Pritanshu was a town planning officer at Nasinu Town Council. She is an advocate for educating the community on local governance and issues squatter settlements.
‘Nothing is impossible, Planning is not impossible. I am an example of what women can achieve in a male dominated arena.’
I hold a Degree in Environmental Science, a Certificate of Planning from The Institute of Australia, currently studying at USP for a degree in Land Management. As a town planner my work involves assisting in the preparation of town planning schemes, developmental control, rezoning, subdivision, conditional development and advisory services, and other duties delegated by manager engineering.
I wish to complete my degree in Land Management and then pursue a Masters degree in urban development studies from an overseas University and then eventually emigrate. There is not too much scope for my profession and I wish to achieve a lot more in my career.
Joining local government
I served as an attaché in Nadi Rural Authority for 11 months. My work involved building inspections, subdivision, rezoning. I also worked for the Ministry of Health, Town and Country planning as a technical assistant for 6 month. All these work experiences gave me inspiration and confidence to apply to Nasinu Town Council as planning officer.
A major benefit of working in local government is that I get a lot of opportunity for training. I am the only planning officer and the only one in my field so I get the first chance. I also get exposure at management level to present reports and this is great for building self confidence.
What I find interesting but challenging, is how council functions. People have difficulty in taking instructions from a woman and people get annoyed so they are quick to lodge complaints about compliance issues. However, I am assertive and insist on following the rules. It takes some ratepayers a while to understand that rules cannot be broken at whim.
I feel a sense of accomplishment when people understand the reasons behind certain Town Planning issues. I have also done thorough research and gathered enough information to start work on the Nasinu town planning scheme. I have also been a part of the development of the Planning section which processes all zoning applications and business licenses as per town planning Act. I am glad to be part of the change.
I see a real need to prioritise education and awareness of the community on local governance. A good example is how the squatter community is growing in our country – the community has to understand the legal implications and why Council has to administer within specific rules.
Word of Advice
Local Government gives women an opportunity to develop professionally and also work with the community. It also encourages women at furthering their career. I would advise and encourage women to take on town planning as a career.