into income-generating projects.
The Permanent Secretary for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation, Govind Sami, said this money would be used to develop 10 poultry and 10 virgin coconut oil projects this year under the Livelihood Programme.
“The Ministry of Women is also working through the Women’s Resource Centres to provide skills training and financial literacy programmes to develop more women into entrepreneurship,” Mr Swami said.
While the strengthening of partnerships with non-government organisations (NGO’s) is on the agenda to advance economic empowerment of women, Mr Sami said it was through provisions of income-generating projects (IGP) that this was being done.
“This is one of the key pillars for development captured in Women’s Plan of Action (2010-2019),” he said.
To nurture this joint collaboration for economic development, Government has allocated $100,000 under NGO Grants administered by the ministry.
Through the programme, the divisional women offices would work with NGOs in their districts to identify skills and resource development for women, unfolding projects that have potential to improve livelihood and reduce poverty.
Mr Sami confirmed 26 women’s groups from Western, Eastern, Central and Northern divisions had been assisted with funds to develop income generating projects into bee-keeping, canteens, bread baking, piggery farming, vegetable farming, brush cutters and fuel projects to name a few.
“So far a total of $70,000 has been invested into starting of this income-generating projects that will see economic opportunities for women to be self-sufficient and contribute towards their household income,” he said.
“Requests for funding came from women NGO’s and each of the NGO has developed business plans to ensure sustainability of the projects.”