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Our History

The organisation we now know as Partners in Community Development Fiji, is a product of the passion for development in the South Pacific espoused by Australian actress Elizabeth Bryant Silverstein and her American husband Maurice ‘Red’ Silverstein (MGM International President) in the early 1960s. This auspicious couple’s friendship with Australian Marist priest Stanley Hosie, who had previously undertaken catalyst for a new approach to community development in the Pacific. In June 1963, Mr. Silverstein arranged for Fr. Hosie to attend the inaugural World Food Congress hosted by J.F. Kennedy in Washington D.C – the first seeds were sown.

In 1965 Hosie and Silverstein founded the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific USA (FSPUSA). Central to the success of the newly founded FSPUSA was Fijian-based Susan Parkinson. Referred to by Verona Lucas as the ‘the grand old lady of nutrition’, the knowledge and expertise she had accumulated working for the South Pacific Health Commission since 1950 was critical in the early development of nutritional improvement programmes in Fiji and the Pacific. She was essential in the establishment of FSP in the Pacific and also in preparing the ground for a Fijian based NGO.

When FSPUSA received a grant from USAID in 1976 to study infant malnutrition in the Pacific, the first building blocks of what was to become the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific Fiji (FSPF) were laid. As a direct result of this grant, Verona Lucas, who remained Executive Director of FSPF until 2002, began her role as ‘Fiji Project Manager and Nutritionist’, with Susan Parkinson a valued consultant. In 1979 FSPF was born and began its mission to safeguard and develop the more vulnerable communities of Fiji. As Verona clarifies, “…Fiji [FSPF] was the first of the independent NGOs spawned out of FSPUSA”. The USA office went on to establish FSP affiliates in Samoa, Tonga and Papua New Guinea. Although these affiliates are now individually autonomous NGOs, along with Vanuatu, East Timor, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Republic of Palau and the Solomon Islands they remain partners of PCDF within in the broader FSPI network.

Since 1979, FSPF/PCDF has been a strictly independent NGO with donor funding as the only source of income. In 2002 FSPF entered a new era when Alisi Waqanika Daurewa, was appointed the first Fijian Executive Director and all FSPF operations were transferred to the main office and current home in the capital – 8 Denison Road, Suva on Viti Levu. On October 2nd 2002, the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific Fiji (FSPF) officially changed its operating title to Partners in Community Development Fiji (PCDF).

In 2012, Tevita Tauni Ravumaidama took over the Executive Director position and continues to lead the organisation to this day with his team of 22 staff, governed by the PCDF Board of Directors.

Click below to read more on PCDF/FSP history.

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