(Picture caption: New Zealand is contributing $12.6 million to the Fiji Gender Action Programme — Marama Ni Viti.)
Aotearoa is set to make a significant contribution to support the advancement of women’s empowerment and social protection.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Affairs Hon Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced Aotearoa is providing $12.6 million to the Fiji Gender Action Programme — Marama Ni Viti, which draws together support for a range of programmes into one plan.
Speaking the Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji last week, Prime Minister Ardern says gender equality and women’s empowerment is a priority for Aotearoa New Zealand, and for our engagement in the Pacific.
“The recent Fiji Gender Assessment showed big gaps in pay between men and women among a range of other disparities - this funding will go towards programmes that help address the issues and inequalities the report highlighted.”
Funding will be delivered to the Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation as well as Fiji Women’s Rights Movement, Women’s Fund Fiji, Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre and UN Women.
Prime Minister Ardern adds this will provide increased support to a wide range of services such as those that respond to and prevent violence against women through to programmes that support exchange and mentoring between female New Zealand and Fijian Members of Parliament.
“The funding will also expand work undertaken by the Fiji Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation to ensure Fiji’s public service agencies have policies that are responsive to and empower women,” she says.
Women’s organisations have been integral to providing core services to women in all their diversity, particularly in reaching people with disabilities, LGBTIQA+/ SOGIESC communities and women in rural, remote and maritime areas.
The funding will help build capacity among these organisations to strengthen the Fijian women’s movement to keep doing their important work.
“The ultimate goal of the programme is to support Fijian women and girls, in all their diversity and to increase the voice of women in leadership and decision-making…as well as see a reduction in the prevalence of violence against women and children and greater societal awareness of women’s rights and gender equality.”
Meanwhile, Minister Mahuta says gender equality is a central tenet of the Duavata Aotearoa New Zealand Fiji Partnership signed with Prime Minister Rt Hon Frank Bainimarama during her visit to Fiji in March.
“The Marama Ni Viti programme also builds on my engagement with women leaders from government and NGOs during my visit.
“It has an ongoing focus on partnerships, and will support ways to build resilience, social wellbeing, equality of opportunity, and support public institutions and civil society,” she says.