Saturday, June 26, 2010

Well Done 'Uto Ni Yalo' Crew: Captain Colin Philp & Ratu Manoa Rasigatale for the Fijian Traditional Aspect of this Awesome Story.

Breaking the waves by Colin Philp
Saturday, June 26, 2010

"Uto ni Yalo : "Vutala na Ua"
[Image of Ratu Manoa Rasigatale in white shirt clapping with crew & families].
WHEN we set off on March 27th bound for Auckland with a relatively inexperienced crew of 14 men and two women, we had no idea what the next 14 weeks had in store for us.
A small group of supporters and family members showed up to fare us well from the Fisheries Wharf at the Bay of Islands in Lami that day. We departed with only a few personal belongings because of the confined space and three months ration kindly donated by over 20 generous sponsors.

We are grateful these sponsors believed in what we were setting out to do, sail a 22-metre traditional double hull canoe on a 7000 nautical mile circumnavigation of the South Pacific Ocean, through five countries, over three months.

There were some skepticism but who could blame them. It took a lot of courage and determination for the recently formed Fiji Islands Voyaging Society to plan and embark on such an ambitious voyage. On a more personal level, it was important to the crew that our families believed in what we were doing.

With our planning complete, we set out without a support boat to make the 1200 nautical mile crossing to Auckland.

This first crossing was a brutal initiation for the new sailors. From day two with Vilisoni losing part of a finger during a fishing accident, we all gained a healthy respect for mother nature.
This set us up well for the remaining five days of our voyage to Auckland where we faced extreme conditions of 45 knots winds and five metre swells, most in temperatures we were not accustomed to.

In Auckland we received a memorable welcoming. This was our first 'live performance' as cultural ambassadors of Fiji and although it was a somewhat nervous start, the crew performed above expectation, worthy of Ratu Manoa's pride.

The next few days in Auckland preparing to voyage West were spent in the warm care of the Fijian community of the North Island. The love and affection we received from Fijians living abroad made us believe even more in our mission. It showcased to us how hard our fellow country men and women work when they leave our shores to make a living for themselves, all in the hope that one day they can return to their homeland.

The people we met were doctors, lawyers, nurses, business owners, hotel managers, engineers, electricians, accountants, all very successful in their own right.
I wondered how good it would be for our economy if even half of these people returned home one day.

We left Auckland thinking the trip from Suva was as bad as it gets and the rest of the voyage was going to be a piece of cake. Mother nature had more tests in store for us.
The extreme cold, constantly being wet for days on end, heavy seas and 50 plus knot winds tested the crew's resolve even more.

We started to understand the trouble our planet is in by the intensity of the storms we faced.
Teamwork grew stronger. When we finally reached Raivavae, if felt like we were reaching one of the last outposts of nature with its environment almost untouched by civilisation. As we travelled North, we were to see the other end of the scale. In Moorea we witnessed the destruction to the marine environment caused by pollution from the land.

It reminded us that "What we do to the land, we do to the ocean". We were advised not to swim in Papeete Harbour because of the pollution.

It reminded us of our own Suva Harbour and the pollution that empties into this beautiful harbour each day.

Traditions such as the kava ceremony have been lost in most countries. As we head for home from Vava'u we are sad that the voyage is over but we realise our journey has only begun.
Eighteen ambassadors for the ocean will step ashore at the Suva Foreshore on Saturday afternoon, armed with the experience of the voyage named "Vutala na Ua.
More links to Uto Ni Yalo Updates & Stories of their Voyage;

Friday, June 25, 2010

Oh Blimey: Theres Too Much Images of Island-Boy Dictator in Uniform in News Media!! For Goodness-sake Its Time To Free up The PRESS IN FIJI.

Ok, I am hungry for news from my homeland Fiji and I search the webs, only to constantly being showed images of coup master clad in his uniform. What does this tells us?

The dictator must love seeing himself and reading about himself each time he reads the newspaper. Thats probably why he has strongly gagged media outlets in Fiji to only write about him and take as many images of him doing his rounds pretending he is doing some work and most of all parading in his uniforms which is becoming an EYESORE!!

