Mobilizing community to manage their natural
LäjeRotuma Initiative (LRI) is a community-based
environmental education and awareness development programme in Rotuma. LRI is a voluntary initiative
which encourage youth on the island to actively participate in activities
aimed at informing and strengthening the capacity of the island community
to make informed decisions on sustainable management of its natural resources.
LRI is part of a diverse network of the island communities, Rotuma Council,
government departments and ministries, donor agencies, institutions, conservation
non-governmental organizations, professionals of varied backgrounds that range
from energy, agriculture, business, environment, fisheries, diving and sustainable development.
Initiated by young people with a passion for their
home island, LRI has:
Trained young adults in both rural and
urban Rotuma communities and shared lessons
and experiences with Solomon Island university students about the facilitation
of community resource conservation at their own communities.
Provided opportunities for 5 island youth
to be certified PADI Open Water divers to enhance their capacity in basic scientific coral reef surveys
of Rotuma’s coral reefs. These trained divers have also been contracted
to assist in other marine surveys.
Enhanced the opportunity of volunteers
to acquire employment within the working network of partners.
Conducted baseline information surveys
to assess the economic, social, environmental
status of Rotuma Island and produced reports to be utilized by communities
in its development of management plans.
Enhanced the level of communication and
networking amongst island rural communities
and schools, government departments and Rotuma Council.
Represented in international youth exchange
programs, national meetings of significance to the Initiative and established contact with a diverse
set of partners that have provided support in-kind during LRI’s activities
since its inception.
Coordinated global events at the community
level such as the Earth Day celebrations on April 22.
Supported national and international initiatives
such as the Turtle Campaign and being part of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.
Received an award during the UN Volunteers
Secured varied level funding from aid agencies
such as AUSAID, British High Commission, PADI Foundation, GCRMN to support its education, awareness
activities at the community level.
LRI is distinctive in its nature
where young people have a vision to empower their communities, maximize
environmental and sustainable options for the future.
Plan of Action
LRI was initiated in February 2002 by a group
of young Rotuman adults committed to carrying out a community service by
providing environmental education and awareness to their rural island communities.
Rotuma is a 43 square kilometer Island with a population density of 61
people per square km (Fiji Census 1996). It is situated in the SW Pacific, about
465km North of Fiji. Rotuma‚ as a geographical isolate, with an economy
that is externally
influenced from mainland Fiji, illustrates the high dependence of an island
community on its natural resources. There is also limited access to information
options that are easily available to larger urban centers.
In its environmental education and awareness
development program, LRI intends to provide service to the island
rural community under the following programmatic themes:
Community Outreach includes 4 project activities
that range from the environmental education at schools, coordinated annual coastal
cleanups to facilitation of communities in the development of their
Building Community Resilience to Climate
Change includes 3 project activities that encompass a range of adaptation measures to
coastal erosion, monitoring of the health of reefs and climate witness
awareness activities which enhance island community's understanding
of potential impacts of global climate change on Rotuma Island.
Integrated Fisheries Management currently focuses
on revival of the traditional use of the canoe. Such tradition is fast disappearing,
replaced by the use of outboard motors and becoming totally dependent
on external supply of fuel and engine parts. This is an added cost
also foreseen to create an adverse impact on the island ecosystem
in terms of engine parts disposal and fishing intensity.
Sustainable livelihoods options are currently
being explored. According to baseline information collected by LRI, there is need for
alternative income options in order to persuade communities make informed
decisions on the development and proper management of their natural
Research and Capacity Building includes 3 project
activities that range from the experimental removal and reuse of the Kama, training
and internship opportunities for local youth and the potential research
of Rotuma's Flora and Fauna.
LRI acknowledges major partners: Rotuma
Island Council, Rotuman Member of Parliament, WWF, AUSAID, Marine
Studies Program, Institute of Marine Resources, SISA, University of the
South Pacific, GCRMN, Global GreenGrants Fund, British High Commission
Coral Cay Conservation, PADI Foundation, Project AWARE, SPREP, Ministry
WAC Theatre Unlimited, Rotuman Suva-7-Districts, Rotuma website, Rotuma Island Coordinator & Youth
PO Box 10816 Laucala Beach Estate, Suva, Fiji