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Is information power?
Monday, 12 December 2011 08:14


By Ruci Mafi

Last week, I was amongst the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) staff attending a workshop on ‘Moving Beyond Strategy to Improve Information and Knowledge Management for Agricultural Development in Pacific Island States’ held in Nadi, Fiji.

Much of what I learnt was captivating and provided insight into how important information, communication and technology are to me as a journalist and a communicator. It was not a lesson in how to use technical gimmicks and ICT (information and communication technology) systems but rather it focused on how new forms of media have changed the way information is disseminated.

The idea behind the workshop was to encourage people involved in agricultural development to use ICT tools to make information accessible.

I believe that new forms of media should be used in other areas such as gender equality, youth development, non-communicable diseases, forestry, education, maritime affairs and marine resources.

For me the questions I continue to ask are; how can new media like the social media help in conveying information? How can that information be developed and packaged to a content that suits different people and their different needs?

Agriculture development, yes, but at whose cost?
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 12:27

By Ruci Mafi

What happens when extra hands are needed on the farm? dr kaitani and participants

In Fiji, the answer is simple — call on the children to provide this seasonal labour — they are traditionally obliged to help wherever help is needed.  And they do, sometimes even leaving school to do so, during the cane-cutting season, for example.

The drive to develop the agriculture sector in Fiji and restore its status as the mainstay of the economy is intense, but this effort must not cost us our children’s education.


While the fact of using child labour is acceptable to some, a recent International Labour Organisation (ILO) report on the issue in Fiji argues otherwise. The Child labour in Fiji: a survey of working children in commercial sexual exploitation, on the streets, in rural agricultural communities, in informal and squatter settlements and in schools report has findings of research carried out by University of the South Pacific academic, Dr Mili Kaitani.

One such finding is that using child labour in agriculture in Fiji is increasing, and that this constitutes an abuse of their human rights. The report also noted that there is a tendency for children in rural areas and villages drop out of school at an early age to farm because they are able to earn an income and because less priority is placed on completing education.

Diverse Pacific voices unite for international AIDS conference
Wednesday, 12 October 2011 12:57

By Rita Narayan

Squeals of excitement rose above the chatter in the foyer and exhibition centre at BEXCO (Busan Exhibition and Convention Center) every time Pacific Islanders spotted each other among the 2000 or so delegates attending the 10th International Conference on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP 10) in South Korea. With their warm friendly smiles and dressed in colourful sulu and jaba, meri blouse, bula shirts, sulu vakataga and puletasi, about 60 Pacific Islanders from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and the Federated States of Micronesia quickly made their presence known at the conference venue in the port city of Busan.Busan_165

The delegation was one of the largest Pacific delegations to attend an international meeting on AIDS. Compared to other delegations from South-East Asian countries such as Cambodia, Thailand and India, the Pacific delegation was small but its voice was strengthened by the presence of Fiji’s President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau; Papua New Guinea’s former Minister for Community Development, Dame Carol Kidu; and UNICEF Pacific’s Regional Ambassador, Mere Nailatikau. There was also a strong show of Pacific solidarity as Pacific Islanders turned up in numbers to support their colleagues during their sessions and participate in discussions.


Media Trainees 2011
Monday, 26 September 2011 10:20

The Regional Media Centre has to date hosted five (5) interns. The trainees spent 4-6 weeks at the RMC undertaking a range of training that includes graphic designs, basic video production and communication. The interns included:

1. Kalisitiane Tukuafu (Tonga)

2. Steve Poning (PNG)

3. Marlena Maerz (Germany)

4. Yvette D’Univenville (Tuvalu)

5. Zafiya Shamim (Fiji)


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