Civic Leaders for Clean Transactions Integrity Fiji
When Lautoka City was locked down due to the COVID-19 pandemic on 21 March, followed by Suva City on 3 April, many people especially youths, had only a vague idea of how the virus could spread and the ways it could be prevented.
While the Fijian Authorities did a superb job of providing advisories on smart phones, TV, radio and the print media on a regular daily basis, the information tended to be technical and couched in medical jargon.
Then more bad news arrived when Cyclone Harold devastated Fiji on 7 April. The Cyclone caused one death, dozens were injured and 2,000 left homeless.
To makes matters worse, fake news started circulating that 5G networks were the cause of our troubles!
Claire Johnstone, Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) member with delegated authory, came to the rescue. She posted two short YouTube videos produced for the New Zealand Police on our Youth For Integrity Facebook page. They were highly educational and very funny, providing information on COVID-19 in a more digestible format. We ‘boosted’ one of these educational videos and were happy with the 685 link clicks and ‘shares’ that resulted from it. Facebook data showed that 47,800 people had sighted the post.
Claire also had 'chats' with our young leaders. In one of her posts she said, “Wishing you all the best in these awful times of COVID-19 and the cyclone. One thing I wanted to share with you is there is some really silly information around that 5G is spreading COVID-19. If you hear that, please tell people that is wrong - humans transmit the virus so saying 5G does this is just plain stupid! Please encourage people to do their best to practice physical distancing and to stay away from large gatherings and wash their hands.”
TINZ CEO, Julie Haggie, was very helpful when we required background information on New Zealand's response to COVID-19.
One Kiwi acquaintance of CLCT Integrity Fiji (Civic Leaders for Clean Transactions), Suzanne Douglas of the NZ Police Force, based in Suva City, was widely reported on local media serving tea and refreshments to Police manning checkpoints on windy cold nights.
Douglas wrote to me that, “It was such a pleasure to meet so many dedicated police officers. Fiji police are doing an amazing job and are getting the recognition they deserve.”
The New Zealand Government has provided assistance to Fiji for Cyclone Harold Relief and COVID-19 interventions, to the value of $7.7million.
There has also been very positive discussions between Australia and New Zealand on Fiji joining the Trans-Tasman Tourism Bubble.
CLCT-Integrity Fiji is deeply grateful to TINZ for all its support during this challenging period.