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 and key civil society organisations to increase the capacity and efficiency of the current health system. We support Fiji to respond to non-communicable diseases with a focus on cost-effective primary care and prevention. We also help address Fiji's skills gaps by supporting quality education, providing tertiary scholarships and supporting vocational skills development.
Since TC Winston we have supported the Fiji Government in its renewed focus on disaster risk reduction and management, providing technical assistance, training and supplies to the National Disaster Management Office, Fiji Red Cross Society and civil society organisations. We have also contributed to Fiji’s COP23 Presidency Trust Fund to advance Fiji’s leadership in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and increasing development countries’ access to finance to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
More information on the Fiji COP23
An important milestone for Fiji's bilateral aid program was the establishment of the Fiji Program Support Facility in January 2017. The Facility supports the Australian Government's policy of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the aid program by having multiple aid programs managed by a single contractor.
The Fiji Program Support Facility administers the following programs: Health, Education, Australia Awards, Civil Society Support, Emergency Preparedness and Response, and Governance.
Australia’s support to Fiji’s health sector
Up to $25 million, 2017-2022
Australia’s current five year health program to support Fiji’s health sector is strongly aligned to the Ministry of Health & Medical Services Strategic Plan. The strategic focus areas are intended to enhance curative and preventive health services in partnership with the Ministry of Health through quality investments. The program works at three levels of the health system: national systems, health providers, and communities. The outcomes are underpinned by five strategic objectives including:
- improve health service delivery;
- strengthen public health services;
- strengthen health policy, financing and planning;
- strengthen leadership, management and workforce development; and
- strengthen health information to support decision making.
Australia is committed to stepping up our engagement in the region to build a stronger Pacific. Australia's regional health program complements bilateral health investments with a strong focus on supporting health activities that require a regional or multi-country approach, such as workforce training, clinical services and cross-border disease threats. Key objectives include:
- strengthening regional health governance and policy, and
- strengthening the provision of regional health services and training that cannot be provided at a country level or where there are economies of scale for regional provision.
For more information on DFAT’s Pacific Regional health programs visit Pacific Regional—Healthy communities
The innovationXchange was established in March 2015 within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to form new partnerships and identify innovative approaches to improve the effectiveness and impact of the Australian aid program, and public policy more generally. The innovationXchange is currently supporting two regional health projects in the Pacific, including Fiji.
The World Mosquito Program - $7.7 million pilot program
This innovative pilot program is targeting mosquito-borne diseases in Fiji, Vanuatu and Kiribati. Dengue is an insidious virus that emerges quickly when the conditions are right and in its severe form, can be fatal. In Fiji, Vanuatu and Kiribati, over 30,000 people have been infected in the last decade.
Australia’s innovationXchange has partnered with Monash University’s Eliminate Dengue Program and national health ministries to target dengue, Zika virus, and Chikungunya. The program uses naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria to stop mosquitoes from transmitting these diseases to human populations.
These pilots build on Australia’s existing efforts to promote health security in the Pacific by building countries’ capacities to detect, assess and respond to diseases with epidemic potential. Given Australia’s close proximity to our Pacific neighbours, supporting regional health security also works to ensure our own national health security.
More information on the World Mosquito Program
LAUNCH Food Challenge
The Government will invest $4 million in winners of the LAUNCH Food Challenge to improve nutrition in our region, including $2.5 million in the Pacific. Winning initiatives will work to increase local production of healthy food using innovative technology and drive healthier food choices through improved public health communication. LAUNCH Food is a global innovation challenge supported by Australia’s innovationXchange, USAID’s Global Development Lab and regional stakeholders.
More information on Launch Food Challenge
Australia’s support to Fiji’s education sector
Up to $25 million, 2018-2022
Australia’s new education program commenced in late 2018, with an investment value of up to $25 million. In partnership with Fiji Ministry of Education, Heritage and the Arts (MEHA), the program will contribute to Fiji’s strategic priorities through targeted support including demand driven technical assistance, grants to support analytics, and partnerships. The program framework will be a systems-based approach that comprises systems strengthening, capacity development and partnerships for teaching and learning.
The new program aims to:
- contribute to new curriculum development with specific emphasis on literacy and numeracy;
- improve teacher quality through upgraded qualifications and pre-service/in-service training;
- increase functionality of the Fiji Education Management Information System (FEMIS) to enhance data usage/analysis and evidence-based decision making, setting an example for the Pacific region; and
- provide reliable internet connectivity options to schools with no or intermittent internet access.
