Faranisese Ratu


Role: Inaugural President, Fiji National University Nasinu Tailevu Students Association
Active in country: Fiji
DTP Program: Business, Human Rights, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Pacific: A Civil Society Capacity Building Program, 2018

“Just learning from the program has enlightened my perception on laws on land and the sea. I have become more ambitious… and I have also mapped out the goals I have for my future and of course how it can contribute to sustainable environment and advocating for indigenous rights.”

Faranisese Ratu is currently a law student at the Fiji National University (FNU). As a young, Indigenous law student, her passion lies with good governance and ensuring that policies of the land are made for the people. She is passionate about a lot of issues that greatly affect all the people of Fiji particularly on indigenous rights and land and environment laws.

Following Faranisese’s participation in the DTP Program, she was selected by the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth to be one of the 2018 Class of Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals at the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly. Faranisese spoke at a side event of the General Assembly where she made a call-out to bigger nations to ensure that when businesses/companies come from their countries to Pacific countries, that they ensure they are not destroying local environments and the living things on the land and under water. She also made demands on these states to ensure that good business practices are put in place and to place harsh penalties on any of their companies that come to harm the Pacific and Fiji.

Faranisese has founded and worked for a number of NGOs and student associations. She was the President for Youths for Integrity since its formation in 2013 under Transparency International, Fiji Chapter. In 2015, she founded Youths Against Corruption (YAC-Fiji) building an organisation that was more independent, youth led and youth inspired and having the freedom to work with all stakeholders and not be restricted. They have worked with stakeholders such as the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption to talk to young people about good governance, laws and policies and the different forms of corruption that young people and professionals are usually never aware of.

In response to the devastating floods in 2014 that hit the Solomon Islands, Faranisese founded the Mannah Foundation-Fiji, a platform whereby people can donate to the less fortunate. NGOs, rugby clubs and people from as far as Lautoka donated clothes, household items and water sanitizers to the flood-affected communities. Through this platform, the Foundation has also sent five gifted children who cannot afford art classes for an art workshop.

Faranisese also formed a provincial student association at FNU – Fiji National University Nasinu Tailevu Students Association - and is its inaugural President. Through the Association students and university students work together and can be enlightened on certain human rights issues. Young students who have never attended any kind of workshop on human rights, leadership skills, entrepreneurship workshops are able to attend such programs under this network in school. The network was invited by Fiji’s Ministry of Youth and Sports to participate in country’s first ever national youth conference last year.

Knowledge is power, and learning and knowing a few things taught at this training is definitely one of the key ingredients to advocating and eventually making better decision for the future.”

Faranisese was also one of the speakers at a student-run FNU International Women’s Day event.

DTP has empowered me and encouraged me to keep striving for better grades... This program has renewed my passion to not only advocate but to really ensure that in the future, responsible laws and policies are put in place for a sustainable future for all on both the land, environment and the sea. As a future leader of tomorrow, I find that this program has renewed my passion for making a difference in the future for my Fiji and of course the Pacific.”

 

Profile written May 2019.