Interestingly, in the search for Fiji news I found this interesting story by Michael Field who has a very grip on Fiji saga. In his piece written for last year around 17/04/2009, Bainimarama, the worst Island-Boy Dictator had declared himself, quote, "Bainimarama says he is the future." unquote. When I saw this article, the thoughts that ran through my minds were one of shock, disgusted, angry, sad, and more as heres a half bred Fijian man who grew up in urban Suva, married to another like him and may have chosen a pathway to have little or no contact with his [Fijian] roots and which would have resulted in such an arrogant stance on where Fiji and its people should be heading towards.

I am disgusted that Bainimarama has the nerve to act in a way as if Fiji was his toy to play with and destroy as he wills. Because I do not wish to give him too much 'sound-bytes' I will conclude on one level, thats its no wonder he acts in such a way because he may either have chosen the pathway perhaps because he has been 'vakaqumi' or given $$$ with you know what or his chosen paths may have been dictated by the choices he made earlier in his life as to what sets of values he will aspire to and live by. Each day now are revealing those very details.
A Concern Fijian
[name with-held]
Read more of what Michael Field had so well articulated;

Fiji dictator Voreqe Bainimarama has claimed his new "legal order" is the future of the island nation.

In an extraordinary speech to civil servants this morning he said that with the abrogation of the constitution "a new Legal Order has been created.

In speech notes provided by his office, he said: "A new Legal Order means there is no longer the old. "There is no need to speculate as to what happened, how it happened, what should have happened or what should not have happened.

"What is, is now, and the future," Bainimarama said.
He said his government is not an interim one or a caretaker one – it is in office until September 2014.

Speaking as the self-proclaimed Public Service Minister, Bainimarama told a gathering of civil servants that there was "down-right abuse" in the civil service.

He would clean it up.

"As a first up, from next week, all government vehicles being driven after hours will need to carry permits."

Police and soldiers would check government vehicles.
Meanwhile Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele said Bainimarama was a puppet master and his "favourite hand puppet" is President Josefa Iloilo.

"But one day soon the puppets will grow a brain and see Frank for the evil puppeteer he really is. It is then the curtains will fall on Frank," Tuilaepa told the Samoan Government newspaper Savali.

"The whole thing is a political charade and the whole world is watching. Nobody is fooled and no one is laughing. Frank is only fooling himself.
"It’s a political stick-up and Frank has all the guns."
Read some News in Brief by courtside in Fiji:
The Best of Fiji News Emnating From Fiji's Best Newspaper FIJI TIMES.

[Fiji] Court briefs
Friday, June 25, 2010
Briefs from court

Trial date set
A MAN charged with murder of his eight year old son will go to trial in September. Mahendra Sharma is alleged to have killed his son last year in the Serua hills and hid in the bushes for almost two months. The court heard that a psychiatric evaluation of Sharma was yet to be done as the appropriate doctor was out of the country.

Bail conditions
TWO Methodist executives want the court to vary their bail conditions so they can travel abroad. The court heard that Reverend Kalivati Ravoka and Reverend Musuwai who were charged for meeting without a permit wanted to go to USA and New Zealand respectively. The court has adjourned the matter to next week to allow the defence counsel to provide the exact date of travel.

Youth's fate
A YOUTH who went on a violent robbery spree in 2006 will know his fate next week. Mataiasi Bulivou pleaded guilty to the crimes and in mitigation his father told Justice Daniel Goundar that his son had always been a good person who finished school and was studying at a tertiary school. Defence has asked the court to give a suspended sentence. Bulivou will be sentenced on July 2.

Jail time
A GOVERNMENT employee who attempted to sneak Gillette Mach 3 cartridges and shaving gears out of the MHCC Supermarket has been sent to jail for 12 months. Salacieli Lawanakula, 39, was jailed by the Magistrates Court after he pleaded guilty. Prosecutor Sergeant Yasin Ali told the court that the incident happened on March 31 and the accused was caught by a store security officer.

Vocea trial
IT will be a trial in October for the former Permanent Secretary for Infrastructure and Public Utilities Anasa Vocea. He is charged with eight counts of fraudulent conversion. Trial has been fixed for October 20.