The Access to Quality Education Program (AQEP) core program activities were completed in June 2017, and achieved the following results:
- renovated 85 primary schools, addressing water, sanitation and hygiene issues benefiting 15,449 students (7,332 girls and 8,117 boys);
- provided learning resources and training of head teachers, teachers, school management committees;
- introduced a disability program to address the special access and learning needs of children with disability; and
- supported the Fiji Ministry of Education to develop the Fiji Education Management Information System (FEMIS) and Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (LANA) processes, which benefitted 730 Fijian primary schools nationwide.
Key findings from the End of Program Evaluation included:
- AQEP supported a total of 222 schools and 45,927 students through all of its activities over the life of the Program
- The attendance rate for AQEP supported schools improved from 85 per cent in 2012 to 91 per cent in Term 1 of 2017
AQEP received further funding of $16.3 million and was extended to December 2018, to support a two-year reconstruction initiative, rebuilding 18 Fijian schools, dormitories, dining halls, ablution blocks and teachers quarters damaged by Tropical Cyclone Winston – see Recovery and Reconstruction.
Australia’s support for Civil Society Organisations
Up to $10 million, 2018-2022
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) remain important development partners and Australia has a long history of engaging with civil society across its aid program in Fiji. Support to CSOs in Fiji builds on the success of the former Fiji Community Development Program, which surpassed its five-year target and reached over 300,000 beneficiaries and 123 CSOs across Fiji (49 per cent male, 51 per cent female). The final 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.
In line with the Australia-Fiji Civil Society Engagement Strategy (2016-2019), support to civil society will be delivered across the breadth of the Fiji AIP. The Fiji Program Support Facility will provide grant and capacity building activities to CSOs 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. The Direct Aid Program, administered by the Australian High Commission in Suva, supports community based civil society groups working across a range of issues through the provision of small grants. The Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women) program supports women-focused CSOs in Fiji to deliver programs that enable the social, economic and political empowerment of women. Under Pacific Women, the Fiji Women's Fund provides targeted support to reach rural, remote and marginalised women and support groups to expand their work on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) program that supports Australian organisations to work with local Fijian CSOs also helps capitalise on Australia’s engagement with civil society in Fiji.
Australia’s support for Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency preparedness and Response
Up to $3.5 million, 2017-2022
Australia invests in resilience building, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and disaster risk reduction (DRR) in Fiji across all programs. The Fiji Program Support Facility will administer a Preparedness and Response Fund (PRF) to manage disaster response and preparedness activities, supporting Fiji government and CSOs.
Australia Humanitarian Partnership, Up to $50 million 2017-2022
The Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP) is a new strategic five-year (2017-2022) partnership between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Australian NGOs. The AHP will deliver more effective, innovative and collaborative humanitarian assistance by allowing Australia to utilise the networks of Australian NGOs to respond to natural disasters and protracted crises in our region and beyond.
The program will help to save lives, alleviate suffering and enhance human dignity during and in the aftermath of conflict, disasters and other humanitarian crises.
More information on Australian Humanitarian Partnership
Australia Assists, Up to $82.2 million
Australia Assists is an Australian Government funded program, managed by RedR Australia that deploys Australian specialists to work with governments, multilateral agencies and communities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters and conflict.
The program enables the rapid mobilisation and deployment of Australian specialists into geographic and thematic areas of priority in line with Australia’s humanitarian responsibilities and our national interests.
More information on Australia Assists
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 in 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 (July 2018-June 2021) are 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.
More information on Pacific Women
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.
More information on Fiji Women’s Fund
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 sector, as well as the agriculture sector, providing more opportunities for Fijians to participate. As of 31 December 2018, 769 Fijian workers (88 women and 681 men) have participated in the program.
More information on Seasonal Worker Programme
The Pacific Labour Scheme
The Pacific Labour Scheme (Scheme) commenced on 1 July 2018 following a successful pilot program in northern Australia and building on the success of the Seasonal Worker Programme. The Scheme will help meet business demand across all sectors in rural and regional Australia. Workers from Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are currently able to apply for low and semi-skilled employment in Australia under the Scheme.
On 15 November 2018, Foreign Minister Payne announced that the Scheme would be expanded to all Pacific island countries that it would be uncapped. Uncapping the Scheme will help fill labour gaps in Australia's towns and on farms, boosting economic activity and competitiveness in rural and regional Australia.
- is now uncapped and will be expanded to more Pacific countries, including Fiji, to help meet demand in rural and regional Australia;
- has an initial focus on sectors with projected employment growth in Australia;
- is employer-sponsored and requires labour market testing to ensure Australians have priority for local jobs; and
- contains protections to safeguard against worker exploitation.
More information on The Pacific Labour Scheme