WOMEN market vendors at the Rakiraki market are relishing their new-found empowerment.
And the women are attributing their improved family lifestyle to the business knowledge and skills gained from a nine-week United Nations Development Program capacity-building workshop.
The workshop has been hailed a success for the participants as they admit their business skills have improved since the training began in March.
These included ù strengthening the Vaileka Market Association (VMA), to strengthen the voice of women market vendors, to improve the financial and economic security and improving engagement between the VMA and the local government.
Seravina Waqali, 60, said she had learnt to properly budget her income and save money for her family and her business.
Mrs Waqali said she had now set a strict set of rules she followed when she made a profit and how to use the money wisely.
She said her new business knowledge would benefit her family.
Another participant Varanisese Maisamoa said the business training had introduced her to women's rights.
"We learnt about the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and it is an eye-opener for me," said Ms Maisamoa.
Ms Maisamoa said women market vendors faced a lot of challenges every day and some of them even breached basic human rights. "But now I know when my rights are being violated and the necessary steps I should take," she said.
Most of the women were happy the training had brought about positive changes in their lives.
The training which came to an end on Thursday afternoon marked a positive step for the women of Rakiraki Market.
Local Government Ministry permanent secretary Taina Tagicakibau congratulated the women for their successful completion of the training.
A total of 60 participants attended the business training sessions.