Fiji is considered an upper-middle income country however just over a third of its population - about 250,000 people - live below the national poverty line. Along with most other Pacific island countries, Fiji is extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change and natural disasters. It is one of the 20 countries in the world with the highest average annual disaster losses by gross domestic product, according to the World Bank.
Australia's aid to Fiji helps people overcome poverty by improving access to quality education, strengthening primary health services and building resilience and economic opportunities in disadvantaged communities.
Australian Volunteer program priorities in Fiji include providing teacher trainers, curriculum developers, specialist teachers and health workers to improve services for people with disabilities. Other priorities are supporting sustainable development of community-based livelihoods and improved policy and service delivery through government and civil society organisations. Volunteers may also help address the impacts of climate change and encourage a broad understanding of disaster management and disaster risk reduction.
Lautoka is Fiji's second largest city and is located on the island of Viti Levu, 24 kilometres north of Nadi. According to the latest census, conducted in 2007, Lautoka has a population of approximately 53 000. It is centred on the sugar industry and has a full range of shops, a cinema, and offers easy access to national parks and trips to the Yasawa and Mamanuca island groups.
Savusavu is a fast growing town and is considered to be the tourist centre in the north. Savusavu is located on the second biggest island in Fiji and has all basic amenities available. Savusavu has a beautiful bay and is a dream destination for most tourists arriving in Fiji.
Suva is the capital of Fiji and is also considered the hub of the South Pacific due to its size, infrastructure and facilities. Suva is home to the United Nations Pacific Regional offices and also hosts a number of other regional organisations' headquarters. The city has been influenced by the people and cultures of many others countries in the region. Suva is a major commercial centre with regular public transport, medical services, educational facilities and tourist sights.
Suva is consistently warm and tropical throughout the year. The city is highly multi-cultural and many different varieties of food are available. The city is also host to a range of festivals, including the region's biggest carnival, the Hibiscus Festival, which is held in August.