In support to women’s economic empowerment and building community resilience, ADB technical assistance project, TA9348: “Strengthening Women's Resilience to Climate Change and Disaster Risk in Asia and the Pacific,” partnered with Habitat for Humanity Fiji to provide women with carpentry skills that they can use to contribute and make decisions around shelter preparedness in their communities, as well as to access employment opportunities within historically a male-dominated construction industry.

Participants undertook both classroom and practical training, with graduates earning Certificates II and III in Construction, a recognized Australian qualification issued through Technical and Further Education (TAFE) Queensland. As part of practical training, 20 small climate-friendly and disaster-resilient houses were also constructed and provided to selected beneficiaries.


You saw the house, right? That house takes 15 people, 15 people to finish that house. But there were 11 of us, women. We were able to finish that house. And our teachers were even shocked that we could do that.

In 2020, 11 women participated and completed their Certificate 3 in Carpentry through the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC).

There's a long-held discussion around user-friendly design, right? So who is the biggest user? Like when we talk about homes in communities, in our rural communities, who is the biggest user? If you think about it: Who does the washing? Who cares for the sick? Who does the cooking? Who does the cleaning? It's women. But we never consult women when it comes to designing the house. And that needs to change. And that's what we believe here in Habitat. And to take it a step further, in order for that discussion to be constructive, intelligent discussion, we need to build the capacity of women to be able to speak in that sector, and to be able to become part of the decision-making process. And this training is one step in that direction.

This Certificate III Program was a follow-up to Certificate II Training the women were part of in 2018.

They had a brilliant experience. Their knowledge of what we've taught them before and after when they returned - it was a big difference. They’ve understood a lot of generic skills, a lot of calculations, a lot of live work simulations, and understanding the real work environment.

We learn about different kinds of houses. There, the house we're building right now, we started off with pitch roof. And it's very complicated, we have to do all these calculations in order to come up with pitch roof. We learned a lot, because here it's Australian standards. It's something out of what we normally do. It's very, very interesting to learn all these new things, particularly little things that need to be done in our house that is perfectly safe.

Habitat for Humanity Fiji's Women in Construction Project, implemented under Asian Development Bank's Green Jobs for Women technical assistance, was delivered in partnership with Australian Pacific Training Coalition who provided funding and technical support.

This demonstration project was designed to raise awareness and demonstrate the importance of vocational training and employment opportunities for women in the growing green economy. In line with the Asian Development Bank's commitment to address gender equality and climate change, the project also empowered women to contribute to the rebuilding of houses and their communities, thereby demonstrating another area where women can play a clear role in response and recovery. 

Our partnership with Habitat for Humanity is a testament that women can learn construction skills as well as men. 

I think it's opened to more job opportunities. My peers, some of them have already gotten job offers. At this very moment, there are two of us in Kandavu, at Dravuwalu, helping other villagers there build a bridge, which the school children will be using in order to get to school. So I say that it has been recognized, and they realize now that women are also able to do the work that is usually centered on men, mostly (done) by men.

Over the period of the Certificate II and III Programs, the women assisted with the build of 20 homes with separate toilets and bathrooms in Fijian communities vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

For students building a transitional shelter in one week, it is a good outcome. We were so happy to give back.  

The women have gone on to share their carpentry knowledge and skills within their own communities and families. 

To Fijian women out there who are willing to take up this course, take it. It's something that's gonna be useful not just for you, for your family, for your friends, for your neighbors. And there are wider, wider, wider employment doors that are open there. So go for it.