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Caritas is working with a faith based organisation in Fiji to lift people out of poverty by helping them find ways to achieve livelihoods.
ECREA is Caritas’ key development partner in Fiji. We have been working together since 1998. ECREA brings together leaders from major religious denominations and collectively reflects and acts to promote the rights of the poor. It grounds its action through a combination of development projects, humanitarian relief work, and advocacy for the rights of the poor.
About 45 percent of the Fijian population live in poverty and one in 12 live in informal (squatter) settlements. These are makeshift housing settlements on the edges of urban areas. Caritas is working with ECREA on a Sustainable Economic Development for Informal Settlements programme. The aim of this is to help informal settlers find ways to generate income from existing opportunities in the areas they live, such as growing fruit and veges, producing handicrafts, or selling products in local markets. The programme aims to improve incomes and wellbeing for 300 families or households across 15 informal settlements.
The programme will also help ensure that the community is better prepared for disasters through education and emergency information notices. Another aim of the programme is to further strengthen community leadership so that informal settlers can continue advocating for their rights with the Fijian government.
ECREA has decades of involvement with Fiji’s poor - this led to its forming and developing the People’s Community Network (PCN). The network has developed local leadership and encouraged savings by residents, to use for their own development initiatives. The PCN has managed to organise a quarter of the approximately 180 informal settlements in Fiji. It is a mark of ECREA’s success that the PCN recently spun off as a separate organisation.
Read more here in our One World Partnership newsletter.