The recent graduation of 118 trainees by the Ba Women’s Forum has been lauded as a social innovation by Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Mereseini Vuniwaqa.
“Achieving a gender-equal world requires social innovations that work for both women and men and leave no one behind,” Minister Vuniwaqa said.
“What we are celebrating is a great example of a social innovation, a solution explored by an institute such as the Ba Women’s Forum Training Center, aimed to transform the lives of Fijian women. This institute deserves to stand very proud today.”
The BWF’s training center includes courses in Computer Studies and Arts and Crafters to promote recycling, shell crafting, flower arrangements and products such as folders and compendiums, traditional Fijian fans and decorative accessories. Courses also cover sewing at basic, advanced and production levels as well as food preparation (cooking, baking, preserves). The graduate trainees have attained certification in all these areas, with some graduating for dual skills.
“My Ministry has had the pleasure of providing funding towards the BWF Training Center for which $100,000 has been allocated to the Ministry in the current budget. So far $50,000 has been released to the BWF and it has been utilized efficiently to pay the administrators and trainers, to buy raw materials and supplies for the trainings, to buy tools and product patterns and to pay the trainees’ bus fares and allowance,” Minister Vuniwaqa noted.
“I say with great conviction, NGOs are a backbone to support marginalized people. This is why my Ministry works in partnership with many NGOs, especially those directly working with children, persons living with disabilities, older persons and women. Over the past two and half years at the Ministry, I have witnessed some of these NGOs grow from strength to strength and their capacities are now enabling their vision and goals.”
The Ba Women’s Forum is led by Dr. Maria Doton and is in discussions with three new garment factories in Ba to access employment opportunities for their sewing graduates.