FijiFiji is a developing country that is widely popular with tourists due to its tropical atmosphere. It has a population of over 900,000 people; however, roughly 28 percent of the population lives in poverty. There are several development projects in Fiji being facilitated that seek to address poverty along with other issues currently facing the country.

Community Youth Empowerment Project (CYEP)

The Community Youth Empowerment Project is an initiative by the Peace Corps. The program seeks to focus on the promotion of behavior change and empower youth to live more productive lives. CYEP also includes activities that are targeted towards parents and youth service providers to promote positive youth development. The volunteers who carry out the project often serve as teachers of life skills and health classes in a middle or high school setting. The volunteers also work outside of schools performing community-based development.

One volunteer, Kelli Maddock, uses music as a method of teaching life skills to youth. “Most of the time, I use music therapy techniques such as lyric analysis to enhance critical thinking skills in regards to life skills, singing to boost self-esteem or songwriting to increase confidence,” wrote Maddock in her article for the Peace Corps. One song that Maddock has used is “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke and Pharrell to address the topics of consent, rape culture and victim-blaming.

Fiji Development Bank Project

Seeking to create innovative financial solutions for businesses in Fiji, the Fiji Development Bank Project provides loans for various industries. These loans include commercial loans, bus loans, small and medium business loans and agricultural loans. The project has been established for 50 years this year.

Fiji Community Development Program (FCDP)

Funded by the Australian government, one of the development projects in Fiji is the Fiji Community Development Program. The FCDP seeks to mitigate the social and economic hardships faced by vulnerable and poor communities. It does so by funding community development work and improving the Civil Society Organization’s (CSO) capacity to provide necessary programs for vulnerable communities. The FCDP also focuses on promoting enhanced communication between the government and CSOs and increasing the resilience of the communities by giving them the tools and knowledge needed to deal with hardships when they arise.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

The United Nations Development Programme aims for effective governance, inclusive growth, resilience and sustainable development and gender equality in roughly 170 countries and territories. Their initiatives in Fiji include promoting sign language as a method of acquiring equal access to services and advocating for rights. The UNDP also provides aid to neighboring countries like the Solomon Islands by conducting safety drills for students in preparation for tsunamis and other natural disasters.

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research seeks to improve the development of the Pacific region islands by working with their civil societies and government. The ACIAR believes in the importance of agriculture, forestry and fisheries sustaining households across the Pacific islands, including Fiji. The ACIAR also aims to invest in and empower women, as women play a key role in household food gardening, tree production and the marketing of horticultural and fisheries products. The ACIAR seeks to reduce poverty by transforming agricultural, fisheries and forestry into income-generating activities.

With these development projects in Fiji, the country will be able to continue to grow and reduce its poverty rates.

– Blake Chambers

Photo: Flickr