Recognizing Women Market Vendors’ Achievements on the International Women’s Day

Mar 11, 2016

(Labasa, Fiji) – The Labasa Municipal Market was a hype of activity today, with 203 market vendors receiving their certificate awards for their hard work and dedication as market business persons, on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

The vendors had completed the Continuing Market Business Education (CMBE) training: Round 1 Basic Financial Literacy and Round 2 Improve Your Market Business.

Women Market vendors who received the certificates were proud role models to “Step It Up for Gender Equality” as the theme of the 2016 International Women’s Day proclaims.

Julia Bogiva, who was awarded a Certificate today said “I learned how to use and save money I earn. I also learned how to do my business better. I was able to send my children to school through my market business. This is my lifelong learning to secure and improve my market business and support my family.”

“I believe that women have been contributing to strengthening communities too and can do more in this difficult time,” she said.

International Women’s Day this year focuses on how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal Number Five (Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls) and Goal Number 4 (Ensure Inclusive and Quality Education for All and Promote Lifelong Learning).

Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) emphasized in her statement for the International Women’s Day, “By closing gender gaps in labor markets, education, health, and other areas, we can reduce poverty and hunger, improve the nutrition and education of children, and drive inclusive growth.

The Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon called for closing the gap in achieving gender equality in his message on International Women’s Day, “Let us devote solid funding, courageous advocacy and unbending political will to achieving gender equality around the world. There is no greater investment in our common future.”

Osnat Lubrani, Resident Representative of UNDP Pacific Office said, “Women in Fiji have been playing significant role in various areas in Fijian society, as leaders in political and economic spheres, energizers in communities and many other roles. Women are making robust change in society, which contribute to recovering from the impact of the Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston and rebuilding resilient society.”

“UNDP is honored to distinguish their achievements in market business and continue to support their learning to grow,” the Resident Representative added.

The training programme, Continuing Market Business Education (CMBE) was designed to build the financial literacy and business competencies of market vendors and enable them to access financial services.  The CMBE offered learning under two rounds, Round 1 was on financial literacy and Round 2 was on improving market business. Both were conducted by Westpac Banking Corporation and UNDP in partnership with the provincial and municipal governments in Fiji as part of the Markets for Change project.

Since November 2014, 85 training sessions of the five training topics have been conducted in 10 Municipal markets in Fiji including Ba, Labasa, Lautoka, Nadi, Namaka, Nausori, Rakiraki, Sigatoka, Suva and Tavua, attracting a total of 2,217 registrations from market vendors (89.1% women registration).

Market vendors in Suva, Nausori and Sigatoka were awarded certificates in February this year. The award ceremony at all other markets will be conducted.

Meanwhile, Category 5 Severe TC Winston, which hit Fiji on 20 February 2016, left enormous challenges to many communities, families, individuals and their business and livelihoods particularly in Eastern, Northern and Western Divisions of Fiji. Market vendors are amongst those who bore the brunt of the impact.

Improved financial literacy and market business skills through CMBE strengthen market vendors to become more resilient in the emergency situation like aftermath of natural disasters.

In 2016, CMBE will continue to provide training to markets vendors especially targeting more new learners and rural market vendors. CMBE will also provide Round 3 of the series which includes seminars and financial faire to promote financial inclusion in 10 markets in Fiji. The programme is also conducted in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

The Markets for Change project is a six-year, multi-country initiative that aims to ensure marketplaces in rural and urban areas of Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. A UN Women project, Markets for Change is implemented in partnership with UNDP and supported by the Australian Government and is a key contribution to the achievement, in the Pacific, of SDG 5 which focuses on gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.

For more information, please contact:

Emily Moli, UNDP Knowledge Communications Analyst, tel: (679) 3227 504; 719 1112 email: emily.moli@undp.org

Tomoko Kashiwazaki, UNDP Communications and Advocacy Officer, tel: 3312500; 9422193, email: tomoko.kashiwazaki@undp.org

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