THOUSANDS of women in the Western Division have been assisted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the funding of various income-generating projects.
Those that benefitted from this program were mostly flood-affected families in Nadi who are assisted through the first cash-for-work project to recover from the devastating effects of the two floods of early 2012.
The cash for work program was implemented in Nadi and Rakiraki and benefitted 1209 individuals, of which 74 per cent were women.
And yesterday, women of Dratabu Village and Korociri and Vuniyasi settlements in Nadi were boosted with a surprise visit made by New York-based UNDP deputy assistant administrator and deputy regional director regional bureau for Asia and the Pacific Nicholas Rosellini at Dratabu Village.
Mr Rosellini, who is in the country for the Pacific Symposium on Managing Extractive Industries, also took time out to visit farms in Nadi that were assisted by the program.
He said he was pleased with the response and the efforts of some women they had assisted.
"We are pleased to be able to assist villagers who are recovering from the effects of the cyclone and storm and it's good to hear first-hand some of the activities based on the program," said Mr Rosellini.
"We will continue to help the villagers to be resilient and to improve their standard of livelihood."
Mr Rosellini said UNDP was committed to assisting cyclone and flood-affected residents in their attempts to fully recover from losses and at the same time to aid them in becoming resilient should future disasters occur.
"We are here to help villagers to recover quickly from flooding and other natural disasters and to help them to prepare better for the future."
Sofiya Bi was one of 865 participants in the cash for work program in Nadi.
"I was about to start my small store business when the floods came and destroyed everything," Ms Bi said.
"I was left with the payment for the groceries I bought for my shop. A few months later, I joined the cash for work program in Vuniyasi.
"Some of us sewed the eco-friendly bags while others worked on the farm to earn cash and recover from the floods.
"I was able to finally open my shop. I also repaired the house damaged by the cyclone in December 2012 using the savings from the cash for work program," she said.