Mr. Setareki Seru Macanawai's Profile


1. Name : Mr. Setareki Seru Macanawai.

2. Current Occupation : Executive Director, Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons.

3. Nationality : Fijian.

4. Year Attended JICA Course : 1999.

5. Name of Organization : Fiji Disabled People’s Association.

6. Brief Outline of the Organization : Fiji Disabled Peoples Association (FDPA) is a national cross disability self help organisation of people with disabilities based in Suva, the capital of Fiji. This national disabled persons organization (DPO) currently has four affiliated organisations – Fiji Association of the Deaf, Psychiatric Survivor Association of Fiji, Spinal Injury Association of Fiji and United Blind Persons of Fiji. FDPA believes that all human beings regardless of their differences have an equal and inalienable right to health, education, employment, housing, transport, accessibility and all other opportunities available to the general population. To safeguard these rights the Association promotes the principal that people with disabilities must have a strong voice, representation in the decision making process at all levels on issues impacting on their lives. At present, people with disabilities are either not represented or under represented in all areas of policy development and decision making about issues which affect their lives.

FDPA is managed by a five member National Board of Officers at the executive level, and at the management/policy level by a National Board of Representatives comprising of Presidents of the four affiliated organizations, four branches of the Association and Chairpersons of its four Standing Committees. As a non-government organisation, FDPA receives minimal funding from the Department of Social Welfare every year and therefore depends on funding from the private sector and members of the community in Fiji for its day-to-day operational costs, as well as on overseas aid for project funding.

7. Activities Undertaken After Participating in the JICA Course : Listed below are some of the disability-related activities as well as other national, regional and international engagements I was involved in after undertaking the Leaders of Persons with Disabilities JICA Group Training Course in Tokyo, Japan in 1999.


  • September 03 2004 till present, Executive Director, Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons.
  • June 2004 – September 2005, Programme Advisory Group, Disability Knowledge & Research Project, DFID, UK.
  • November 2003 – April 2004, Assisted Consultants in presenting Review of Policy on Disability in the Pacific Region, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Suva, Fiji.
  • May 15 – 07 August 2002, engaged in an external collaboration contract with International Labour Organization (ILO) in the preparation of a country study (Fiji) to mark the end of the Asia and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (1993 – 2002).
  • March – October 2002, Co-Facilitator in Education Task Force Report, Regional NGO Network to mark the conclusion of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993 – 2002.
  • October – December 2001, course writer for Certificate in Disability Studies course, Distance and Flexible Learning Department, University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji.
  • March 2001 – August 2004, Head Teacher, Fiji School for the Blind. (Only special school for the blind in Fiji).
  • January 10 – March 30 2001, Project Committee Chairperson, Country Profile Study on People With Disabilities in Tonga and Fiji, JICA & FDPA Joint Project, Fiji.
  • May 2000 – February 2001, Officer Special Duties, Special Education Office, Ministry of Education, Fiji.
  • March – August 2000, Project Co-ordinator, Disabled Peoples International (DPI) Oceania Subregion Office, Suva, Fiji.


  • January 1 2005 – December 31 2006, Board Member, Labour Advisory Board, Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Productivity, Fiji.
  • September 2004 till present, Council Member, National Center for Health Promotion, Ministry of Health, Fiji.
  • June 2004 – September 2005, Programme Advisory Group Member, Overseas Development Group, Disability Knowledge and Research, DFID, London, UK.
  • December 2002 – 2005, Member, Health & Population Working Group, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat., Suva, Fiji.
  • September 2002 – 2005, Committee Member, Social and Development Working Group, Ministry of Finance & National Planning, Fiji.
  • July 2002 – 2007, Vice Chairperson, International Council for the Education of Vision Impaired Persons, Pacific Region.
  • March – October 2002, Education Task Force Co-Coordinator, Regional NGO Network on Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons.
  • August 2001 – December 2002, Chairperson, Oceania Disability Advisory Support Committee.
  • June 2001 – August 2004, Member, Education For All Forum, Ministry of Education Fiji.
  • June 2000 – March 2003, Council Member, Fiji National Council for Disabled Persons.
  • May 2000 – August 2004, President, Fiji Disabled People’s association.


