Members of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Fiji Group yesterday handed over sanitary kits to the Fiji Red Cross Society (FRCS) to be part of the Fiji Red Cross ongoing relief effort for communities affected by Tropical Cyclone Harold, which is expected to be completed by the end of next month
Speaker of Parliament and former patron of FRCS, His Excellency Hon. Ratu Epeli Nailatikau was delighted with the partnership between the women MPs and one of our leading disaster-relief agencies.
“I am happy to see that amongst other possible initiatives, CWP Fiji Group has chosen to assist FRCS in the provision of sanitary kits for vulnerable women and girls in our affected local communities.
“Women and girls in disadvantaged communities are especially vulnerable during natural disasters and even during this pandemic, as they try to cope with the challenges of access and high cost of quality menstrual hygiene products.
“In the past, post-disaster responses hardly focused on the menstrual and sanitation needs of affected women and girls. Menstrual hygiene has always been an issue missing from the list of priorities during disaster relief and recovery,” the Speaker said.
He also acknowledged that the handover is a special one as it involves the women parliamentarians.
“In the past two or three handing-overs that we have had, they all have been about Parliament’s needs.
“This one, however, is quite special because it is more about Parliament or our women parliamentarians, to be specific, doing something practical for a very important community need,” the Speaker said.
The Director-General of the FRCS Ms Ilisapeci Rokotunidau thanked the CWP Fiji Group for trusting them to distribute the sanitary kits to women in Fiji who have suffered through the impacts of COVID-19 and TC Harold.
“COVID-19 and TC Harold has brought new thinking, new approaches and new dilemmas to many Fijians. But one thing is constant. A lot of women continue to suffer as they direct family finances to family needs whilst putting their own needs on the back burner. And they quietly wait for a time such as this when some of their needs will be addressed.
“Whilst these women are contributing to development from the household and community level, we at the Fiji Red Cross Society are proud to be associated with women national leaders who, through their work and position, are addressing women’s needs,” Ms Rokotunidau added.
The initiative was made possible through the support of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) through its 2020 CWP Regional Strengthening Funds, and the Governments of Australia, New Zealand, and Japan through the UNDP Fiji Parliament Support Project which also provides valuable assistance to the Fiji Parliament’s gender mainstreaming initiative.