Rich in natural resources, Fiji is one of the most developed Pacific Island nations. Yet many Fijians still live in poverty, and the country experiences serious political and social tensions. Caritas Australia is working in Fiji on peacebuilding, human rights, education and employment.
Why do we work in Fiji?
Extensive mineral, fishing and forestry resources have funded Fiji’s comprehensive health care system, and free primary and secondary education. As a result, Fiji has a high literacy rate, and malaria and yellow fever have been eradicated. Many of Fiji’s most educated people, however, seek work overseas and their remittances are the second largest contributor to the national economy.
Four coups since 1987 have contributed to ethnic tensions, corruption, media restrictions and increases in hardship and poverty.
A general election in September 2014 ended many years of military rule and brings new hope for Fiji. The country has rejoined the Commonwealth and hopes are that the country's future will see a free media, an independent judiciary and an active civil society.
Women are particularly vulnerable in Fiji. They have limited employment opportunities and do not usually enjoy land inheritance rights.
Cyclones and droughts are the most common natural disasters. Coastal damage and erosion due to tourist developments, deforestation and increasing demand for water remain the most pressing environmental concerns.
Our work in Fiji
Caritas Australia supports five programs with three local partners in Fiji. Issues addressed include peacebuilding, poverty reduction, disaster risk reduction, education and livelihoods.
Examples of our recent work
- 35 young farmers graduated from a 4-year training course at Tutu Rural Training Centre.
- During Cyclone Evan in December 2012, 80 percent of plants in the Tutu nursery were saved and were distributed to farmers to re-establish their planting.
- People’s Community Network worked with squatter settlements to improve living conditions and encourage self reliance. 500 families gained secure land tenure.