  • August 1 – 4 2005, Resource Person, Pacific Workshop on Disability, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Nadi, Fiji.
  • July 27 – 28 2005, attended UNESCAP Regional Workshop on Regional Follow-Up to the 5th Session and Preparation for the 6th Session of the Ad Hoc Committee on the International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, Bangkok, Thailand.
  • May 16 – 27 2005, participated in Mainstreaming Disability and Development Course, Overseas Development Group, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.
  • December 13 – 17 2004, Resource Person, Asia/Pacific Regional Seminar on Capacity Building for Self-Help Organizations of Disabled persons, Hanoi, Vite Nam.
  • July 28 – 30 2004, Resource Person, Pacific Disability Forum, Nadi, Fiji.
  • June 18 2004, attended the Programme Advisory Group meeting on Disability Knowledge and Research, London, UK.
  • October 14 – 17 2003, attended the UNESCAP regional workshop on the elaboration of the proposed international disability convention. Bangkok, Thailand.
  • September 23 – 26 2003, participated in an Asia/Pacific regional workshop on Disability Data for Policy Use, Bangkok, Thailand.
  • September 5 – 20 2003, resource person at the Asia/Pacific regional workshop on Capacity Building for Self-Help Organization, Bangkok, Thailand.
  • June 2 – 4 2003, chaired UNESCAP Expert Group Meeting and Seminar on proposed International Disability Convention, Bangkok, Thailand.
  • January 13 – 17 2003, attended the South Pacific Educators of Vision Impairment biennial conference, Brisbane, Australia.
  • December 12 2002, presented paper on Education of Children With Disabilities, Pacific Islands Forum Education Ministers’ meeting, Suva, Fiji.
  • October 25 – 28 2002, participant and speaker at UNESCAP High-level Intergovernmental meeting to conclude the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993 – 2002, Otsu, Japan.
  • October 21 – 23 2002, participant and speaker at 12th Rehabilitation International Asia/Pacific Regional Conference and Regional NGO Network Campaign 2002, Osaka and Sakai, Japan.
  • October 14 – 18 2002, participant and speaker at DPI 6th World Assembly, Sapporo, Japan.
  • October 8 – 12 2002, attended DPI 8th Asia/Pacific Regional Assembly/Council Meeting, Shanghai, China.
  • September 20 – 26 2002, attended the Inclusion International 13th World Congress, Melbourne, Australia.
  • September 12 – 13 2002, represented disability NGOs to the 2002 National Economic Summit, Lami, Fiji.
  • August 19 – 21 2002, organized and resource person at the first National Leadership Training Seminar for Persons With Disabilities, Lae, Papua New Guinea.
  • July 27 – August 2 2002, participant and speaker at the International Council for Education of People With Visual Impairment (ICEVI) 11th World Conference, the Netherlands.
  • June 24 – 28 2002, participant and speaker at the 4th Session of the Thematic Working Group on Disability Related Concerns and Expert Group meeting on preparation for the conclusion of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993 – 2002, Bangkok, Thailand.
  • May 14 – 22 2002, attended the ESCAP 7th Special Body on Pacific Island Developing Countries and ESCAP 58th Session, Bangkok, Thailand.
  • December 15 – 19 2001, represented Fiji to the Campaign 2001 Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons Regional Meeting, Hanoi, Viet Nam.
  • October 29 – 31 2001, participated in the Pacific NGO Capacity Building Workshop, Nadi, Fiji.
  • October 22 – 25 2001, resource person at the National Disability Advocacy Workshop, Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
  • August 27 – 31 2001, organized the first ever DPI Oceania Subregion Leadership training Seminar, Port Vila, Vanuatu.
  • April 28 – 2 May 2001, participated in the South Pacific NZODA Disability Project, Nadi, Fiji.
  • April 9 – 11 2001, attended the DPI World Council Meeting, London, UK.
  • March 5 – 9 2001, resource person for National Disability Awareness Workshop, Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
  • November 14 – 19 2000, attended the 18th Regional Leadership Training Seminar, 7th Regional Assembly and Regional Council Meeting of DPI Asia-Pacific Region, Vientiane, Lao PDR.
  • September 27 – November 13 1999, attended the Leaders of Persons with Disabilities JICA Group Training Programme, Tokyo, Japan.


  • (2003). “Helping Blind People Access Education in Fiji” in Moving Forward Toward Decent Work for People With Disabilities. International Labour Organization. Bangkok.
  • (2002). Revision of Course 1 of Certificate in Disability Studies study programme, contracted by University Extension Department, University of the South Pacific.
  • (2001). Country Profile Study on People With Disabilities in Fiji and Tonga. A report submitted to Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) as sponsor of this study conducted by Fiji Disabled People’s Association, Suva, Fiji as consultant.
  • (2000). The Community and People With Disabilities. A topic book written to support Course 3 of the Certificate in Disability Studies course offered at the University of the South Pacific (USP) Continuing Education, Suva, Fiji.


  • February 2004. Led Fiji Disabled People’s Association to win the 4th Pacific Human Rights Award of the Regional Rights Resource Team, Suva, Fiji. For demonstrating exemplary initiative in promoting and advancing the human rights of people with disabilities in Fiji, and for outstanding work in empowering such persons to participate in decision making.
  • October 2002, 6th Kazuo Itoga Memorial Foundation Award, Otsu, Shiga, Japan. For outstanding contribution to disability development work in the Asian/Pacific Region.

8. Challenges Faced : Listed below are some challenges I faced while engaging myself in the above activities to sensitise relevant bodies and decision-makers at all levels on the needs, concerns and aspirations of disabled persons.

  • Members of my own Association (FDPA) are ignorant of the vision, purpose and functions of the organization. As a result, there was disunity, group solidarity and lack of ownership among the members.
  • Negative attitudes and lack of disability-awareness by members of society including policy/decision makers in Government and private sector.
  • Low priority given to disability-related issues in society generally.
  • Disabled persons are discriminated against and their basic human rights violated as well as not protected by law.
  • Absence of budgetary provisions on disability matters by national and local governments.
  • Disability not a priority within Government development agenda.
  • Disabled Persons Organizations lack effective advocacy, communication, technical, financial and networking skills to carry out their activities successfully, efficiently and responsibly.
  • Disabled Persons Organizations unable to mainstream disability issues into policies, plans and programmes of governments, private sector and civil society organizations. Disability organizations competing against each other and with other NGOs for funding assistance from same donor agencies, Government or other local sources.
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