Communities attend REACH

AN outreach program carried out in Suva’s urban communities has revealed that the biggest challenge people face was accessing Government services.

The United Nations Development Programme, as part of the Rights, Empowerment and Cohesion (REACH) program, was in Jittu Estate in Veiquwawa, Wailea and Tamavua-i-Wai settlements in Suva to educate people on their rights.

A total of 204 people — 106 women and 98 men — attended the sessions conducted in these communities.

Shakuntala Wati of Wailea sttlement said she was not aware of her eligibility to the social pension scheme which she would be receiving soon.

“My husband and I came to know that he would be eligible for the social pension scheme. He talked with the officer how to prepare for his application. It is a very useful service,” she said.

People appreciated the recent change in the provision of the social pension scheme, in which the eligible age of persons expanded from 65 years and above, and with the increased allowance of $100 per month.

The Community Police Co-ordinator for Jittu Estate Veiquwawa, Pio Sovalevu said the session was useful for the people in his community.

Mr Sovalevu shared similar sentiments as Ms Shakuntala and said many people were not aware of their entitlement to certain schemes and initiatives provided by Government.

UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji country director and head of regional policy and programme Bakhodir Burkhanov was in Wailea settlement and said: “The REACH Project was designed and is implemented in alignment to Fiji’s socio-political, economic and cultural context.”

“This model offers much inspiration and learning to other countries in its overarching focus on putting people at the centre of development, and reaching the furthest behind first.”

The initiative undertaken by UNDP is aimed at promoting peace building, social cohesion and inclusiveness through awareness of rights, access to services, provision of legal advice and institutional capacity building in Fiji.

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