Villagers of Bagasau in the province of Cakaudrove now do not need to spend an additional $12 from their family weekly budget to travel to Savusavu to purchase cold groceries for their families.
This follows the success of the Bagasau Women’s Retail Store following the provision of a solar and freezer for the store under the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management’s (MRMDDM) Self-Help Programme.During the 2017/2018 financial year, the Ministry was able to assist the women’s group through the Bagasau Women’s Solar and Freezer Project with an allocated funding of more than $15,800.
Previously, the community used to resort to Savusavu Town to shop for cold groceries because their two private canteens in the village could only cater for basic food items as there was no storage and power.
The Bagasau Women’s Solar and Freezer Project was then undertaken by the MRMDDM to lessen the hassle of having to travel to as far as Savusavu to purchase cold groceries and to also encourage village togetherness and community effort (solesolevaki), to empower and encourage women to be productive, strengthen the social and economic capacity of the women’s group and also empower women to take ownership and have a part to play in the development of the community.
To date, the store rakes in close to $2000 from sales made in a week.Bagasau Village headman Mr.Taia Colaitiniyara said the store has helped villagers and commuters.
“They have also contributed towards development projects in the village like the construction of our village hall,” Mr Colaitiniyara said.Bagasau Women’s Group member Mereoni Diroro said she has been able to assist her husband in financially supporting their family through the money she earned from operating the store.
“My husband is a farmer and the money I earn from here has helped me in assisting him with the purchasing of some basic food items like sugar, flour and rice at home and other goods that my children usually want,” said the mother-of-five.“I want to thank the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development for this freezer and solar project because it has assisted our group immensely.”
Under the Self-Help Programme, rural dwellers are assisted in the construction of basic amenities and other small projects.
It also encourages communities to initiate their socio-economic sustainable development projects on a cost sharing basis with government, and by doing so, aims to instil a sense of community ownership.
While touring the Northern Division this week, Minister for Rural and Maritime Development Hon.Inia Seruiratu reiterated that Government wants to ensure that no one was left behind, especially Fijians living in rural areas.