The first recorded use of Psychological First Aid in Fiji was in 2012, post TC Evans. TC Evan was a category 3 severe tropical cyclone, that impacted Fiji, Wallis and Futuna, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga and New Zealand.
Since then there has been many a natural disaster of landslides, flooding, cyclones, hurricanes, and public health emergencies such as the COVID19 pandemic.
This Fiji contextualized manual was initially drafted for CANDO partners as a result of the work done by the humanitarian arms of the various Christian denominations. However as the work progressed it became evidently clear that the training was needed for all responders, and not only Christian responders, and as such, the Christian component has been added as an Annex to this manual, whilst the entire manual is relevant and can be used to train all first responders in Fiji.
The primary objective of this manual is to train all first responders in line with
National Humanitarian Policy to :
(d) Conduct a national train- the - trainer program to progressively ensure that all communities have access to adequate local psycho-social assistance.
(o) To enhance recovery schemes to provide psychosocial and mental health services for all people and children, including children in need.
Priority 4: Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction.
National and Local levels: 33 (O)
To enhance recovery schemes to provide psychosocial and mental health services for all people in need.
Responders after being trained in PFA using this national standard, are expected to respond to affected individuals through lenses that are gender sensitive, gender neutral are to be used as applicable, disability inclusive – mental, physical, mental disabilities as well as sensory impairments, practices Principles of Do No Harm, Informed Consent, Confidentiality; that recognizes that individuals, families and communities have changing needs, particularly during a crisis situation, and that being able to respond in a manner that ensures the required services and support mechanisms are offered to those in need within the confines of Fijian legislation, guidelines, policies, protocols and SOP where applicable,
As First responders, the main task is to respond using the Principles of PFA without prejudice, discrimination and within your competency and abilities. First responders and PFA trained individuals representing organizations must have Codes of Practice and Codes of Ethics that they abide by, and if these Codes are compromised, disciplinary action within each responding organization must be instituted and protocols adhered to.
The training manual will be reviewed every two years to ensure that it remains relevant.