A FULL day has been allowed for lawyers to make submissions in the Ratu Sakiusa Tuisolia and Imrana Jalal case. The two have been charged for breach of business licences and other public health acts by the DPP. The couples' lawyer Devanesh Sharma had made applications that some of the charges are out of time and need to be withdrawn while one of the charges is wrong in accordance to the Food and Safety Act. State has argued otherwise. Lawyers will make submissions next week.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Even International Law Professor's Blog says; "More Lies from the Fiji Military Government."

More Lies from the Fiji Military Government

The leader of the military regime that seized power in Fiji claimed this week that the Fijian people are urging him to delay his plans for elections by 2014.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama claims that the people are "happy" with the regime’s focus on infrastructure development, agriculture, tourism, health, and education.

The Commodore says instead of condemning him, foreign leaders and former Fiji residents who oppose his government should talk with the people on the ground. He told Auckland-based Radio Tarana that he doesn’t understand why Pacific Islands Forum ministers say things are getting worse in Fiji.
Commodore, perhaps it is because those ministers respect the rule of law? (mew)
June 12, 2010 Permalink

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Fijian Pettiton to USA, President Barrack Obama

Friday, June 11, 2010

Stop The Supression of Human Rights, Freedom of Speech & Freedom of Association: A Fijian Petition to President Obama
Please support our petition for Fiji & its people by clicking the header or the link below.
Below are the details of the petition in earnest.

Read more;

To: President Obama

We, the undersigned, urge you to condemn the recent signing by Fiji's United Nation representative Peter Thompson, of diplomatic relationship under United Nations agreement with Cambodian and other similar States which have records of Cou-de-tat-ism, Human Rights Abuse, military dictatorship and abrogation of rule of law and constitution forcefully, lack of Participatory Process of Policy-Making and Removal of Public Emergency Regulation which has been in force since the military coup-de-tat on 5 December 2006 by Frank Bainimarama.

To quote from KI media who recently stated, "The signing was done by Fiji’s permanent representative to the UN Peter Thomson and his Cambodian counterpart Dr Sea Kosal. Dr Kosal welcomed the new relationship between the two countries.
Thompson says the Fiji government is looking at establishing new diplomatic relations with all state members of the United Nations. In the last three months, Fiji has formalized diplomatic relations with Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eritrea, Georgia, Macedonia, Myanmar and the United Arab Emirates.

A delegation from Russia is also expected in Fiji this week to sign a memorandum of understanding on defence and hold bilateral talks with Government." unquote.

This in itself is indicative of how this military dictator in Fiji has removed the basic and fundamental rights for the people and are dictating at the expense of the Nation what direction Fiji needs to take. The coup leader and his regime are not the politically elected people of Fiji and are in power because they have the guns. Public Emergency Regulations have been in force since the coup of 5 December 2006 and still continues today. Most of the line-ups of the current regime are selected from a list of people that also have history of nepotism and corruption behind some of them and who did not get the numbers to be elected into the last Government of the then elected and ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

Many have said this coup is an Indian coup and yet the line up in the illegal regime are mostly Fijians whilst Indians are doing the thinking and manipulating from behind the scene be it issuance of decrees, abrogation of rule of law and constitution.
Evidence are surfacing that alot of important decision making are being made by a selcted few favouring the Indian segment more than the Fijians or First Nation People/Indigenous. This exemplifies politically-motivated targeting all those that are in opposition to what this current Fiji illegal regime is doing, be it the policies and decrees they are implementing or the lack of judicial accountability and fairness in the proceedings, the continuous Human Rights abuses and denial of Fiji citizens’ rights to freedom of expression, freedom of media, freedom of association and holding public meetings. We want all those involve in this current illegal regime in Fiji to be held accountable for the changes and reforms being implemented and which people are being coerced to conform to in view of the current state Fiji is as it is still under PER almost 4 years after 2006 coup.

