AVI in Fiji

Historically, AVI has sent skilled Australians to Fiji through various programs.

Through the Pacific Technical Assistance Mechanism (PACTAM) more than 15 technical advisors have assisted the individual Government Ministries in Fiji.

Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) is the main program through which AVI continues sending volunteers to Fiji. Initially, AVID assignments were focused in areas of governance and education. However, in recent years, the program’s focus has shifted to strengthen the capacity of local and regional non-government organisations

Improving mental health outcomes

AVI assignments are helping change the efforts made to improve education and advocacy in Fiji’s mental health sector. This has been done through training the local staff, providing support to local civil society organisations working in mental health to develop and implement peer support, social and recreational activities and income generating activities. Supporting the Government Divisional departments in the decentralisation efforts of mental health services and programs in Fiji is also a focus of the AVI assignments.

Improving education outcomes

Through assignments that provide teacher training and support curriculum development, AVI volunteers are helping improve education outcomes in Fiji. AVI is committed to the concept of inclusive education but also recognises the need for Special Schools for children that need additional support. AVI provides continuous support to the special schools in Fiji by helping to build capacity of the local staff and help develop more efficient systems and processes.

Improving livelihoods and rural development

Poverty mapping clearly indicates high levels of poverty in the sugar belt regions of Fiji in Western Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. This is also seen in the peri-urban settlements that have sprung up around Suva, Lautoka and Labasa. A diversified income generation approach is being looked at to provide people in these rural localities with alternative and sustainable sources of income as well as acceptable levels of social services and infrastructure. Currently the facilitation of viable sustainable farming practices amongst famer’s groups on Taveuni and in the Western division is being conducted. This is done through capacity building methods such as soil schools, model farms and farm visits as well as Arts and Crafts initiatives in the North have been developed.

Improving governance

Recognising the large number of Civil Society Organisations in Fiji and the current capacity of these organisations in influencing change in Fiji, volunteers have contributed to strengthening good governance in these organisations. AVI assignments support civil society organisations and institutions in Fiji with the development of strategic plans, financial and project management, mentoring and training local staff and helping to set up procedures, and write organisational guidelines.

About Fiji

Lee Blake (AVI volunteer Training Development Adviser), Litiana Maivuniwi, Harry William, Marica Rasaqiwa, with ceramic wall hanging masks, in front of the Western Arts & Crafts Society’s building.Photo: Harjono Djoyobisono

Volunteer profile

Mental health survivors are among the most socially excluded groups in Fiji, with many individuals revealing the social impacts of mental illness - stigma, discrimination and social exclusion – as being worse than any medical symptoms of their condition.

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Host organisation profile

St Giles hospital was established in 1884 and is Fiji’s only psychiatric facility. Over the years, it has evolved from a containment facility to one offering treatment as these became available.

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Read more partner organisation profiles