To help ensure the benefits of economic growth are shared by all Fijians, Australia supports improved access to quality health and education services, particularly for disadvantaged segments of the population, including the rural poor, women and people living with disabilities.
Australia works with the Government of Fiji to increase the capacity and efficiency of the current health system. We support Fiji respond to non-communicable diseases with a focus on cost-effective primary care and prevention. We also help address Fiji's skills gap by supporting quality education, providing tertiary scholarships and supporting vocational skills development.
Australia works with the Government of Fiji and the private sector to strengthen the key systems, policies and capacities that underpin quality services and ensure value for money.
Access to Quality Education Program (AQEP)
Up to $61.1 million, 2011-2018
AQEP was designed to help improve access to quality basic education for the poorest and most disadvantaged communities in Fiji. AQEP focused on 85 primary schools in the poorest and most disadvantaged parts of Fiji, as mapped by the World Bank, and had three main objectives:
- to increase access to quality education for the most disadvantaged students;
- to improve facilities to ensure safer and better learning environments; and
- to directly strengthen the capacity of Fiji's Ministry of Education through training and assistance in developing information management and assessment systems, and other priorities including disaster rehabilitation.
AQEP has provided a comprehensive package of support to 85 targeted primary schools throughout Fiji to improve access to school, and to improve literacy and numeracy learning outcomes for the most disadvantaged students. All 85 schools were renovated, addressing water, sanitation and hygiene issues. In addition, teaching and learning resources were provided, along with training and/or mentoring of head teachers, teachers, school management committees, and communities using a school-based management approach. A disability inclusive pilot at five primary schools addressed the special access and learning needs of children with disability. AQEP also managed two major systemic Ministry of Education priorities related to the development of the Fiji Education Management Information System (FEMIS) and Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (LANA) processes, benefitting 730 Fijian primary schools nationwide.
Program beneficiaries include the 85 primary schools directly supported with an enrolment of 15,449 students (7,332 girls and 8,117 boys); and 222 AQEP and emergency-supported schools with 45,927 preschool, primary and secondary students (22,374 girls and 23,553 boys).
While core program activities were completed in June 2017, AQEP has been extended to the end of December 2018 to support reconstruction efforts following Tropical Cyclone Winston. In June 2016, further funding of $16.3 million was approved for AQEP to undertake a two-year reconstruction initiative, rebuilding 18 Fijian schools damaged by Tropical Cyclone Winston. In April 2017, AQEP was also provided an additional $1.5 million to take over the health sector reconstruction program, following the completion of the Fiji Health Sector Support Program.
Under the Fiji Program Support Facility, and in coordination with the Ministry of Education, a number of transitional activities in the education sector are being supported until the next education program comes online in mid-2018. The transitional activities include practical solutions to school internet connectivity, further development of FEMIS functionality and extension of training for teachers on literacy and numeracy and for district education officers on school-based management.
The next phase of Australia's education support for Fiji is currently under design and includes consultations with the Ministry of Education and education stakeholders.
Fiji Health Sector Support Program (FHSSP)
Up to $33.5 million, 2011-2017
The FHSSP supported improvements in maternal and child health, the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and hypertension, primary health care and health systems strengthening.
The FHSSP was launched in 2011 and concluded in June 2017. Key achievements in 2016-17 focused on the TC Winston response and recovery efforts while maintaining core health sector support programming, including:
- the construction of three Nursing Stations to replace medical facilities that were damaged by TC Winston. The construction of these facilities enabled the delivery of health services to continue with minimal disruption;
- a review of the impacts of the three childhood vaccines jointly funded by the FHSSP and Ministry of Health which aimed to improve child health and address high rates of cervical cancer in girls. The review findings showed a decrease in hospitalization rates for children with diarrhea and pneumococcal virus;
- the design of an upgraded health facility, Waimaro Health Centre, for a rural community in Ra adversely affected by TC Winston and the procurement of relevant hospital equipment. This new facility will provide an expanded range of health services previously not available to the community (the work of which will be continued under the Fiji Program Support Facility – see below); and
- support for health system strengthening by providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Health. The FHSSP focused its support on workforce planning, monitoring and evaluation, health information systems and strategic planning.
The new health sector support program commenced in July 2017, under the Fiji Program Support Facility, and builds on previous work in health systems strengthening and primary health care. The program's first year will establish frameworks to devolve ante- and post-natal care services at the sub-divisional level. There are also plans to set up a National Vaccine Preventable Unit and a National Screening Unit for NCDs. To support systems strengthening, the program will set up a Learning Development Unit to support workforce training and planning as part of the Ministry of Health's civil service reforms. In close coordination with the Ministry of Health, the program will also support civil society organisations to address priority health service needs, such as NCDs, Adolescent Health, Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health, and Communicable Diseases.
Fiji Community Development Program
Up to $21.4 million, 2012-2017
The Fiji Community Development Program (FCDP) represented DFAT's most significant investment in Fiji's civil society sector for the period May 2012 - May 2017. The independent end of program evaluation found the program achieved its key objectives, mitigating social and economic hardship for poor, vulnerable and excluded communities and making a positive difference in people's lives and contributed to strengthening CSO's capacity.
Beyond the FCDP, support to civil society is delivered through the Fiji Program Support Facility which will provide grant and capacity building activities to CSOs in Fiji through sector programs and a civil society support fund (to be established). CSOs will be provided with an integrated package of grant funding and capacity support to maximise the value and impact of their work.
Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development – Fiji
Up to $26 million, 2013-23
Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women) was launched by the Australian Government at the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in August 2012. Pacific Women is a ten-year, $320 million program, funded by the Australian Government, which aims to improve the political, economic and social opportunities of Pacific women. Pacific Women supports countries to meet their gender equality commitments.
Through Pacific Women, the Australian Government will spend approximately $26 million over 10 years on initiatives supporting women's empowerment in Fiji.
A review of the Fiji country plan was conducted February – June 2017 to assess the extent to which the program remains relevant and is operating efficiently and effectively. The review found the program is operating on time and on budget, and is contributing to positive change for women and vulnerable groups in Fiji. Priorities for the next phase (2017-2020) is to strengthen monitoring, evaluation and learning across the program and develop a clear strategy on women's economic empowerment.
The country plan is delivered through a mix of support to women's civil society organisations, multilateral, regional and Australian organisations and the Government of Fiji, specifically supporting the Fiji Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation's Department of Women to implement the national gender policy.
The Fiji Women's Fund
In 2017, Pacific Women established the Fiji Women's Fund (the Fund). The Fund aims to support women's groups, organisations and networks in Fiji to expand and enhance their work on women's empowerment and gender equality through grants and capacity strengthening. One of the outcomes of the Fund is to transition to an independent local entity with secured resourcing from other donors, private sector and local philanthropy by June 2022.
For more information, see the Pacific Women website.
Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP)
Fiji is an active participant in the SWP. In June 2015, the Australian Government announced an expansion of the SWP by removing the annual limit on the number of seasonal workers who can participate in the program. The program was also expanded to include the accommodation as well as the agriculture sector, providing more opportunities for Fijians to participate.
More information can be found on the Seasonal Worker Programme website.