We want the United Nations to review its current standing with the current illegal regime in Fiji, as it is ironic that on one hand the UN promotes its UN Declarations for Human Rights and the UN Declarations for Indigenous people and yet on the another level appears to be condoning activities by the current illegal regime who claims they are rooting out corruptive activities and mismanagement when the illegal regime in Fiji themselves are responsible for the mess Fiji is in and the corruptive activities and nepotism Bainimarama & his regime has entered into. One only needs to draw the example where Bainimarama, released his brother in law from prison for having been involved in the abuse of one of the victims who died at the hands of the military due to massive abuse and beatings. It is not fair to cite other Human Rights abuses occurring in other countries as Fiji is steeped in its Fijian tradition by the Indigenous Fijians who are now facing the brunt of being rooted out of their own homeland and decisions dictated down to them not via their Great Council of Chiefs which has been abolished simply because they disagreed with Bainimarama and did not wish to sign what he had wanted to put in place.

The situation in Fiji has gone on for too long and the degree of abuse or other maltreatment by this illegal regime must not be measured against other countries and the United Nations must bear in mind the Deed of Cession agreements that occured between Fiji's forefathers where it secured their livelihood, their land and their traditions and culture. For a group of settler societies to now come in and dictate via the coup leader who is half Fijian and does not have much respect for the Indigenous Fijians Traditional Culture as was seen when he threw the 'valued Tabua or whales' tooth' back to his own Chiefs from his village in Kiuva who went to ask him to end the Fiji saga. This in itself is a sign of arrogance and disrespect to the Fijians and their culture let alone his High Chief who Bainimarama had been noted to have commented, saying the Fijian people are 'stupid'.

As Fijian citizens, we have grave concerns for Fiji and the people by the prolonged state of Public Emergency Regulations, the silencing of seasoned and long-serving, trustworthy, respected, and democratically-elected leaders who now are being warned that they may not be able to run for the next parlimentary elections scheduled, too far away in 2014, a total of 08 years approx of Fiji being under military dictaorship. We ask how can United Nations and the International Community not step in to assist the Pacific Island Forum within Fiji's Regional Neighbors and the Commonwealth who have publicly shown their position in not supporting the current Fiji illegal regime by suspending Fiji's membership. The question we ask, why then does the United Nation and other International Communities are standing back and allowing the current illegal regime in Fiji under the coup man, Bainimarama to have a free reign of Fiji until 2014 which is looking very bleak at this point in time.

Assistance are being given as we write by some International bodies to Fiji, and we now beg you all to reconsider your positions and try and review Fiji's problems taking a 'bottom-up approach' and assist in facilitating a quick return to democrcay and rule of law. We believe the United States Government has the power to put pressure on other International Communities and in this instance United Nations in order that Fiji and its people may once again live in freedom and have the liberty to freely elect those they they wish to represent them in government and also reinstate the Fijian Great Council of Chiefs as these are the hallmarks of our Fijian Cultural tradition of which we are known for. Reforms on land must not take place until a properly elected government is in place as this illegal regime are bent more towards the capitalistic and individual needs being forced by some in the Indian segment of our Fiji socitey. Thre is an urgent need to restore liberty, freedom and removal of threat to freedoms of speech and expression and the rights to fair judicial process, transparency, and legal representation.

As echoed by our fellow Cambodians who are also fighting for similar rights we urge you, Mr President to please speak up, on behalf of our Fiji people because by your silence will mean continuous suspression of our basic and fundamental rights as free citizens of Fiji nation that once knew the beauty of Pacific Way which is now so abscent in our midst. Without your intervention some of our parents and grandparents and even mothers and fathers will never again taste that freedom. We believe the United States is a powerful Nations and your Government is long reknowned to uphold its long-cherished values of freedoms of speech and expression and the rights to an independent and impartial judicial process, equality before the law, and legal representation.

We again seek your urgent help, Mr. President, to take a strong position and indicate or make a supporting robust statement against the the recent signing and aligning of Fiji together with other States that have questionable values on Human Rights and Rule of Law as well as upholding true democratic values which have seen Fiji moved upward at one point to be on par with nations around the world in its commitment to establishing economic growth that is conducive to the needs and culture of the Fiji people taking into account the signing of the Deed of Cession in 1874 where Fijian or First Nation People were given the understanding that their Lands, their Customs and Traditions will be forever protected.

