Suva, Fiji – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Governments of Fiji and of Japan today launched the Fiji REACH Project to support the Fijian Government’s push to improve service delivery to disadvantaged populations, particularly for women, youth, minorities and communities in rural and urban informal settlements.
The Project for Improvement of Access to Social Services on Justice and Gender Related-Issues for All Fijians (REACH: Rights, Empowerment and Cohesion for Rural and Urban Fijians) aims to strengthen sustainable democratic governance by promoting peace-building, social cohesion and inclusiveness through raising awareness on equal human rights and domestic violence, creating better access to social services, legal aid and capacity building of people and key governance institutions in Fiji. In doing so the Project aims to provide more effective, accountable and coordinated provision of social services to the poor and those in rural communities at the same time improving their access to justice and rule of law which will promote the rights of women, youth and disadvantaged communities.
This three-year, US$2.49 million project will be implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, and is generously funded by the Government of Japan.
The Hon. Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Rosy Akbar said the REACH Project will be a pathway to expand the reach-out of government services to the rural and maritime communities in Fiji. Hon. Akbar has acknowledged the great support given from the Japanese Government and the United Nations Development Programme for making this project a reality for the communities in Fiji.
“People centred initiative by the Government of Fiji is closely identifies two of the main concepts of Japanese ODA, namely ‘Strengthening Human Security’ and ‘Encouraging Gender Equality’ towards building resilient societies. I sincerely hope that this project will effectively deliver to the grassroot communities in harmonization with the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, UNDP and relevant organizations and stakeholders. Based on its strong merit, I am confident that this project will also contribute to Fiji’s new phase of “Nation Building,” said H.E. Mr. Takuji Hanatani, Ambassador of Japan.
UNDP’s Resident Representative, Osnat Lubrani thanked the Government of Japan for its support and commended the Fijian Government for its commitment to strengthening delivery of social welfare, basic services and improve access to justice for those that are disadvantaged and living in rural communities.
“Support to inclusive and effective democratic governance and promotion of peace and social cohesion is at the core of UNDP’s work and is one of the pillars of its current Strategic Plan. This theme is also central to the current UN Development Development Assistance Framework. This new initiative builds on a long track-record of UNDP support to Fiji in areas such as parliamentary development, civic education, local governance, gender equality, youth leadership, among others.
“We are very pleased by this opportunity to further strengthen our cooperation in particular the delivery of services to rural communities and those that are disadvantaged. Improved access to social services, legal aid and justice, which will promote the rights of women, youth and disadvantaged, are a Government priority we are looking very much forward to support,” Mr Lubrani said.
UNDP has been supporting Fiji through both country-level and regional governance programmes in the areas of civic education, local governance, gender equality and youth leadership. As Fiji prepares a new Roadmap in 2015, UNDP will continue to assist Fiji’s progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 and participation in discussions on the post-2015 development agenda.
Setaita Tavanabola, UNDP Research Assistant, tel: 3227523; email: firstname.lastname@example.org