Women market vendors in Suva commemorate Human Rights Day

Dec 10, 2014

(Suva, Fiji) – As the international community commemorated Human Rights Day and the end of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, women market vendors based at the Suva municipal market are playing their part by participating in the ‘Orange the Market’ campaign, organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with UN Women and supported by the Suva City Council.

The campaign coincided with a training on Continuing Market Business Education programme, conducted by UNDP in partnership with local governments, UN Women and Westpac, under the Markets for Change project. Forty-one (36 women and five men) market vendors participated in the training session on Financial First Steps, the first of five topics to be delivered as part of Continuing Market Business Education programme. To date, 176 market vendors including nine men working at Suva municipal market have been trained though the programme. The trainings aim to improve and strengthen the financial literacy and business practice and competency of market vendors especially women market vendors.

“I learnt so many things from the training like how to spend and save. I would like to save more from my business for my future, to prepare for my parents retirement, and any unforeseen events like accidents,” said Ms Anna Cila, from Naisogovau, a 35-year-old, selling cooked cassava and dalo at the market.

“We are pleased to support women market vendors to participate in making decisions at all levels of their communities and take on leadership roles,” said Mr. Nicholas Rosellini, UNDP’s Deputy Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific and Director, Bangkok Regional Hub.

“UNDP globally targets women catalysts for social, economic and political changes. There are credible evidences that cash in women's hands effectively increases children's education, family health, and other household welfare, all over the world.  You are catalysts for those positive changes in your families, communities and society in Fiji. Today's financial literacy training is very important in that context”, said Mr Rosellini.

“The training developed ‘business perspective’ among market vendors. More vendors have recently become members of the association, I think it’s because the training raised positive awareness. It is important to know the rights of vendors, particularly women vendors as equal business partner with men. I would like to convey my message for equality between women and men in decision making. It is important for a wife and a husband to discuss and decide together how to manage and develop business,” said John Pratap, President, Suva Market Vendors Association.

“I can see some positive changes in the market since the training programme came to the market. Vendors are more mindful not only of their own business, but also co-workers’ space and safety of each other as being part of the market vendors.  I would say the training opened up their minds. I would like to encourage more women to speak up if they suffer any harassment at the market and seek assistance from us, because violence against women has negative impact on their family, economy and our country”, said Asish Prasad, Market Master, Suva City Council.

“The training helped me understand how to look at my needs and savings so I can achieve my goal. I am aiming to buy a car so that I can bring more flowers to the market,” Ms Sainimili Bainivalu, 54-year-old flower vendor from Nakasi, one of the participants in the training.

“On Human Rights Day, since we came together to the training in orange shirt, I would like to send a message to stop violence against women and children,” she added.

Concluding Mr Rosellini said, “It is also my pleasure to be part of 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence through the ‘Orange the Market’ campaign. We are committed to the empowerment of women and gender equality. Wishing you a successful training today.”

Training will be rolled out at other municipal markets in Ba, Labasa, Lautoka, Nadi, Nausori, Rakiraki, Sigatoka, Suva and Tavua in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment, Municipal Governments, and the Westpac Banking Corporation. It aims to reach out 2,300 women market vendors in Fiji.

The Markets for Change - Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu project is a six-year initiative, which aims to ensure that marketplaces in rural and urban areas in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. The Markets for Change project is a UN Women project implemented in partnership with UNDP with principal funding from the Australian Government.

Contact information

Cema Bolabola, UNDP Training & Research Coordinator, tel: 3312500 ext. 716 or 9785908; email:

Tomoko Kashiwazaki, UNV Communications and Advocacy Officer, tel: 3312500 or 9422193; email:

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