Yours cordially,

We the Undersigned.

Posted by Fiji Truth [Na Dina]. at 5:42 PM

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fiji Trapped in a Bubble.

Is'nt it ironic that the coup master Frank Bainimarama has now not only denied Pacific Forum Leaders to visit Fiji but also airing his thoughts or putting to print in local news media his coup-ism 'pipe-dreams' for Fiji & its future. Anyone with commonsense can see for themselves what Bainimarama has mapped out for Fiji's near the brink of economic, social & political collapse. Fiji is is in dire strait.

To say outright that Australia, Aotearoa [NZ], & other Pacific Nations have no say in matters relating to Fiji, which includes welfare, social, economic & political, educational, health & stability of this failed Fiji Nation is nothing but sheer arrogance at its highest.

It is evident that many people are finally waking up to the bad dreams Fiji has been put through and yet, no one seems to be brave enough to tell Bainimarama to take the next Exit!! Why we ask ourselves as Fiji loving citizens holding blue passports? Those that assisted Bainimarama in the planning for 2006 should be all ashamed of themselves. "Fiji's tears turned bloody" for a while when alot of the victims bashed and those that actually died at the hands of interim Fiji government were all Fijians.

We have many questions but will only list a few;

We ask again, the soldiers, the Military Council are all Fijians and yet they are happy to act out their authority in the name of a coup leader who also claims to be a half Fijian, WHY?

Why is it that Indians who are supposedly supporting this coup are not in the line up of army soldiers conducting this human rights abuses?

Why are these Indians who are supporting this illegal regime not in the ministerial line-ups in the current regime? Why are they subtly hiding behind the scene & orchestrating all the thinking?

Most of the puppets working under this illegal regime are Fijians?

Where are the Indians in the Illegal regime's line-up?

Why are they on the sidelines egging this illegal regime on, destroying what matters most to the Indigenous Fijians, their lands, their Identity, their lifestyle, their livelihood, their village existence etc?

For those Indians that have faced the brutality of this illegal regime, we thank them for standing up and voicing their concerns. And for those Fijians that cannot see beyond their noses, the damages they are doing to Fiji via their support for the current illegal regime, shame on you.

We specifically direct this piece to the Fiji Military Council; when will you wake up and realise the damages that have been done to Fiji and its people? The guns are the base of your power and you are all Fijians flexing your muscles & guns against Fijians? Why? Are you also being paid lots of blood money to carry out your duty of obedience to the coup leader? These are questions that are now on alot of people's lips. What more can one say, just witnessing what you as a group of Fijians who make up the military are doing to your own people. Most of the other races in Fiji are sitting and watching the power play' Fijians v Fijians' it appears when in essence it really is a power play between 'Fijians v Indians'. Someone has played their cards so right that they have BLURRED THIS BIT!!

By Kulina Space
read more;
from Coup Four And A Half's Blog on current situation in Fiji.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

FLP tells Bainimarama: Stop deluding yourself with the lackey Provinces
Following his recent visits to the Provincial Councils, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, has been left with the distinct impression that the people want his administration to continue in office, deferring general elections well beyond 2014.

Nay, the feedback is even more positive. People are very happy with what his government is doing and have told him to defer elections in 2014.
Well, certainly, more than three years of the Bainimarama administration has left Fiji with an unprecedented record of national performance.
Let’s see:
• a 20% devaluation of the dollar has sent food prices sky rocketing with inflation running close to a record 10%; prices of almost all other goods and services have escalated
• poverty levels are at a record high of 45% of the population, expected to rise to 60% or so by year 2014

