WOMEN vendors from the highlands and remote areas who sell their produce at the Rakiraki Municipal Market now have a place to stay.
The country's newest town opened its overnight facility for women vendors, launched the Millennium Market Learning Centre, and also celebrated International Day for Disaster Reduction, International Day for Rural Women, International World Food Day and International Day for Poverty Eradication last week.
Rakiraki's interim special administrator Seini Raiko-Vunivutu said the opening of the overnight accommodation marked a significant step in Rakiraki's development in terms of infrastructure and the empowerment of women vendors at the market.
"We started the project in June and it was recently completed at a cost of $60,000 with funding from the Department of Housing," she said.
"The overnight accommodation has 24 beds furnished by United Nations Women valued at $23,000 as part of their Partners Improving Markets program."
Mrs Raiko-Vunivutu said studies conducted in 2009 showed that women vendors from the highlands often returned to their homes without completely selling all their produce or root-crops.
"That's when the decision was made to build accommodation for the women vendors. We'd like to acknowledge UN Women for their continued support and also acknowledge the UN Development Program for their assistance in the Millennium Market Learning Centre which is putting in place strategies to help small town markets achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)," she said.