21 FIJI SQUATTER FAMILIES TO GET SKILLS TRAINING

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Program offers construction skills, land leases

By Samantha Rina SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Nov. 23, 2010) – Twenty-one families have been selected as participants of a carpentry and joinery training program by the Training Productivity Authority of Fiji.

Their selection was formalized yesterday through the signing of a memorandum by the Ministry of Local Government, Urban Development and Housing, TPAF and the People’s Community Network.

Ministry deputy secretary Saverio Baleikanacea said the project was worth about FJ$229,000 [US$125,000] with packages that included building skills training by TPAF, construction material and blocks of land leased by the Catholic Church in Navua.

The acting director of the ministry’s housing department, Kolinio Bola, said the agreement would facilitate the relocation of 21 squatter families at Wailea in Suva to a proper site in Navua.

He said TPAF’s role was to provide construction skills and training for the 21 tenants who would each be given five acres of land in lease.

"We conducted a socio-economic survey and capacity and skill analysis for prospective tenants," Mr. Bola said.

"This was how we selected the 21 tenants for the project."

TPAF director general Jone Usumate said this was the first time they had entered into such a partnership.

"This partnership ensures that we are fulfilling our obligation to the community," he said. "Training will ensure sustainability skills when they are on their farms and will help them to be successful."

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