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Suva, FIJI – May 27, 2020: 4.15pm (Anglican Diocese of Polynesia): Around 181 families across Fiji have been assisted by the Anglican Diocese of Polynesia through the COVID-19 Assistance initiated by the Anglican Mission Board (AMB) New Zealand.

The Diocesan Secretary and Registrar Reverend Sepiuta Hala’api’api said the COVID19 Assistance proposal put together by the AMB and through the Tikanga Pasefika representatives and CIVA project saw an initial funding of FJD$8,640 collected.  The Tikanga Pasefika representatives include Bishop Henry Bull and Rev Amy Chambers.

This was used to fund assistance to families affected by COVID19 through loss of jobs, reduced working hours, and low fish/farm/handicraft sales to name a few.

“Following an assessment and through the use of COVID19 Assistance forms prepared by the team, sent out to parishes throughout the diocese through the priests in charge, as well as a field visit to the families, most of the responses came from the mission units of Viti Levu West, Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Suva and Ovalau,” Rev Sepiuta said.

“As of May 26, following the last batch of distributions, 181 families have been assisted via food vouchers/food rations.”

This included communities of worship centres and parishes in Viti Levu West (50), Suva and Ovalau (111) plus Vanua Levu and Taveuni (20).

She said the office continues to receive COVID-19 assistance forms from the parishes.

“We will seek the guidance of our reps on the AMB and the funds received for this appeal will be used for the purpose of food vouchers and rations to those seeking assistance during this time,” she added.

The Diocese acknowledges the kind assistance and initiative of the Anglican Missions Board in New Zealand and RB Patel for its kind offer of assistance in the availability of voucher.

The Climate Change focused development programme of the church seeks to build resilience in Church communities using the CIVA (Community Integrated Vulnerability Assessment (CIVA) and Quality Geo-Imaging Software (QGIS)) toolkit.

“It allows the church to be proactive in its engagement in building resilience of its parishes and surrounding communities,” Mr. Fe’iloakitau Kaho Tevi, advisor on climate resilience for the Church, said.

Meanwhile, the Diocese sent out a team to visit members around the country during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“The purpose of this trip was to visit and talanoa with the priests in charge and if possible, some lay people in the parishes down in Viti Levu West, especially to gather information on the impact of the global pandemic COVID-19 on our church communities,” Rev Sepiuta said.

“The priority focus was given to Viti Levu West Mission Unit as most of the Fiji’s economy export, sugar cane and tourism is mainly from the Western part of Fiji.”

Parishes visited included the The Church of the Good Shepherd, Sigatoka town; St Stephen’s Worship Centre, Yalava;   St Francis of Assisi Worship Centre, Nadrala; St Christopher’s Anglican Church, Nadi town; St Peter’s Anglican Church, Lautoka City; Church of the Holy Spirit, Ba town.

Parishioners have suffered through loss of jobs and reduced work hours.

“Because of this, people are now looking for jobs, subsistence farming of vegetables and root crops, semi-subsistence fishing for family and income earning, and bartering system e.g. bartering labour and skill for groceries,” Rev Sepiuta added.

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