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A symbolic gift and continued connection

6 July 2020

In June the Fiji team went door knocking, delivering food staples in a show of support to residents in RISE informal settlements. Packs of flour and sugar are a symbolic gesture of goodwill for community members, and the visit was also an opportunity for some socially distanced but vital in-person connection between the team and residents.

It is the first time the Fiji team has seen residents in-person since RISE paused community activities more than three months ago.

The visit and gift drop come after a phone check-in program in June revealed that the impacts of COVID-19 have left many Fijian families in desperate need of support. Speaking to almost 400 RISE households, the team found that one-third of households have had their livelihoods directly impacted due to COVID-19-related economic conditions; almost one in 10 households reported finding it difficult to meet their basic foods needs, and are struggling to live day-by-day; and unemployment was perceived as the most pressing problem for residents in informal settlements.

With each point of community connection, the team has been gaining a better understanding of the impact of the pandemic in Fiji’s informal settlements, and RISE is committed to helping include informal settlement voices in resilience planning efforts.