Members of Market Vendor Associations were urged to be duly represented in provincial, city and municipal councils to make their voices heard.

This was the message delivered by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fiji, Professor Shaista Shameem, during the International Rural Women’s Day celebration organized by the Lautoka Market Vendors Association on Friday.

Professor Shameem stressed that a completely new world order was needed to provide support and comfort to market vendors who have sacrificed so much to enable people in office jobs to put food on the table for their own families on a daily basis.

“City and town councils should take a close look at whether the equipment and facilities provided to market vendors were adequate in terms of sanitation, a supply of drinking water, a place where they could make their own tea and good food. -be as they spent long hours in the market providing vegetables and fresh produce to the public,” she said.

“For many years, women market vendors saw themselves as key agents of change in the fight against rural poverty, hunger and malnutrition, but no one else seemed to be giving them the support they needed.

“Ad hoc policies that affected their representation in civic life were implemented without sufficient and meaningful consultation.”

She urged the Lautoka Women Vendors Association to lead the way in calling for their proper representation on town councils so that their working lives could improve as they took on the responsibility of feeding families in Fiji on a daily basis with profitable and nutritious products, sacrificing their own needs along the way.

Professor Shameem said a new movement was being launched, called Design for Life, which aimed to rebalance the world, ensure resilience in all aspects of life and actively plan regeneration and rebirth for life. ‘coming.

“The movement had people, places and the planet as its core values.

“That was the movement that the University of Fiji was encouraging among civil society groups.”

She also noted points raised earlier this year at a Labasa Women Vendors workshop, where vendors and attendees said they needed price checks for vegetables from vendors.

This included better roads and infrastructure for easier access to markets, consultations prior to passing laws affecting their work as market vendors, especially laws on adequate representation of provinces, cities and town councils , access to appropriate and comprehensive information from authorities, ramps in markets and other public places for people with disabilities and older women.