The iTaukei Trust Fund Board (TTFB) and the Fiji National University (FNU), today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signalling the commencement of a rural women’s training project, focusing on building entrepreneurial capacities for several villages within the province of Naitasiri. 

The engagement project, between FNU and TTFB is the first of its kind, presenting a unique collaboration between the two organisations.

FNU through the College of Humanities and Education (CHE) will provide theory and practical courses for capacity upskilling towards this project. TTFB has committed to funding this project for the entirety of its duration. 

FNU Vice-Chancellor Professor Toby Wilkinson said the partnership with TTFB is significant as both institutions have a strong commitment towards empowering local communities.

 “We are delighted to pilot this project, which has noble ambitions in uplifting livelihoods of rural communities, in particular women and youths.

Through our College of Humanities and Education, we will ensure that all training participants will derive the best learning outcomes for their chosen trade.

And we are also pleased to partner with the iTaukei Trust Fund Board, to foster educational objectives aimed at enhancing skillsets in the informal sectors,” said Prof Wilkinson. 

The project will be launched around mid-March and is earmarked to run for ten weeks. Key objectives for the project will be to support and accelerate an entrepreneurial spirit and drive, naturally favoured by women, to meet current and future demands.

These are areas in craft-making, tailoring, designing, hairdressing and jewellery making. TTFB’s CEO Aisake Taito says “we are also delighted to partner with FNU, an established and growing academic institution for this pilot project.

The project also satisfies one of our strategic mandates, which is to provide funding to help develop the management, leadership and entrepreneurial skills of the indigenous Fijians and Rotumans. We look forward to a successful ten-week collaboration of the program. If the pilot is successful, we hope to introduce this training to other provinces as well”.

To conclude, the project’s fundamental objective is to broaden income-generating opportunities, in particular for women and youths. It is hoped that this will help in improving the livelihoods of rural and semi-rural communities, in the face of new realities posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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