Include women: Adi Bale
By ILIESA TORA
Suva, Fiji – May 2, 2019: 10.45am (Nuku’alofa Times): Include women in planning and decision making processes.
That was the message from Fijian woman and market vendor, Adi Bale Kurunavanua, at the ‘Goal 1 Panel’ on ‘An Island Solution to Strengthened Resilience and Intergration of Climate Change and Disaster’ at the Pacific Resilience Meeting in Suva yesterday.
Adi Bale, a market vendor at the Nadi Market for the last 20 years, is a member of the UN Women Market for Change Project.
She has been a part of the Nadi Market Vendors Association for more than 10 years.
“Include women in your processes,” she said.
“I see things differently from my male friends in the market. Include women in planning, even if it is about buildings – we will be using those buildings and because we will see things differently, it will be a better building.
“I am very proud to be part of this work that is making our markets safer and inclusive.”
Adi Bale, originally from Wainibuka, said over the years she has seen women suffer during hazards that affected the country.
She said women have a lot of knowledge because they are involved in a lot of activities at different levels.
“I have seen how deeply women have been affected by hazards – we lose our produce, we lose our income, we get stressed but we must keep going,” she said.
“People don’t see how much we are suffering inside – because we must be strong for each other, for our families, for our communities.”
Adi Bale said being part of the UN program has taught her to have a plan instead of just following the crowd.
“I am here because I know from personal experience the difference between just following the crowd and having a plan. I know how important it is to have good structure and process in the market which works during disaster, the importance of good communication,” she said.
“I know which crops are best to plant in preparation for hurricane and rain season. We now have an evacuation plan. The Project provides good training: we have gone through financial literacy, agriculture and leadership training, and even First Aid training. I have been able to learn basic business skills but also how to be resilient – we have been, and we are reducing deaths, injury and suffering.
“It has been a long journey for me: I have put my children through school – they are now all working and have their own lives. The change in my life because we are now trained and consulted cannot be measured. To be part of this panel, to be speaking at a resilient-building meeting already speaks of resilience. To be part of the leadership in my market community is resilience at another level.”
The UN Women Markets for Change Project is supported by the Australian Government and the Government of Canada, in partnership with the UNDP.
It is a six year initiative aimed at ensuring that marketplaces in rural and urban areas in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory environments, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Market vendors and predominantly women, and marketplaces offer important venues to effect women’s social and economic change. In targeting female market vendors at marketplaces, the M4C Project will contribute to the broader Pacific Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) result of secure, productive and sustainable work opportunities for women.
Note: Iliesa Tora’s attendance at the Pacific Resilience Meeting was facilitated by the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS) in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
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