by Hannah Hicks
 
"Don’t (just) look at me as a woman, look at me as an advisory councillor, look at my role. says Urmila Prasad, the 52 year community work who is the advisory councillor for the communities of Wairuku, Cuicui, Narewa and Vitawa in Rakiraki.
For over 22 years, she has been an active contributor to her community including as a member of the Wairuku Mothers Club and a volunteer as the country coordinator for ‘A Girl and Her World’ – which has helped support 76 girls access and complete their schooling.
For her, peace and security means ensuring there’s food on the table, proper shelter to house your family – and not living in tents.
For her communities, peace and security are far from being realised as 244 households are still rebuilding their lives since TC Winston (February 2016) and priority she says is resources to ensure health services are available, accessible and affordable.
“My recommendation (for the) National Development Plan is to increase the budget allocation to the Ministry of Health so that medical services can be improved in Rakiraki,” she stressed.
A dedicated first-responder, during last week’s TC Ella warning, she was fielding Women's Weather Watch updates to her community as well as other advisory councillors, there are still challenges with promoting preparedness. However, she was concerned that there was complacency.
“The information is there but they are thinking this time the hurricane will not come to Rakiraki,” she shared.
That is why, Prasad believes that there must be equality in representation in all decision making levels, whether at the local community, district and even national and in order to be successful in these roles that women take up she knows the support from their homes and families need to be strong.
“Women should be included in decision-making because most of the work is done by women and even at homes too - the women do the budgeting.”