Government’s social, economic and legal services made accessible at people’s doorstepApr 13, 2017
More people in remote communities are accessing social, economic and legal services provided by the Government which can provide substantive support to their lives when needed most. A hundred and eighty six people (113 women and 73 men) from seven communities in the Central Division accessed those services when officers from the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, the Legal Aid Commission, the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) jointly visited their communities.
The Government of Fiji provides a number of social, economic and legal services to people in need of assistance, but some of them are not aware of the services they could benefit from or not many of them have submitted applications at the government offices in town. Partly because they have limited information, limited awareness or simply no means or time to travel to town to access these services.
To raise awareness among people about their social, economic and legal rights enshrined in Fiji’s Constitution and deliver the associated services available to them, officers from the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, the Legal Aid Commission, the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission and UNDP come together as a team to visit community to community. This Mobile Service Delivery is coordinated as part of the Rights, Empowerment and Cohesion (REACH) for Rural and Urban Fijians, called REACH Project.
Between 28 to 31 March 2017, 187 people (81 women, 99 men and 7 children) learned about their rights and services available when the REACH Mobile Service Delivery team visited the districts of Rewa, Veinuqa and Dawasamu. People also obtained some additional advice on the related issues specific to their communities such as child protection, domestic violence, and income generation among others.
Maselina Keresiqa from Waisalulu Vutia community, Rewa District was one of the participants who felt more confident to deal with some issues in the community after the REACH Mobile Service Delivery.
“As a Sunday School teacher, I often talk with children and parents on various topics but we hardly discussed the issues such as child neglect and care. I feel more supported knowing those services available to us and confident to exchange ideas on those issues with women’s group and others in the communities,” said Keresiqa.
People from Wainilotulevu and Nasoqo villages in Veinuqa District were particularly appreciative of the REACH Mobile Service Delivery given that their villages are inaccessible by road, requiring the REACH team to hike five hours in each direction to reach the villages.
Asinate Shane from Wainilotulevu village, said, "The session was very useful and informative especially for us, living in such an extremely isolated environment, pretty much we were unfamiliar with most of the Government services available."
The Rights, Empowerment and Cohesion (REACH) for Rural and Urban Fijians Project, aims to promote peacebuilding, social cohesion and inclusiveness through awareness of rights, access to services, provision of legal advice and institutional capacity building in Fiji. A mobile service delivery approach is undertaken to reach communities throughout all of Fiji with the focus to reach the furthest behind first.
The three-year REACH Project is being implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, and the Legal Aid Commission and supported by the Government of Japan and UNDP.