• State treasury is almost depleted and it is scrounging around for loans to carry out urgent infrastructure development with the State’s debt levels and contingent liabilities already running at 70% of the GDP
• The IMF questions the administration’s ability to repay its loans at a time when it is seeking to borrow $1b from the Fund
• liquidity in the banking system is so high ( a sure sign of low investor confidence!) that the RBF has been forced to mop up by raising to 10% the level of Statutory Reserve Deposit for banks – the second increase within a month
• FNPF has certainly boosted people’s confidence in the future sustainability of their pension funds by writing down some $328 million of their hard earned moneys; the fact that many are now worried sick as to whether, between the scandalous write-downs and huge lendings to a cash-strapped government, they will have a liveable pension in their old age is another story!
• Other key State institutions are in serious financial difficulties
- FSC is insolvent and is running on borrowed money and government guarantees; it has borrowed more than $100m so far this year and can hardly meet its loan repayment to the Exim Bank of India; half the cane sent to the sugar mills are going to waste due to chronic mill malfunctioning
- FEA is also virtually insolvent, unable to meet its loan repayments; as a result people are now paying as much as 93% more for electricity
- Air Pacific is facing stiff competition on its international routes, registering losses at about $36m for the past financial year
- Post Fiji is another financial liability and is up for sale;
• Public Emergency Regulations - in force for the past 15 months has been the [m]ost oppressive and draconian the people of Fiji have ever experienced – the State is sailing blissfully through in the knowledge that it can’t be criticised, opposed or condemned as a result of the censorship imposed on the Media; it cannot be legally challenged because of a compromised judiciary; draconian criminal and media laws ensure the subjects of the Commodore dare not step out of line.
Yes, all is truly well and happy within the State of Fiji.
The Commodore can now give legitimacy to the people’s call to further defer elections by confidently putting it to a national referendum.-Source Fiji Labour Party website
Posted by Pacific in the Media at
11:46 AM

Anonymous said...
The Labour party should be cheering for this, after all they supported Vore before and after the coup. Now take your medicine and live with it Choudarry
June 5, 2010 12:08 PM

Anonymous said...
The FLP is part of the problem - not part of the solution. The FLP and many indo Fijians stupidly supported this coup and the murderous junta. Now is time to pay the piper for a very very stupid decision. Too late to try and change your tune now Chaudry - you and what you stand for are two faced and cannot be trusted in Fiji - ever again.
June 5, 2010 1:38 PM

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Fijian academic says Society in Fiji is facing Huge Changes...": Given Fiji's Failed State how will this ideal Model work?

An academic piece by Akanisi Kedrayate

Society in Fiji is facing huge changes, especially in the socio-economic, cultural and political arena. Non-formal education has a particular role to play in helping people to deal with these challenges, in compensating for deficiencies in the formal education system, in the field of intercultural education, in lifelong learning, in combating poverty, etc. The author, Dr Akanisi Kedrayate, is Head of the Department of Education and Psychology, School of Humanities, University of the South Pacific.

Education for Nation Building: The Contribution of Non-Formal Education in Fiji

Education is an infinite process that knows no barriers, age, creed, colour or race. For any society, be it simple or complex, the transmitting of knowledge, skills and attitudes to the young is an important activity for the sustainability of community living. Adult members of the society also continue to learn through various rituals, ceremonies and activities. This learning can be delivered informally, non-formally or formally. Broadly conceived, non-formal education (NFE) is not a new concept but an educative phenomenon integrally incorporated in even pre-literate societies. Increasing evidence exists to substantiate the claim that non-formal education is an old concept with a new name.

Non-Formal Education in the Traditional Context
Non-formal education was practised in Fiji before the advent of schooling. Young people learned the knowledge and skills for economic and social survival in a highly organised fashion with recognised and experienced adult members of the community as teachers. Learning was community-based and was through observation, imitation and on-the-job-experience. Adults also continued to learn through participation and sharing in community activities and ceremonies. Although the content, method and direction of what was learned was limited and confined, it was relevant to their way of life, the resources available and their ability to meet extended family and community needs. Learning was community-based and it was an important process, as it ensured continuity and sustainability of community life.

In the early days of Christianity, there was also much non-formal education in literacy, agriculture, and home economics and hygiene. When such classes were replaced by formal education, these traditional forms of organised and structured learning were no longer emphasized and valued although they continue to influence cultural and social life in the rural communities. Formal education was valued more and seen as prestigious as it paved the way to ‘white-collar jobs’ mainly in the modern sectors of society.

We have to acknowledge that formal education has contributed and will continue to play an important role in the preparation of literate and educated human resources for the modern economy. However, we also have to accept the reality that there is a mismatch between the output of the formal education system, the aspirations of school leavers and paid employment opportunities. A significant number of young people are excluded from formal education or the formal sector of employment.

