The economic empowerment of women is the most effective tool for development. This was highlighted by the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Mereseini Vuniwaqa while visiting the women’s group in Taveuni.

“This is what we are aiming to achieve as a Ministry and the support of the women’s groups, community, faith based organizations, NGO’s and other stakeholders are essential in helping us to support the dreams of the young girls, women and the underprivileged families in Fiji.”

On the second day of her Ministerial Tour of the Northern Division, Minister Vuniwaqa visited women’s group of Kanacea, Korovou, Natokalau, Tavuki Wairiki and also the Tutu Training Centre.

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She said the empowerment of women is crucial in realizing the Government’s goal towards helping women learn new skills and enhance old ones, to translate them into proper ventures.

By enhancing their knowledge, these women would be able to earn an income for their families and also contribute to the economic growth of the nation.

Minister Vuniwaqa explained that the purpose of these visits was to talk to the women out in these rural communities about efforts and activities aimed at changing young girls’ and women’s mentality from “can’t do it” to “can do it.”

“It is about creating an environment where women can have a voice in economic, political and cultural issues and these women and girls empowerment activities boost their self-esteem and allow them to participate on an equal platform as their male counterparts,” Minister Vuniwaqa mentioned.

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Natokalau Community Development Committee member, Mr Leone Solovani said this was the first Minister to visit their small community and they have learnt a lot of new things during the Talanoa session with Minister Vuniwaqa and her team.

Mr Solovani further said that “when we empower our women, we empower the whole family and community”.

“I also encourage men and youths to support the women on the activities carried out in the community as this will help the community as a whole,” he stated.

President of Kanacea Women’s Group, Mrs Usenia Kaukitoga thanked the Minister for visiting them and said that it had been “an eye and mind opener” to most of the women to have heard the words of advice and encouragement from the Ministry.

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The talanoa session captured the issues faced by the women’s group and community members with the assurance by the ministerial delegation that the relevant authorities will be notified on these issues at the earliest.