The Fiji Council of Social Services is advocating for the strengthening of family units across diverse settings, be it in informal settlements or urban areas.
Executive Director Vani Catanasiga highlights the critical role played by support, whether sourced from taxpayers or development partners in advancing the organization’s mission.
She states with FCOSS being fully funded by development partners, there is a unique flexibility in addressing the multifaceted challenges faced by families.
“We are looking at safety in the home, safety in the settlements you know, and some settlements are really overcrowded there are no lighting, no proper wash facilities. If you look at push factors, you know, if you studied some of you can make the connection between Vakatawa Noke and what’s on the streets.”
While programs for children and gender are valuable, Catanasiga reiterates that focusing on strengthening the family unit creates a ripple effect, providing a safe space within homes that discourages children from venturing into risky situations.
Addressing the pertinent issue of homelessness in Suva and Nausori, Catanasiga expresses concern over the 340 people, primarily iTaukei and minors living on the streets.
This, she said was according to a survey conducted by ARUKA Fiji in August last year.
Catanasiga stresses the need for targeted support not only for families already facing challenges but for all families.
She adds that by proactively addressing this issue, they aim to build safer communities.