Rationale for Non-Formal Education
In the 1970s NFE was first perceived to fulfil two roles. First, it was a ‘second chance education’ for those who had dropped out from the school system. The government established multi-craft programmes to enable school leavers to be trained and acquire self-employment skills to generate their livelihood. While there were some success stories, to a large extent the programmes were unsuccessful as parents perceived the programme to be second rate. They preferred their children to be academically educated for ‘white-collar’ jobs in the formal sector.
Secondly, in addition to the needs of school drop-outs rapid technical and social changes demanded continuing education and re-training in different knowledge and skills for those in modern employment as well as in the rural community.

While there has been a general concentration of educational resources on formal education, a recognition of the need for access to new skills and knowledge by those who are no longer in school has led to the establishment of a number of education and training programmes for adults by both governmental and non-governmental agencies.

There is now a greater awareness and acknowledgement of the need for non-formal education in Fiji and other Pacific Island nations and the role it has to play in nation building.
According to the Education Commission Report (Government of Fiji, 2000) an estimated 14,000 young people enter the labour market every year, but only about 8,000 of them find jobs or further training. Many young people both in the urban and rural areas need openings to develop skills to enable them to earn their living.

Purposes of Non-Formal Education
NFE can fulfill a range of educational purposes. One purpose is in relation to the formal education system. Due to the inadequacies of the formal system to provide skills, knowledge and attitudes at an acceptable cost, NFE is seen as a cheaper alternative means to provide individuals with skills required by the economic system whenever the formal system has failed to do this. The related problems of school leavers and unemployment have led to the expansion of NFE training programmes. However, the purpose of NFE education is not confined to the development of skills for employment as it is broader in scope and more extensive in coverage.

Non-formal education has also been used for remedial purposes, where the formal system has been unable satisfactorily to educate all its citizens, and where illiteracy is a problem. For example, in the Asia-Pacific Region, NFE is used to support the universalisation of primary education (UPE) and literacy programmes and has been used to help children to complete primary education.

But serious as the literacy problem is in many countries in the Region, NFE is not confined to creating a literate population or maintaining a level of literacy. The need to ensure that neo-literates do not lapse into illiteracy has led to non-formal education being used for functional literacy to enhance skills and competence in job-related activities.

Non-formal education is also perceived to meet the needs of rural ­people. NFE may offer the opportunity to learn productive skills and a way to participate effectively in the development of society. When combined with other inputs, rural NFE is a strong accelerating factor in economic and social development in rural areas.

Another purpose of NFE is as a means to achieve the goal of lifelong education. The concept of lifelong education is best realised through NFE, as it provides better possibilities to fulfil people’s needs than formal education.

Through NFE everyone is perceived as having the opportunity for purposeful learning to keep abreast of technical, social, cultural, economic and political changes, and not only to fulfil their role in society but also for self-fulfilment and self-development throughout their life span.
Whether the purpose of NFE is ‘social maintenance’ or ‘social change’ depends on the objectives and strategies of non-formal education and the way facilitators and learners perceive themselves either as active members of a changing society or as ‘helpless products’ of an established system. It is argued that non-formal education cannot be neutral and that in terms of its purpose, it is used either to maintain society or to change it.

Non-Formal Education Provision in Fiji
Non-formal education programmes are offered in both rural and urban sectors by both governmental and non-governmental organisations. There are 16 government ministries offering NFE programmes which include agricultural extension, micro-finance, small business development, workers’ education, co-operative education and youth programmes. Some programmes are aimed at raising peoples’ awareness, and these are occupational health and safety, consumer education, police-community outreach, public health education and community support for schools.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as the YMCA and YWCA, FCOSS, church organisations, etc., are involved in a multiplicity of programmes, which include community development, environmental education, vocational education, human rights, women’s issues, public health, business skills and computer literacy.

