Well-deserved Facility for Vendors


Ilisapeci Tuivale
Women market vendors from the Nausori Municipal Market are now able to have a proper and comfortable place to rest for the night at the market complex.
This was after the opening of the Nausori Market Women’s Accommodation Centre by the Australian Governor General David Hurley and the Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Faiyaz Koya.
Funded by the UN Markets for Change program, the project can house 80 women at once and cost $629,380.
Of the 1,179 vendors in the Nausori Market, 443 are women and 53 percent of these women are from the interior of rural areas of Fiji – mainly Tailevu, Naitasiri and Rewa, with some women coming from Rakiraki and Ba.
The United Nations Development Programme, UN Women and the women vendors themselves have been instrumental in the Markets for Change program.
“By providing accommodation, these women do not have to expend on transportation nor do they have to wake up in the wee hours of the morning only to spend their nights along the market corridor, bus stands or streets, waiting for the market to open the next day,” Minister Koya said.
The first-floor of the accommodation was equipped with a restroom area with special needs ensuite, shower facility, large dining area and two storage rooms.
It will also houses a large sleeping area of 142sqm that can also be used for trainings, workshops and consultations.
The ground floor has been made an open area that will be used to host vendors who were otherwise selling outside or from under temporary tents.
Three kiosks will also provide catering to help generate additional income, and there is an area dedicated to a vertical lift – creating flexibility to persons with reduced mobility.
Australian Governor General, David Hurley reminded the vendors of the importance of their role in their work environment and that the strength of a market is that it continues to forge close partnerships between stakeholders at all levels.
“Markets are critical to life in all countries. Markets operate efficiently when the vendors can arrive safely, deliver their goods, make their sale, retain their earnings, and be securely accommodated overnight if they require to be. That is critical, so to have this facility today, is a life changer for the women of the Nausori Market because it provides you with better health, safety and security outcomes,” Mr Hurley said.
Women accommodation centers for municipal markets are present in almost all major towns and cities including Suva, Sigatoka, Nadi, Namaka, Ba, Rakiraki and Labasa.