The U.S. government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Pacific Community (SPC), is supporting Fiji’s National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) to update the national disability policy and to reflect international best practices and respond to evolving needs.
Country-wide consultations are underway with key stakeholders on the draft of the Fiji National Policy for Persons with Disabilities 2024- 2033. At an opening ceremony of NCPD consultations, USAID/Pacific Islands Mission Director Ms. Zema Semunegus emphasised the crucial need for an updated and comprehensive national policy for persons living with disabilities in Fiji.
“Your voices and our collective efforts will help shape your national policy landscape for the next decade to one that could ensure that persons with disability are recognised and valued as equal participants in society,” she said.
USAID is committed to driving disability-inclusive development by bringing diverse stakeholders together to address priority issues for persons with disabilities in the Blue Pacific region, including Fiji.
During an earlier consultation in Labasa, Ms. Angie Braugbird, a person with disabilities, said that the draft policy addresses most of the needs of disabled persons in Fiji.
“I have read the draft policy that was presented to us as part of this consultation, and I feel that most of the things that persons with disabilities need are being incorporated into this draft,” she said.
Mr. Lemeki Cagialau, NCPD Executive Director, underscored the importance of these consultations in shaping the future landscape of disability inclusion and support in Fiji.
"We want to ensure that all persons with disabilities and all Fijian organisations for persons with disabilities are consulted, as this policy is for them, and they must have a say in it," Mr Cagialau stated.