Remote and far but now well-informed

The Parliament Civic Education team reached out to remote villages in the Lau group to inform them about the Fijian Parliament.

Villages in Totoya, Fulaga, Kabara and Vanua Balavu took part in the awareness sessions conducted by staff of the Fijian Parliament in the last two weeks.

The Parliament education outreach programme which began in 2015 aims to inform Fijians on the roles and functions of Parliament, works of Parliament and how Fijians can be involved.

Villagers in Lau complimented the programme as it has broaden their knowledge and clarified some doubts they have about the institution.

“We are very thankful that Parliament is brought closer to us today. Most of the time, we are not aware of Parliament and how it works, but today we are grateful that we have been educated about parliament” said Vasiti Tuisawana of Mavana village.

“Before, we didn’t know the role of the opposition or the role of government in Parliament, we didn’t know how laws were made and other useful details about Parliament. We used to hear stories about the Mace of Parliament but never fully understand its significance. Today it has been clearly explained to us and we’ve also learnt much about the Speaker and her role in Parliament” added Mrs Tuisawana.

“Compared to our little knowledge about Parliament, some things we have seen and heard today has been very educational because it has explained Parliament in detail to us” said Vulitolu Seruvatu, a teacher in Mavana.

The team also travelled to Fulaga and presented Fulaga villagers who converged in Muana-i-Cake village for their Tikina meeting. According to Semi Vanua, the outreach has enlightened them on ways they can engage continuously with Parliament and Members of Parliament.

“Most of us have questions about Parliament. We have issues that we need assistance and our voice to be heard. But after the presentation, we came to know that there are ways we can raise our issues directly with parliament through the work of the Standing Committees, petitions and also by contacting our members of parliament directly” he said.

The same sentiments were shared by those who attended the outreach at Naikeleyaga village in Kabara and at Kabara District School.

“These students and communities are far away from the mainland so this is the first time we’ve received such a presentation based on Parliament and its structure, so the students have been well familiarized with the roles and what really happens at Parliament, through this presentation” said Sireli Ratu, the Head Teacher of Kabara District School.

The outreach continues throughout Fiji targeting youths, women, communities and schools.