Fiji Girl Guide volunteer, Emly Tabua said she had learned a lot after attending the two-day dialogue organised by the Fiji Council of Social Services (FCOSS) in Suva.
The dialogue which ended yesterday focused on Fiji Civil Society Public Policy Capacity Building Program for Community Based Organisations (CBO).
The elements of the dialogue included; understanding policies and its relevance, identifying key players and processes in district and national levels, mapping challenges and capacity gaps in engaging in policy space and identifying strategies to engage.
Ms Tabua said that the dialogue was about policy making and she was enlightened.
“Now I came to know the importance of having policy in place. It’s very encouraging and helps me a lot in order to formulate policy. Many of us are not aware of the importance of policy that is in place. The importance of policy goes right down to the grassroot people.
“This dialogue has helped and empowered me a lot to go out and educate grassroot people,” Ms Tabua said.
FCOSS executive director, Neil Sharma said they would convene eight district level policy dialogue forums promoting more constructive dialogue and to enable more informed policy engagement at district levels by its network of CBO.
The eight district includes; Suva-Nausori, Sigatoka, Nadi, Lautoka, Ba, Tavua, Rakiraki, and Labasa.
He said the district level dialogue forums included CBO such as women’s groups, youth groups, older persons, vulnerable groups, community development committees, school management committees, faith-based organisations and uniformed groups.
The programme has three activities which includes;
– District level policy dialogue forum
– National training of trainers on policy engagement and
– National tripartite dialogue between civil society, Government and private sector
Mr Sharma said the idea was not only to have the dialogue but simultaneously build capacity of the CBO in policy engagement.
He said Policy Advocacy is conducted by large Non-Government Organisations and this programme is targeting bottom-up approach by engaging CBO. He added after conducting dialogue to the entire eight districts their findings/data will be presented to stakeholders including the Government by end of February.
He said “During the first dialogue for Suva-Nausori District we have observed the poor capacity of CBO’s to engaged in policy development. This is dialogue will help to exposed themselves.”
The two-day dialogue was funded by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) through the EU funded Strengthening Non-State Actors (NSAs) Engagement in Regional Policy Development and Implementation Programme.
FCOSS will be conducting the second dialogue in Sigatoka next week.
Edited by Mohammed Zulfikar