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Couple ties knot on REACH mobile bus

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Update: 8:52PM A COUPLE from remote Naraiyawa Village, Naqarawai in Namosi had the chance to officially tie the knot in a civil union during a recent visit of Government officers and partners, part of the Rights, Empowerment and Cohesion (REACH) mobile service delivery.

Amani Rakula and Savaira Marama have lived together for six years but never had the chance to officially marry.

Not until a team of officers from the Births, Deaths and Marriages registration office visited their village in June this year, and formally presided over the civil union conducted in the REACH mobile service delivery bus on June 20.

Groom Mr Rakula said they had always planned to get married legally but because they lived up in the mountains, they were unaware of the service providers which they came to learn through the REACH awareness raising session.

Happy bride Ms Marama said their marriage would really change their lives.

She said she was excited about their union and that it would secure the equal ownership between them and their access to Government services available for married couples and other services such as joint bank accounts.

According to a statement from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), to access Government services, the people in Naraiyawa Village catch the public bus very early in the morning to Navua or Suva, but have limited time to spend in town because they need to return on the same day.

The bus fare expense is another barrier for them to access these services.

The UNDP stated that 196 people - 120 women and 76 men - from three communities in the Naqarawai district accessed information and services in the recent REACH service delivery using the mobile office, a customised bus equipped to deliver services to remote communities.

The services provided to the people range from marriage certificates and bus fare assistance to women's club project support.

Sixty people - 32 women and 28 men - received legal aid services in regards to the civil, family and criminal laws, 97 people (67 women and 30 men) accessed social welfare schemes, and 153 women consulted officers from the Department of Women.

REACH mobile service delivery raises people's awareness on the rights enshrined in the Constitution and provides social, economic and legal services by the relevant service providers at the doorstep of the people in Fiji.

REACH for rural and urban Fijian project aims to promote peace building, social cohesion and inclusiveness. A mobile service delivery approach is undertaken to reach communities throughout Fiji with the focus to reach the furthest behind first.

The REACH project is supported by the government of Japan and the UNDP.

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