Fiji cyclone appeal: Help keep women and girls safe and support rebuilding efforts

Fecha: miércoles, 24 de febrero de 2016

Market vendor Sofia Talei at her farm in Tailevu, Fiji. Her crops were severely damaged by Tropical Cyclone Winston and it will take at least four months to re-grow even the fast-growing plants. “We placed so much expectation on our farm to help us pay for our expenses, including my children's education and medicine. We need to salvage what we can to help us cover our expenses.” Photo: UN Women/Eva Schroeder
Market vendor Sofia Talei at her farm in Tailevu, Fiji. Her crops were severely damaged by Tropical Cyclone Winston and it will take at least four months to re-grow even the fast-growing plants. “We placed so much expectation on our farm to help us pay for our expenses, including my children's education and medicine. We need to salvage what we can to help us cover our expenses.” Photo: UN Women/Eva Schroeder

On 20 February 2016, Fiji was hit by one of the strongest cyclones ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere. Wind gusts of over 300 km per hour flattened villages, destroyed crops and damaged critical infrastructure. Around 98 per cent of the population has been affected, the majority of whom are women and children.

The women of Fiji already faced rates of violence double the global average and the aftermath of the cyclone puts women at an even greater risk of sexual or physical assault, even as they work to rebuild their homes and livelihoods. Local organizations that offer women and girls support and shelter have also been devastated and are struggling to continue to provide services to women and girls who need them more than ever.

Meanwhile, the destruction of market buildings and crops not only deprives thousands of women and their families of a secure food supply, but also their main source of income.

Women in Fiji need somewhere to turn if they experience violence and support in rebuilding their livelihoods.

UN Women is providing organizations with the funds and technical support they need to continue offering essential services to the women and girls of Fiji, while also working with local partners to create temporary market spaces that give women opportunities to sell their produce and access essential information about relief and protection services.

UN Women will also be working with partners to provide women market vendors with tools, supplies, seeds and training so they can replant their gardens and get back on their feet as quickly as possible; while also working with local governments to rebuild market buildings that have either been severely damaged or completely destroyed.

Your tax-deductible contribution will support UN Women’s emergency relief and recovery efforts in Fiji, to protect the most vulnerable women and girls.

  • USD$65 could support crisis and psychosocial counselling for women who have experienced domestic violence.
  • $85 could support temporary market spaces to provide women with an opportunity to earn an income and access information on essential services.
  • $150 could provide a women living with disabilities with a customized care package of essential medical supplies
  • $250 could provide a family with tools, fertilizer or seeds to help replant their food gardens.

A snapshot of our work in Fiji:

In Fiji first responders train to address sexual violence in disasters
Because the risk of violence against women and girls increases in the aftermath of a disaster, UN Women is supporting training for first responders and disaster-risk-reduction planners in Fiji to prevent, recognize and address violence in emergencies across the Pacific.


Raveena Sharma is the only female kava seller at the Tavua market in Fiji. Kava selling is usually dominated by men. Photo: UN Women/Sereana Narayan

In my own words: Raveena Sharma, a market vendor
As a widow, mother of two, and the only female grog vendor at Tavua market, it may seem that Raveena Sharma would have barely enough time to maintain her own rigorous schedule, however, she also makes time to act as an unofficial spokesperson for other vendors.


A market vendor gets a free health check during UN Women’s International Day of Rural Women event in Labasa. Photo: UN Women

Pacific rural women as agents of change
Market vendors in Fiji, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands joined UN Women in celebrating International Day of Rural Women on Wednesday, highlighting the crucial roles rural women play in ensuring the health and wellbeing of their families and communities, as well as their countries’ economic productivity.


Pacific markets - Rose

Markets set to improve with Pacific women in the lead
UN Women is working with women market vendors in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to improve their working conditions, earning power and leadership skills.


Cyclone destruction in Tonga

Putting women at the forefront of climate change and disaster response in the Pacific
Whether training women solar engineers in Fiji or assisting with the humanitarian response plan after a major cyclone in Tonga, UN Women is working with climate-change and disaster-management professionals across the Pacific.


Fiji Markets for Change Press Conference

Markets for Change to seek safety and better earnings for women in the Pacific
Vendors and management at marketplaces across Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are set to benefit from a new project that will inject almost USD 11 million into ensuring they provide safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory working environments.


Lautoka Market to Soon have Resource Centre for Women Vendors
Lautoka women market vendors will soon be able to enjoy and provide better presentation of their wares and crops at the Lautoka Market. This is after UN Women yesterday signed an agreement with the Lautoka City Special Administrator Praveen Bala, which will soon see the establishment of a Resource Centre for the women vendors at the Lautoka Municipal Market.


UN Women provides support to Fiji Flood Response
Following the devastating floods that have impacted the lives of nearly all residents in Western Fiji, the UN Women Pacific Sub-regional Office has received USD $50,000 to provide gender-responsive support to the areas impacted by floods.


Help us reach women in need after the cyclone, and restore the gains we’d made in Fiji.

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Fiji - Safer marketplaces for women vendors

In the largest agriculture-based countries of the Pacific region -Papua New Guinea, the Solomons, Vanuatu and Fiji -- women market vendors have long been keeping their families and communities afloat. Here, selling fresh food is often the only way to earn cash incomes, and the vendors, 80-90 per cent of whom are women, power an industry with high financial turnovers. Yet such women battle invisibility and personal risk in their workplaces.