July 22, 2021
Picture: Ministry staff assisting Live and Learn Fiji in distributing the food packs and home gardening seeds.
About 1,400 families in the Suva-Nausori lockdown area were assisted under Suva NGO, Live and Learn Fiji’s Food Security Program in the past few weeks.
Humanitarian, Disaster, Response and Preparedness Coordinator, Kolosa Mateibalavu said it was the organization’s second response for the second wave of COVID-19.
The response was in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces, Empower Pacific and the Fiji Disabled Peoples Federation.
The coordination humanitarian support was funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) through Live and Learn Fiji.
“Providing food ration assistance to households that tested positive for COVID-19 by the Ministry of Health and those who were also primary and secondary contacts,” Mr Mateibalavu said.
“For the identification of beneficiaries we worked with our partners.
“We did not enter any premises without permission. We worked with the Ministry of Health who provided the data of those that in self-isolation as a result of their positive status,” he said.
He explained the criteria for the food pack distribution was mainly according to the number of family members. If a household had less than seven members they then qualified for one food ration pack. However, if there was more than seven family members, than they would receive two packs.
Mr Mateibalavu said referrals of the food ration recipients were also identified through their Food Cluster which included the Ministry of Agriculture and the vulnerable.
The Live and Learn assistance included food rations, backyard seedlings for food security, and WASH and hygiene kits for public health.
“In terms of food security, we are trying to ensure that we are not just supporting them with the food that can last for a week but also try to encourage nutritious food through the Ministry of Agriculture support of backyard gardening seedlings,” he said.
“The seeds that are given is something they can plant in their backyard and if it is open pollinated than it is something they can raise again.
“In addition, the booklets handed out, will provide the knowledge, techniques, and skills on how they can raise their seedlings in their backyard.”
Lami recipient, Maria Miller thanked Live and Learn Fiji for the timely assistance and reaching out to communities.
“We are grateful for the assistance as we were beginning to worry about our next meal and this has lifted a weight off our shoulders. Not only were we not allowed to go to town because of being in isolation but we have been without work and this assistance has brought some relief to us.”
Another recipient, Adi Kacaraini Vakarewakobau-Nuku of Taro, Bau, Tailevu expressed similar sentiments adding, that the gesture was deeply appreciated given they had to isolate as one of the family members tested positive.
“There are ten members in our family, and we were glad to receive two food packs. We became primary contacts because one of my family member tested positive. This assistance will certainly go a long way for us. On behalf of my family I want to sincerely thank Live and Learn, and Ministry of Agriculture for this help. Vinaka Vakalevu!”
Mr Mateibalavu explained in the first response for this second wave of COVID-19, Live and Learn Fiji assisted 600 households with food packs only.