Eleven skilled Fijian women are continuing to push boundaries, progress gender equality and increase the potential that exists for “green jobs” for women.
Through the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC), all 11 women are now studying their Certificate III in Carpentry a course that is jointly funded by Habitat for Humanity (HFH) Fiji and the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s Strengthening Women's Resilience to Climate Change and Disaster Risk in Asia and the Pacific initiative.
The training also involved close collaboration with Fiji’s Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and follows APTC’s successful delivery of the Certificate II in Construction (CPC20211) in 2018 to 20 Fijian women.
To build community resilience to natural disasters, the initiative recognises that Fijian women can be empowered with construction skills to make decisions around shelter preparedness.
While construction is traditionally a male-dominated field, partners, trainers and the women themselves continue to challenge these gender barriers and create new norms around construction.
The theory and practicum components will be undertaken at APTC training facilities in Suva, while live construction work will take place in Suva communities identified by HFH Fiji.
APTC Country Director Fiji and Tuvalu, Jovesa Saladoka, is excited by the potential of this partnership, saying it has created a significant pathway for the Certificate II graduates.
“This is a significant achievement in advancing gender equality across traditionally male dominated trades such as construction in Fiji. It is a vessel to transform mindsets and challenge deeply entrenched attitudes that prevent women from participating fully in male dominated environments such as construction,” Mr Saladoka said.
Rochelle White from the Australian High Commission said ‘Gender equality is a commitment of the Australian government. We are pleased to see women training in all our courses in APTC, including construction, mechanics and welding’.
The training program covers theory and hands-on practice of construction techniques, increasing the construction knowledge of participants, empowering them to construct homes for themselves and their fellow community members. It is also a pathway to earning an income in the construction industry. The program covers construction work in both residential and commercial buildings.
Student Asenaca Tonawai’s experience has been so positive she has gone on to enroll in the Certificate III program. “You get such opportunities once in a lifetime, so thank you to HFH, the ADB and the Australian government for their support to APTC, allowing our dreams to come true,” she said.