A well functioning market economy needs educated consumers with the power to influence the market through their rational decisions when confronted with choice. An informed consumer will also be protected from trade and business-related exploitation. Its therefore important to create an increased level of awareness on consumer rights and these consumers has to be educated about rights and responsibilities through concerted publicity and awareness campaigns. Council’s Campaigns, Information and Media Division conducts a number of education and awareness programmes for consumers in Fiji. These are:
Mobile units are cost effective means by which the Council can reach out to consumers who would otherwise not be able to access its services due to distance or transportation costs. The mobile units ensure that Council services are accessed directly thus increasing its reach and footprint. Council also conducts market surveillance and trader visits in the respective areas where the information booths are set up.
Council places a lot of importance on school visits as schools are fertile ground for molding the minds of future consumers. Hence we conduct several school visits each year either on the request of school principals or teachers or through self initiative to share the knowledge and information on consumer rights. An important message often used during our school visits is the use of special DVD on “Say No to Junk Food-Making Parents Responsible in Fiji”. The DVD included statistics on child obesity and clips on school canteen practices with messages targeting schools, children and parents. The growing market products, services and advertising aimed at the young consumers make consumer education in the formal schools all the more necessary. We also use school visits as an opportunity to distribute brochures on “How to read your electricity and water bills” to parents via their children during these schools visits.
The Council’s visits allow accessibility of its services and in particular important information to local communities. The visits provide an opportunity to rural communities, villages, women’s groups, other similar groups to acquire new or existing information and also have an opportunity to redress. Also the visits allowed consumers who are constrained by literacy issues, to get a better understanding of the Council’s work and their consumer rights and responsibilities, in a user-friendly language as these are conducted in an informal setting. The Community visits have allowed the Council to extend its services to communities disadvantaged by distance.
Over the years Council has partnered with several organizations such as the Department of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education, Fiji National University, Catholic Women’s League, the Fiji Disabled People’s Association etc to conduct workshops on various consumer topics and issues. The topics covered in these workshops have moved from the role of the Consumer Council, consumer rights and responsibilities, towards emerging problems that consumers face in their day to day living.
To make requests for mobile unit, school visit, community visit or a workshop- please contact the Campaigns, Information and Media Division of the Council on 3300792 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org