30 Nov 2005

Fiji women's group calls on chief to help fight poverty

2:22 pm on 30 November 2005

Fiji's National Council of Women says provincial chiefs could do much more to help tackle poverty in the indigenous population, particularly among women.

The chairman of the Great Council of Chiefs, Ratu Ovini Bokini, is urging the council to take action over poverty, which now officially stands at 29.5 percent of their population.

The president of the National Council of Women, Pitilia Naitini, says poor housing, electricity and water supply are crucial issues in rural villages and the council can encourage government action in these areas.

"It is for them to mobilise resources, maybe within the Fijian administration, which is the Ministry of Fijian Affairs, the other one is the Ministry of Regional Development, where these resources will go to where it's mostly needed."

Ms Naitini says a poverty assessment done by the Asian Development Bank shows that there are more women living below the breadline.

They include solo mothers, widows or older women looking after extended families.