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Not Just Sweet Talk Campaign: What the Seniors Say

Not Just Sweet Talk Campaign: What the Seniors Say

13 September 2012

Ba, Fiji Islands

Access to information about the political process leading up to the 2014 elections should not marginalise senior citizens, especially those in rural communities and that is why a today consultation and community radio broadcast on FemTALK 89FM will enable 30 senior citizens, members of the Ba Seniors Centre to the airwaves tomorrow (14 September) as part of FemLINKPACIFIC’s “Not Just Sweet Talk" campaign:

“The consultation has enabled the seniors to prioritize issues they feel are important in a Bill of Rights, as well as talk about the qualities of leadership they value for parliament and local government,” says FemLINKPACIFIC’s Executive Director, Sharon Bhagwan Rolls.

In two day consultation and pre broadcast production, the seniors have highlighted a series of long standing issues they need resolved including the lack of social welfare support and services for rural seniors, especially women who have worked hard in the informal sector including in the agricultural sector, as well as market vendors, and therefore are without the benefit of a pension or provident fund savings.

Seniors who have retired from years of service in the education and medical profession also talked about the need to establishment special homes for seniors and all the seniors have amplified the call to improve medical services in Ba for seniors including medicine supply.

Other issues that will be raised included infrastructure concerns (lack of electricity, water supply and poor road conditions), the need for disaster management programmes and responses to be inclusive of the elderly, the insecurity with access to housing and land and rising economic insecurity faced by seniors, especially as they have special dietary needs.

The Ba Seniors Centre was established in June 1999 and is one of the partners of FemLINKPACIFIC’s rural community media network. The centre is one of the few established centres organising activities for seniors in the Ba community.

Since 2007 FemLINKPacific's rural community media network meetings, consultations and community radio broadcasts have provided a participatory and interactive process to link rural women's networks with initiatives such as the Fiji Women’s Forum and other women’s rights groups to also provide relevant support to enable rural women to engage proactively in process of democratization, including Constitution submissions.

The consultation and community radio broadcast is part of the Fiji activities of the Regional Women’s Media and Policy Network on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and undertaken with additional support from USAID and the American Bar Association (ABA) - Rule of Law Initiative as well as the European Union, UNDP – Strengthening Capacities for Peace and Development Project, the Generation Next project supported by the International Women’s Development Agency.

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