Youth on housing survey

Creating Environmental Advocacy and Social Empowerment for Youths members. Picture: SUPPLIED

YOUTHS of CEASEY (Creating Environmental Advocacy and Social Empowerment for Youths) are on the move of advocating the need for adequate housing for people in Fiji.

CEASEY is a non-profitable youth-based organisation that fosters youths from all walks of life with an objective to promote youth participation in all aspects of national development.

Recently, the organisation was bestowed with a responsibility by Habitat for Humanity Fiji to carry out a project in informal settlements in Fiji.

This followed the acceptance of the youth group’s application in proposal for a grant offered under Habitat for Humanity’s Young Leaders Build program.

The group named the project YB4W which stands for Youths beyond 4 walls.

YB4W has 15 youths working as volunteers who are passionate about being a voice of the vulnerable.

The group chose Veidogo and Wailea settlements to carry out a survey based on the core reasons people are unable to have access to proper housing.

The group chose Wailea and Veidogo as their “project settlements” because it was easy for them to access.

The survey included questionnaires and interview questions.

During the survey, the issues that came to light were inadequate housing structures, poor drainage system which is the main reason for flooding in Wailea settlements and high rate of criminal activities.

The group was able to reach 50 homes and two settlements.

Eroni Wavu, the president of CEASEY, said it was heartbreaking to see people living in substandard housing structures and listening to the stories of the people had the team sympathising and emotional.

However, the team also stressed to the settlements that they were not there to make promises nor give false hope.

Rather, they gave their word that they would strive to be a good voice to their problems and create discussions that would influence policy makers and leaders of the country from the information the team would gather.

“According to the Country Partnership Strategy: Fiji, 2014-2018, about 140,000 people in Fiji live in over 200 informal settlements around the country,” said Mr Wavu.

“This means that approximately 16 per cent of Fiji’s population are living in squatter settlements and this raises a red flag that there is a need for advocacy and help for people living in these types of settlements.”

Paul Spirit, who is one of the volunteers on the project, said the experience so far had boosted his self-esteem as a young person.

He further added that many of us usually take things for granted not realising there are people who do not have access to basic needs of life.
After the survey, the group is aiming to reach media platforms to stress and create awareness on the need of having adequate housing.

  • Herleen Andrews is a youth leader with CEASEY