Following the series of integrity-strengthening workshops around anti-corruption on the island, the UN Pacific Regional Anti-corruption (UN-PRAC) team in partnership with the Niue Chamber of Commerce (NCC) held its Women Entrepreneurs Anti-Corruption 2022 workshop on Wednesday this week at the Scenic Matavai Resort Conference Room in Tamakautoga.
According to a UNDP press release issued on Wednesday, “the workshop offers practical guidance on what constitutes corruption in Niue, what laws and institutions are used to prevent and fight corruption, and who entrepreneurs can ask for help, in line with international best practices found in the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and Sustainable Development Goal 16.”
BCN News was able to speak with Samoa’s Assistant Resident Representative for UNPRAC Christina Mualia Lima yesterday afternoon who shared the importance of the two-day workshop.
“This is one of the mandates under UNDP, specifically under the UNPRAC project…it’s basically for advocacy and awareness around right to information, what it means, getting that understanding across not only governments but private sector and all citizens alike on the importance of accessing relevant information that is required.”
Also yesterday was a similar workshop targeted for young and youth entrepreneurs.
Facilitated by Esther Pavihi on behalf of NCC and UNDP’s Anti-corruption Consultant John Hyde, there was a great turnout to the workshops from both the women and youth entrepreneurs.
Speakers for the youth workshop included Solicitor General Justin Kamupala, DG of Social services Gaylene Tasmania, DG of Ministry of Natural Resources Dr. Josie Tamate and the Chairperson of the Public service commission Ida Talagi-Hekesi, who is also the former NCC President.
Christina told BCN News that the workshop also enhances the capacity for women and youth entrepreneurs to safe-guard their businesses with anti-corruption processes.
“It’s assisting them to be aware of certain corruption practices that they may encounter and may identify while they are progressing with their businesses and also assisting and strengthening those internal control mechanisms.”
“There is no limit to what type of things we consider under the corruption banner but it’s trying to ensure that processes are undertaken in its correct manner but at the same time the way that we engage the entrepreneur or clients that we are doing it with integrity and everything is ethical.”
An important key aspect of the workshop is to develop a tool kit for women entrepreneurs in combating against corruption practices, says Christina.
“One clear challenge is understanding right from wrong as well as understanding what laws and policies are in place and how people can actually apply that to the work that they do everyday. And who they can go and contact if they experience or if they actually witness those types of corruption practices.”
“I think these discussions are very healthy to be undertaken specifically for us Pacific island nations. There’s a lot of cultural practices that we undertake that sometimes we don’t consider them as corruption-related practices but I suppose having that perspective from another angle will then assist or enhance the way people do businesses and at the same time also give awareness to the clients that when they do come to entrepreneurs or anyone for help that they also need to consider these perspectives,” says Christina.
UNDP is committed to supporting the Niue government for its rights for information agenda, says Christina.
“Whilst we would like to develop or fully developed entrepreneurs tool kit, we know it will take some time. We know it will be something that we will be launching in the near future once it’s fully developed.”
“This tool kit will also be translated into the Niuean language just to ensure that everyone has a thorough understanding of what the tool kit entails and how it guides women and also men entrepreneurs on specific assistance that they may require within anti-corruption in their anti-corruption sphere,” says Christina.
The youth entrepreneurs anti-corruption workshop held yesterday saw a good engagement from the youth especially those who are part of the NCC Youth Entrepreneurs program.