Destructive.  Ruinous. Disastrous. How can the Covid effects to communities in Fiji be expressed adequately? 
Rotary Fiji (Rotary and Rotaract clubs of Fiji) have long experience with organising a robust Rotary response to crisis in Fiji, usually around weather events such as cyclones.  However, Rotary Fiji is working meticulously on a daily basis to provide assistance to those communities and families hardest hit. They are achieving great things, but really need as much support as our Rotary family can offer to help those hardest hit.
Covid-19 is spreading rapidly in Fiji and the number of communities (urban and rural districts /villages) facing strictly enforced restrictions on movement is growing.  The impact of the people affected is enormous with many losing their employment or having their ability to work at present restricted or suspended.  For those in the tourism sector the effects are severe as employment has virtually ceased to exist, but even for those working the land producing the crops their ability to earn an income is severely impacted as restrictions often mean they cannot get their crops to market. Many, too many, families are finding things difficult beyond just a lack of food such as a family now living in a makeshift shed after not being able to pay their rent.
Rotary Fiji is a collaboration of all the Rotary and Rotaract clubs in Fiji.  This present Covid crisis response is being coordinated by Vineeta Nand (District Governor 9920 for 2023-2024) with clubs or clusters of clubs responsible for managing relief in pre-defined areas.  The club Presidents meet regularly via Zoom but a series of WhatsApp Groups have been established including:
  1. Rotary Fiji – to communicate among themselves
  2. Covid Assistance – for the community to request assistance
  3. Face Mask Working Group – more on this separately but this is to coordinate a substantial donation from NZ of N95 masks (now in-transit)
Here are a couple of snippets (edited) that illustrate the situation on the ground for those in need:
  • Family with 5 children including a new-born where the father has been unable to work for several months since the tourism sector closed down and they have no money left to buy food
  • An incident where a group stole rations from another family
There is a high level of cooperation and awareness among the various NGOs and groups, often church based, providing food and other essential assistance.  This ensures firstly that those receiving aid really do need it and that the aid is spread around on an equitable basis.  People needing assistance apply for that assistance and their application is assessed and approved, modified or declined.
Delivery of the aid can take various forms and here are some examples:
  1. Relief parcels are packed and delivered direct to the family
  2. The family receives a coupon that they can redeem to a set value at an appointed supermarket only
  3. Bulk supplies are delivered to, eg. a village committee, to distribute to those most in need
Rotary Fiji (ie. the clubs) identify reliable suppliers of food and other supplies (such as women’s hygiene products, baby products), preferably close to those requiring assistance. The value of relief parcels is generally limited to F$50 although in some special cases to F$100.  In addition to the food parcels there is coordination about accessibility to fresh food, often from the farm gate.
Support of the Rotary Fiji activities comes from a number of sources including from Rotary clubs.  An example is of the Botany Down Rotary (Auckland) fundraiser to support the activities of Rotary Suva Peninsula Sunset - - this was for baby essentials and women’s hygiene products for 200+ families. 
Alongside this relief activity, Rotary clubs are stepping up their projects in other related areas such as Days for Girls.  Also along with requests for relief come other pleas for assistance and Rotary is also helping out with these as they are able – sometimes directly and sometimes using their extensive network of contacts to refer people to appropriate aid/support.
Rotary Fiji has a sterling reputation for the efficient and effective management of funds and distribution of assistance precisely targeted to those in most need.  For this reason, Rotary Fiji has received several substantial donations from large corporates such as Westpac (F$30,000) who are currently working with Rotary to provide further assistance, and Fiji Water (F$50,000), plus assistance from corporates and individuals (such as Cure Kids).  However, the need is immense so much (much) more funding is needed and will be needed as the crisis continues.
If you would like more information and / or offer to assist/donate:  Vineeta Nand, Rotary Club of Suva,
If you would like to learn more about Rotary and clubs in Auckland and the Pacific (District 9920) call Beryl on (NZ) 021652802 or email
Example of Rotary Fiji publicity: