SCEFI Emblematic Stories on Preserving Traditional Knowledge
The iTaukei communities of the Fiji Islands traditionally relied on “word of mouth” transmission of cultural identity, values and knowledge. The onset of modernity, however, no longer guarantees reliance on the home or community to transmit cultural and traditional knowledge. The intangible cultural heritage of various groups in many parts of Fiji is diminishing due to factors such as rural-to-urban migration and the lack of transmission from community elders to the younger generation. In 2015, young people in the island of Gau in East Fiji took action to revive their traditional knowledge and ways of life by organizing a one-week “Traditional Technologies Exposition”. This initiative, supported by UNDP’s Strengthening Citizen Engagement in Fiji Initiative (SCEFI), involved training of young people in 8 villages in Gau by volunteer experts on a range of traditional skills and activities. It raised awareness on the critical importance of preserving traditional knowledge and culture, and led to strengthening inter-generational relationships between young people and community elders.