With many Fijians facing hard times amid the economic fallout of Covid-19, the ANZ Fiji Staff Foundation, a charitable trust funded and run by ANZ staff members, has donated more than F$175,000 to 20 different community projects in 2020 to date.
ANZ Fiji Staff Foundation funds have supported projects in a number of urban and remote communities including; food security projects and farm kits, emergency food supplies, rebuild work and disaster relief, as well as programmes to empower women and girls and combat period poverty.
One such project is the Farm Food Bank project, run by Rise Beyond the Reef, a not for profit organisation that works with women and children in remote communities.
The project encourages families in rural communities to grow their own food by suppling seedlings and cuttings that families can transfer to their own farms for families to eat.
“These communities are all outside of the formal sector. There is no such thing as the Fiji National Providence Fund (superannuation) or other safety nets when times are tough,” says Janet Lottawa, Director and Co Founder of Rise Beyond the Reef. “We believe food sovereignty is the best stimulus package for rural remote communities and that’s why we’ve focused our efforts on giving families plants they can harvest for their own food needs,” she says.
“We are truly grateful for the support of the ANZ Fiji Staff Foundation and look forward to the next phase of the project.” ANZ Fiji Country Head, Saud Minam, says the Foundation is an avenue for ANZ staff to help local communities thrive.
“I’m proud that the ANZ Fiji Staff Foundation is funded by and run by ANZ staff. This means our staff get to directly support their local communities and support the causes they believe in. All funds are separate to ANZ Fiji’s donations and sponsorships and are separate to the F$200,000 donated by ANZ Bank Fiji to the Red Cross earlier this year.”
Until now the ANZ Fiji Staff Foundation focussed on mobilising ANZ staff in large groups to volunteer in the community for projects such as mangrove planting or renovating health clinics. But Covid-19 has changed that. Pauline Kostatino, Trustee on the Fiji Staff Foundation, says the Foundation had to change its approach as a result of the physical distancing rules in place. “Instead of taking the traditional approach of mobilizing our staff to go out in numbers, our team opted to collaborate closely with community partners by directly funding their projects.” “This meant our community partners already on the ground were able to support and deliver our Staff Foundation charitable objectives in a safe and practical manner, without compromising health and safety.”