The Ministry of Defence and National Security (MODNS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 29th October, 2019.
The MOU is intended to enhance the cooperation and coordination in combatting illicit drug in the country. The use of the University’s resources coupled with Government intelligence and information will ensure the effective and efficient design and development of an App in the field of Narcotics.
The Permanent Secretary, Lesuma said that the Ministry is glad that USP has come on board to assist in providing technical expertise.
Lesuma acknowledged the presence of the Vice Chancellor and President (VCP) of the University of the South Pacific Professor Ahluwalia and the University in providing the technical expertise for this partnership and added that the MOU will strengthen the relationship that has been built over the last few months.
Professor Pal Ahluwalia stated that the partnership is an outcome of the technical group meeting held on the 21st August, 2019 where the University agreed to work in partnership with the Ministry to provide innovative, sustainable ICT solutions adapted to the demographic and spatial nature of the Pacific region using its state-of-the-art ICT facilities.
Professor Ahluwalia said the University through the Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) will work closely with the Ministry in facilitating the App.
“FSTE provides an internationally recognized platform in the pursuit of learning, teaching and research in the areas of science, technology and environment and offers young and mature students an environment to develop their intellect and skills,” he said.
He added that through the signing of this MOU, USP looks forward to working closely with the Ministry and the whole of Government, as a strong and reliable partner, in the implementation of the activities set out under this partnership.
The collaboration between the University and the Ministry in designing and developing an App in the area of Narcotics will include features such as:
1. Reporting of suspicious activities associated with hard drugs within their respective communities;
2. Analytic and reporting of Intel to nearby Police stations;
3. An Awareness portal for periodic alerts, news, information on drugs and its effects,
4. A Counselling portal for those who are or having second thoughts about drug use;
5. Portal for sharing of pictures and videos of the effects of drugs;
6. Automatic send of address of users who report suspicious activities in their community;
7. Emergency or help contacts of all agencies to be available
8. Portal to be used by the public to ask questions and discuss on drugs.
9. Conduct surveys with the community; and
10. Sending alerts to users on events that MODNS will be conducting relating to drugs.
The design and development of the Narcotics App will be done in alignment with digital Fiji (https://www.digitalfiji.gov.fj/). One of the key goals of digital FIJI is to make more key Government services available online and through mobile applications. The Narcotics App will be another new digital service available to the Fijian community.
In conclusion, Lesuma thanked the University for its Commitment and looked forward to working with its technical team. It is anticipated that the Narcotics App will be completed by February 2020.