Suva, Fiji - Market vendors, whose livelihoods have been washed away by the floods in Fiji earlier this month, will be employed in a special “cash-for-work” programme to assist them in rebuilding their livelihoods as well as enabling them to contribute to recovery efforts in their communities. The cash-for-work programme is funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from UN Women and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
In consultation with Ministry of Provincial Development and National Disaster Management and the Ministry of Strategic Planning, market vendors in Rakiraki were identified as the initial beneficiaries of the cash-for-work programme which is scheduled to start next week. The programme intends to employ around 260 market vendors for 20 working days.
“The cash-for-work programme in the form of emergency employment is about the dignity of the women and men to be involved in recovery who then decide on how to use the money earned. Such programmes also provide quick visible impact in the affected areas giving hope to the women and men to move forward and build towards the future,” said Mr Knut Ostby, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative.
UN Women and UNDP have conducted research and recently compiled the socio-economic profile of market vendors in Fiji, which shows that about 80 percent of market vendors in the Western Division are women and with average weekly earnings of between FJ$126 to $250.00. Approximately 60 percent of market vendors grow their own produce for sale, and mainly sell vegetables, root crops and fruits. The vendors work 10-hour days, six days a week. Vendor incomes in Fiji fluctuate quite a bit depending on several factors, and given the recent rain and floods have suffered disruptions and drastic reductions in income.
“Markets in Fiji are economic hubs which contribute significantly to the local and national economies, in addition to vendors, supporting also employment of transport industry workers, council worker, farmers and law enforcement. The cash-for-work programme for the market vendors combined with a timely investment in market rehabilitation and re-stocking would kickstart a wider economic reactivation in this hard-hit area of the country,” Mr Ostby said.
The cash-for-work programme, a first for Fiji, is part of a larger UNDP project targeting livelihoods restoration following recurrent floods in Fiji and has a budget of US$100,000.00.UNDP is seeking additional funds to expand this programme to other affected areas in the Western Division.
Shobhna Decloitre, UNDP Communications Specialist on (679) 3300399 or Shobhna.email@example.com