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Study on poverty, gender and ethnicity in key sectors of the Fijian economy

Jones, Linda and Sibley, Jonathan and Chattier, Priya and Salpietra, Deanna (2013) Study on poverty, gender and ethnicity in key sectors of the Fijian economy. [Professional and Technical Reports]

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MDF stimulates investment, business innovation and regulatory reform to create additional jobs and increase the income of poor women and men in rural and urban areas around the world. MDF follows a systems approach to market development and supports businesses with innovative ideas, investment and regulatory reform that will increase business performance, stimulate economic growth and ultimately provide benefits for the poor – as workers, producers, and consumers. Currently, the focus of the Facility’s work in Fiji is in two key sectors: Horticulture and Agro-export; and Tourism and Related Support Services and Industries. It is considering expansion of its work to a third urban-based sector, possibly later this year. MDF selects its sectors based on their contribution to the national economy; long-term growth prospects, and relevance for poverty reduction. For each sector, MDF has prepared a sector assessment and developed a sector growth strategy identifying the key constraints and growth areas within those sectors, on which MDF is focusing its interventions for stimulating broad-based pro-poor growth in the sector. This study goes deeper into understanding poverty, gender and ethnicity in Fiji within the two key sectors where MDF works, and more generally on urban poverty to complement future work in a third urban-based sector. While the sectors were chosen because of their relevance to poverty reduction, the purpose of this study was to further assess within each sector: who is poor and why within the sectors; the mechanisms, choices and strategies they use to move out of poverty; and what prevents this from happening. In addition, the study is meant to analyse gender equality in the sector, gender roles and controls, and ethnic differences so that its strategy and impacts can better reach both men and women of all ethnicities. With this understanding, MDF can better identify opportunities for equitable growth which are relevant for all poor producers, workers and consumers. This report therefore complements the Market Development Facility (MDF) existing horticulture and tourism sector assessment reports, and summarises findings of the study on poverty, gender and ethnicity as they relate to these sectors. In addition, it provides information on employment challenges and opportunities for the urban poor, offering information relevant to a possible third sector for MDF implementation. The information presented and conclusions drawn from this report have been appropriately analysed, and have been integrated into MDF’s own internal sector strategies and day-to-day work to help improve pro-poor and gender outcomes. This report therefore provides a summary of study findings, but does not explicitly state MDF’s reaction to these findings. MDF continuously conducts research, collects and analyses information relevant to the sectors in which it works, which will continue to complement the findings in this report in the future. Primary qualitative research in poverty and gender (with ethnicity as a cross-cutting theme) was conducted in the horticulture and tourism sectors on Viti Levu and Vanua Levu in two time periods between March and May 2013. A range of semi-structured tools was used to produce qualitative findings: focus group discussions, key informant interviews, in-depth worker interviews, household questionnaires (surveys) and observation. This primary research was further supported by extensive secondary source research both before and after the fieldwork. A team of ten was headed by the consultant (study lead), and this report therefore represents the work and insights of a group of people with different areas of expertise and experience relating to the content and context. Following the initial poverty and gender study, the team further conducted targeted research in selected informal urban settlements in July to gain a deeper understanding of urban poverty, incorporating issues of both gender and ethnicity. Although this was not tied to one particular sector, the intent was to meet with households in order to investigate their experiences with regard to employment, and economic challenges and opportunities. The findings from the second study are incorporated into this report, with implications noted regarding a potential third urban sector currently under investigation by MDF (industrial manufacturing with an export focus – and a possible concentration on apparel / textile). Overall findings are extremely positive for MDF’s potential contribution to horticulture and tourism in Fiji, and the integration and / or advancement of low-income women and men of iTaukei and Indo–Fijian backgrounds into the sectors. Horticulture and tourism are cornerstones of the Fijian economy, and offer employment and business opportunities as pathways out of poverty to large numbers of households and / or individuals within those households. The pathways out of poverty that result from participation within the sectors go beyond the sectors, as surplus income is utilised to educate members of the household (siblings and offspring) and to advance their economic well-being. There is potential for systemic changes that can result in impact beyond the life of the project. Despite this positive outlook, there are significant challenges for low-income households, and these vary depending on the sector and the context (geographic, socio-cultural). The situation for urban poverty is more complex due to the multiple systemic factors that perpetuate poverty including the lack of employment opportunities for those living in informal urban settlements. Development of an urban sector by MDF will provide economic opportunities for individuals and households living in informal settlements, but the systemic issues are many and deep, and beyond the scope of MDF’s mandate. Solutions for each sector relating to poverty and gender are provided in their respective sections and MDF sector assessment reports should be referenced for further information about the sector.

Item Type: Professional and Technical Reports
Subjects: A General Works > AS Academies and learned societies (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Generic Account
Date Deposited: 07 May 2014 21:34
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2016 03:35

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