Flood affected market vendors in cash for work scheme

20/04/2012

Market vendors, whose livelihoods have been washed away by the floods in Fiji earlier this month, are being employed in a special “cash-for-work” programme to assist them in rebuilding their livelihoods as well as enabling them to contribute to recovery efforts in their communities.<!--more-->

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from UN Women and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is funding the cash-for-work programme.

The programme, which starts next week, intends to employ around 260 market vendors for 20 working days. “The cash-for-work programme in the form of emergency employment is about the dignity of the women and men to be involved in recovery who then decide on how to use the money earned. Such programmes also provide quick visible impact in the affected areas giving hope to the women and men to move forward and build towards the future,” said Mr Knut Ostby, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative.

UN Women and UNDP have conducted research and recently compiled the socio-economic profile of market vendors in Fiji, which shows that about 80% of market vendors in the Western Division are women and with average weekly earnings of between FJ$126 to $250.

Approximately 60% of market vendors grow their own produce for sale, and mainly sell vegetables, root crops and fruits. The vendors work 10-hour days, six days a week. Vendor incomes in Fiji fluctuate quite a bit depending on several factors, and given the recent rain and floods have suffered disruptions and drastic reductions in income.

The cash-for-work programme, a first for Fiji, is part of a larger UNDP project targeting livelihoods restoration following recurrent floods in Fiji and has a budget of US$ 100,000.00.

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