People in Yalobi have more sustainable access to waterDec 23, 2015
(Waya Island, Fiji) - The people of Yalobi village in Yasawa Islands applauded with excitement when clean, fresh water was pumped from a hose connected to a newly set up borehole.
The borehole was established in the farmyard in Yalobi village in the south west island of Waya in Western Fiji, which the Vatunareba Youth Club has been cultivating.
Eparama Laba, a youth worker of Vatunareba Youth Club, said, “We face difficulties getting enough water from the well we have. Water level are low in dry season so it affects our farms. We expect the borehole will ease the water shortage and enable us to maintain our farm and improve livelihoods in the village.”
The opening of the borehole in Yalobi village this week was officiated by Maca Tulakepa, Fiji’s Deputy Secretary for Corporate Services and Planning in the Ministry of Agriculture on 17 December in Yalobi village, on the Island of Waya.
“The Ministry of Agriculture will provide continuing support to strengthen disaster management and conservation agriculture practices in the village. I urge the people of Yalobi to work together and continue your good work,” said Mrs Tulakepa in her opening remarks.
The Vatunareba Youth Club is among the successful community groups of women, youth and cooperatives, who started vegetable farming with support from the Ministry of Agriculture and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Akiko Fujii, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in Fiji, in her opening remarks, congratulated the Youth members for their achievement.
“I am very pleased to witness the result of your hard work and strong commitment over the last two years. I am convinced that your determination to carry it on with your knowledge and skills you gained is the source of sustainability and resilience,” the Deputy Resident Representative in Fiji added.
She explained the borehole will contribute to secure more sustainable and water supply to people in Yalobi village.
“I would like to encourage the Vatunareba Youth Club members to continue your efforts, expand with your innovative ideas and lead the entire community and neighbours to strengthen sustainability and resilience,” she added.
Experiencing the impact of severe flooding in early 2012 and Cyclone Evan later in the same year, the Project, Enhancing Livelihood Recovery through Improving Food Security in the Aftermath of Natural Disasters in Fiji started in 2013 targeting 38 community groups to sustain their recovery efforts and build resilience with particular focus on farming as a livelihood option as well as a way to increase food security.
“Our 30 members work on the farm every Wednesday. Before participating in the project, the Club’s farming activities were limited to mostly producing root crops and some vegetables like cabbages,” Mr Laba, the Vatunareba youth worker explained.
“We became part of the project two years ago and expanded our farm producing more vegetables like tomatoes, corns, French beans, eggplants and many more. The produce is shared with the villagers and sold to the school and a nearby resort.”
“Our next target is to have solar energy so that our village will have easier access to electricity and go more sustainable. We aim to be resilient and sufficient by our own,” added Mr Laba.
The Project also supports many of the groups in the Western part of Fiji prone to dry weather.
In the course of the project implementation, it has been identified that constant and sufficient water supply to the farms has been a challenge to sustain agriculture and livelihoods of the communities.
To address the challenge, the project was extended to provide additional support to 10 community groups among 38 participating groups in the project, who have been in continuing progress in their farming venture and promising for further development of their farming. The support aims to enable the 10 groups to sustain their activities by themselves after the project ends.
“In participating in this project, we the youth members, felt our voices were being heard and we were empowered. With the skills in agriculture and financial management we have gained through training the project provided, we are able to build sustainable farms,” said Reapi Bulivakarua in her speech in the opening ceremony on behalf of Vatunareba Youth Club and the village.
The Project supports the Government of Fiji’s Humanitarian Action Plan prepared after Cyclone Evan and supports the rehabilitation plan outlined in the Post Disaster Needs Assessment. It identified the need to strengthen the area of food security and support the re-establishment of livelihoods for communities that continue to suffer extensive damages after a natural disaster.
Misau Fasala, Fiji’s Deputy Secretary for the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management said, “this day marks a significant achievement and event in the history of this place and what we have all borne witness to today is a direct reflection of what is stated in Chapter 2 of our Constitution, the Bill of Rights and that is the right to adequate food and water.”
The project is implemented by UNDP in partnership with Fiji's Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, and the National Disaster Management Office.
Tomoko Kashiwazaki, UNDP Communications and Advocacy Officer, tel: 3227 760; email: firstname.lastname@example.org