These programmes have a diversity of aims and objectives. Some aim to generate community education as a way for information to reach the rural sectors, while others aim to promote self-reliance through income-generating ventures or to enhance human welfare by providing for personality development and satisfaction in living. The specific aim of some programmes arises from a concern for village communities, and particularly young people, and is to assist them to find employment by utilising existing resources and skills. As can be ascertained from this information, there are already existing programmes and projects that ­address the various learning needs in our society.

Non-Formal Education Policy
Although NFE was officially recognised as a major educational priority and national strategy for development in the 1990s, there was no official policy. A National Steering Committee was appointed in 1996, but met infrequently. With the assistance of the UNDP Regional Programme on NFE, workshops were held in late 1999 and in April 2000 to formulate a plan for non-formal education policy. (Government of Fiji, 2000). The focus of the new policy is on ‘education for development’. The overall aim of the policy is to offer programmes that will:
make an effective contribution to poverty alleviation by enhancing the economic well-being of the population, foster the emergence of a sustainable future, especially for those who might not be able to find employment in the formal sector, develop in all citizens a regard for social justice, gender equity and equality for all, promote healthy lifestyles among the population through courses in health and physical education, strengthen the cultural roots of the society by offering programmes in local music, dancing, other art forms and sports, foster the development of a positive perspective and an increased understanding among the population of national and regional as well as global/international issues (Report of the Fiji Islands Education Commission/Panel, 2000).

While the policy is yet to be ratified by the new government, the Ministry of Youth, Employment Opportunities and Sports (the initiating Ministry) is implementing some proposed initiatives.
NFE in a Multi-Racial Fiji

In Fiji, like many Pacific countries, cultural, economic, political and social relationships have undergone extensive transformation. Fiji is a multicultural society and consists of various racial groups. These groups have values, attitudes and motivations which have to be understood and considered in non-formal education programme planning for work with these different groups and the nation as a whole.

Even within groups there are differences. In the Indigenous Fijian group, for example, there are religious differences between the Seventh Day Adventists and Methodists which have to be considered in NFE programmes. Cultural sensitivity is important, especially in a multi­cultural society like Fiji.

If non-formal education programmes are to be relevant to the various cultural groups, it is critical that activities are congruent with the participants’ way of life. Equally important is a general understanding of the structure and way of life of the various races so as to enable a better understanding of each other’s cultures and values. The coups of 1987 and 2000 [& 2006] instigated suspicion, hatred and intolerance among the people, particularly between the Indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians. The perception of nationalism, ethnicity and religious supremacy has created tensions and encouraged conflicts and divisions. It is therefore important that non-formal education programmes are sensitive to the effects of the coups and the issues which cause tension, and that steps are taken to encourage the facilitation of activities which foster greater cultural and multi-cultural understanding and tolerance. The school could be used as a centre within the community where cultural and educational activities are encouraged and facilitated not only for children but also for adults. NFE programmes may be organised not only for the two major groups but also for inter-groups.
Recent changes in economic policy and strategy in Fiji demand training in various skills. It is both in urban and in rural areas, where the majority of the people live, that skills training is needed. The need for skills training activities that are relevant to these communities demands a base which is accessible and has facilities and resources. In this respect, the school offers the potential not only in terms of facilities and resources but it also can facilitate and co-ordinate between various agencies and the community in terms of time, resources and needs. Policies determined at the macro level affect the lives of the people at the micro level. Understanding these issues as well as the values, attitudes, motivations and aspirations of the various racial groups is considered essential in non-formal education programmes.
Fiji is experiencing socio-economic, cultural and political changes. The education system needs to deal with these changes for the nation as a whole and the groups within its multi-racial context. NFE has a role to contribute to these changes.

While there are existing NFE programmes and activities in Fiji, it is evident that the current provision is inadequate to meet the learning needs of all the people in the country. Policy recommendations have been formulated and are awaiting ratification by government. Hopefully the government will endorse and provide appropriate resources for their implementation. The gospel of non-formal education can continue to spread and be acted upon if enlightened and committed individuals are ready to respond to the needs of the community and the nation.
To build a better Fiji, educators have an important task of responding not only to the learning needs of children but also to those of adults in the community through non-formal education.

Bula, No'oia, Kia Ora, Warm Greetings, Namaste

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Children of Fiji & Friends of Fiji
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