19th January 2015
The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) in collaboration with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) will introduce a first of its kind Town Hall Meeting or Talanoa Session between the Members of Parliament (MPs) and community members in Rakiraki, Lautoka and Labasa this week.
The two-day community engagement sessionsbetween the Fijian MPs and community members will provide an opportunity for about 180 Fijian citizens’ from the three districts to effectively lobby with their elected members of parliament, and for the MPs to be able to work well with the people.
CCF believes that it is important to have such interactions between Fiji citizens’ and MPs.
“This is the first time that community members and elected MPs representing all three political parties in Parliament are given the opportunity to listen and work together and CCF is excited to work with IFES and IRI to make this happen”, says Mr. Ken Cokanasiga, CCF’s Programme Manager.
“CCF is confident that this process is going to positively impact both the community members and the MPs and we hope that this kind of engagement between Government and its citizens’ continues throughout Fiji in the future,” Mr. Cokanasiga adds.
The first day of training will equip the participants on how to lobby their issues to Government, while six MPs – two each from Fiji First Party, Social Democratic and Liberal Party, and the National Federation Party – will discuss how to effectively aid communities with their grievance. On the second day, the community members will have the opportunity to engage and raise their issues with the MPs who in turn will respond.
Ms. Terry Ann Rogers, a consultant with IFES shares that they are delighted to work with CCF.
“Fiji had its first elections after seven years and it was a good election. Now parliament is sitting but people do not know how to lobby their government. The workshop with IFES and IRI with CCF are focusing on working with MPs about interfacing with the people and working with citizens’ so they know how to work with members of parliament,” Ms. Rodgers says.
All three urban areas will have a panel of six different MPs representing the three political parties in Parliament during the sessions.
Ms. Melissa Yeakley of IRI says the Talanoa sessions in Rakiraki, Lautoka and Labasa will be a good experience for the MPs and the citizen participants.
“We hope that all the political parties see the value of holding this discussion between elected officials and citizens. It is an important opportunity to talk with MPs about different strategies to engage with the citizens’ who elected them, as well as, for MPs to talk to the citizens’ and let them know what they are doing in parliament, and then also to hear feedback from the citizens’ and issues that are most important to them to help shape how parliament precedes before the next election,” she adds.
The meeting will be moderated by an independent consultant from IRI and a former Head of the Republican Party in Hawaii, Mr. Jess Yescalis.
The schedules for the Talanoa sessions are as follows:
- 19-20 January, Tanoa Hotel Rakiraki, Rakiraki
- 21-22 January, Waterfront Hotel, Lautoka
- 23-24 January, Labasa
For more information and/or clarification, please contact CCF Communications Officer, Nazeem Kasim on +679 3308 379 or email firstname.lastname@example.org