Monday, March 01, 2010

Tackling Poverty in Fiji

by Geraldine Panapasa

Fiji Times - Monday, March 01, 2010

A VILLAGE community in Rewa has taken a bold stand and instigated a five-year development plan to reduce poverty.

Koroibici Village community adviser Jone Tuiono said one of the projects in the development plan was to establish a housing scheme for the village.

"We are going into partnership with Habitat for Humanity through government for this housing scheme," he said.

"About 27 houses have been identified to have a new home constructed to withstand flooding and cyclones.

"Those houses are made from mixed materials and it is a very sad sight.

"Their toilets are open pit latrines that can pose health risks.

"The aim of this scheme is to provide affordable, durable, spacious and cyclone-resistant houses for the community.

"In one case, there were about three families living in one house and another house was made from bamboo.

"The house that we have in mind is a standard two bedroom wooden house with bathroom, toilet and a sewerage system," Mr Tuiono said.

Habitat for Humanity official Saimoni Ravatu said the houses in the village were not safe for human habitation.

He said the houses would need to have reinforcements on the roofs and wall bracings to avoid them being blown off during a cyclone.

"It will be a total improvement on housing in the area so that families are safe inside the house," Mr Ravatu said.

"Some of the families are still using pit toilets, and diarrhoea and typhoid can be easily spread by using those toilets.

"We are trying to improve homes to have their own septic tanks."

Mr Ravatu said it would cost between $18,000 and $20,000 to construct the two bedroom house.

He said Habitat for Humanity would provide two carpenters while the community would supply the labour force.

"We were at the village on Friday to showcase the houses provided by Habitat for Humanity and the work we have been doing with government," he said.

Mr Ravatu said there was no written agreement for Habitat for Humanity to start development on houses in the area.

Rural community develops project

Monday, March 01, 2010

THE Koroibici Rural Village Integrated Farming Project was officially opened yesterday by the Commissioner Central, Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga.

The project is a five-year plan aimed at developing income-generating projects to make the villagers of Koroibici self-sufficient and, in the process, to reduce poverty and increase prosperity.

Community advisor Jone Tuiono said the project would include a piggery farm, fish pond, poultry and duck farms.

"This project will integrate farming practices," Mr Tuiono said.

"There are a total of 40 households in this mataqali.

"I did a baseline survey on household income expenditure in 2009 averaging per household income.

"The survey showed that the households were generating a bare minimum of $4000 per capita income for one year.

"That figure is below the $7000 threshold government baseline for poverty."

Mr Tuiono said they were trying to create employment by using their own land resources.

He said there was over 480 acres of land that had not been developed.

"This part of the land comprises about 17 acres where we will construct this project in collaboration with the Integrated Human Resources Development Program and the Commissioner Central Division," Mr Tuiono said.

"We are establishing this rural integrated farming project to create employment and to address the poverty situation these families are facing.

"The youths are about 40 per cent of the total village population and are unemployed.

"They are keen on this project.

"The project is in line with government's wishes to put emphasis on economic projects."

Mr Tuiono said the village established the Mataqali Nasavuga Trust last year to provide a scholarship grant for two students to further their studies at tertiary institutions.

Under the project, the women of Koroibici will have a bakery where they will be able to bake and sell bread, buns, scones and pastries.

A housing scheme is also in the pipeline to improve and reinforce village homes to withstand natural disasters.

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