Suva, Fiji - Over 30 representatives from 21 national civil society organisations are meeting in Suva this week to gain further insights into approaches to effective coalition building as well as share knowledge, and skills.

The workshop, targeted at national and local level civil society organisations, is facilitated by UNDP under its Strengthening Citizen Engagement in Fiji Initiative (SCEFI).

Ms. Sonja Bachmann, SCEFI Coordinator, in welcoming the participants, noted that this was a timely opportunity to share experiences in achieving common goals, how to raise issues of priority to local communities, but also how to effectively engage with national institutions, and actively participate and contribute to national sustainable development.

Participants attending the two-day workshop from 20th to 21st April, 2016, represent organisations working in the areas of governance, human rights, women’s empowerment, youth empowerment, rights of disabled persons, LGBTIQ organisations, mental health advocacy, natural resource management to name a few.

Ms. Virisila Buadromo, the facilitator for the 2-day citizen engagement and coalition building workshop, highlighted that “coalitions sustain a long-term vision and advocacy on an issue. Coalitions bring together diverse voices and expertise to work towards a common goal. Coalitions build a lasting base for change.”

Ms. Salochna Lal, President of the Naari Shakti women’s group from Vusuya, Raralevu was grateful to be a participant at the workshop. “I am here to strengthen Naari Shakti’s network and possible partnerships with other groups specifically on addressing gender based violence, an issue that is of concern in my community and something we continue to address at the community level.”

UNDP, through the SCEFI programme, has been supporting civil society organisations through small grants to advocate and engage relevant stakeholders both in local and national level government and Parliament, as well as with traditional governance mechanisms on key themes of transformative leadership, non-discrimination and inclusiveness, participation and equitable service delivery. The Strengthening Citizen Engagement in Fiji Initiative is a 3-year programme, implemented by the UNDP since May 2013, with funding from the European Union.

Contact information

Sonja Bachmann, UNDP Senior Peace & Development Advisor. Email: sonja.bachmann@undp.org; Tel: +679 3312500

Erica Lee, UNDP Communications Associate - PFIP. Email: erica.lee@undp.org; Tel: 3300399

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