Friday, November 10, 2006
Coupes not coups - local control of a forest in Drawa
Coupes not coups – local control of Drawa, a forest in Vanua Levu
Drawa is a forested area in the middle of Vanua Levu which cross the border of Macuata and Cakaudrove. A project is under way that gives voice and control to land and forest to the local clans of this place. There are six main villages of residence for Drawa mataqali members and their households. Two villages - Drawa and Vatuvonu, are located within the model area; another two - Keka and Lutukina, are in the periphery of the area and, located away (north) from the model area, are Batiri and Nayarailagi villages. A discussion on the project can be found here.
‘The following specific objectives for the plan are representations of concerns and needs arising from participatory appraisals and surveys carried out in and outside the model area.
1. Ensure a continuous timber supply from the production forest areas for the benefit of present and future generations
2. Select agriculture sites and systems based on environmental, social and economical requirements
3. Clearly and formally delineate agriculture sites to better address land use needs and enable effective monitoring of land use activities
4. Determine income generating activities which has minimum detrimental impact on forest resources
5. Strengthen women in their role as primary household providers through crop diversification (at subsistence level)
6. Diversify into cash crops that are economically viable, environmentally suited, and contributes to general well-being
7. Identify market opportunities
8. Evaluate customary agriculture systems and existing husbandry and management practices for improvement towards soil conservation and land sustainability
9. Protect threatened and vulnerable plants, historical sites, and cultural artefacts
10. Establish a land use monitoring structure which actively involves the landowners
A young guy, Michael Wilczek writes of his part in the Drawa project. My time in Fiji
24 Feb 2006
Visiting the GTZ Project, Vanua Levu
In the second month of my internship I was able to visit the project of the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) in Drawa, Vanua Levu (second largest Island in Fiji). The GTZ project is about a community managed forest area, which includes awareness rising and training concerning sustainable forest management. Most of the Inhabitants have understood that they should conserve the forest for the next generation.
The people in the Drawa area are doing this by wisely cutting only specific trees (old enough and well sellable) and they are generating more income. In addition the people living in the project area are involved in every step of the programme fulfilling the social component of the concept of Sustainability. All the activities focus on sustainable development.
The Drawa area is situated in the middle of Vanua Levu. In contrast to the coastal areas this location is blessed with endless and dense forests and deep, clean rivers. A real paradise, too!
Drawa VillageMy trip started with a flight from Suva to Labasa (Fiji’s fourth-largest town with 25,000 inhabitants) in a small plane with 15 seats. In Labasa I was picked up by Jalesi, the GTZ Project Manager. We drove a long way to get to Drawa Village. We used the new road built in cooperation with the GTZ: a rough and stony road through the forest. Before that road was build the village could only be reached by using horses or on foot.
The village is directly situated by a river. Whenever it gets too hot or you want to take your morning shower you just jump into the river! The people and especially the kids were wonderful and showed me all the hidden secrets of the village, like the Heralding Stone, that was used to call people together in former times or the ‘Pully’, a bucket that enables you to get water out of the river without going down the hill.
The next village we visited was Batiri. We did our Sevusevu (welcome ceremony) where I presented a traditional thatched mat to the chief of the village. Because of a funeral lots of visitors were there. To show our respect we went into the house of the wife who’s husband past away and joined many women crying.
This was a weird moment, because some of the women were crying out loudly (Fijian tradition) and in the other moment they talked to me normally. After meeting the family I stayed with I was surprised about the well organized ‘catering’. They fed about 100 people nearly at the same time.
Keka VillageThe last village I went to was Keka Village, a small village far from the main road. This site is not completely integrated in the project right know, but they are willing to join. After a few bowls of Kava and a talk with the chief I watched the kids swimming in the river and jumping from a bridge. The sweets I brought were loved by the children and so they surrounded me watching my camera and telling me their names. We didn’t spent the night there and I went back to Labasa that day.
My WorkIn the first days we visited the forest. Jalesi showed me the trees that are going to be cut. They are marked with numbers and Bands. The hike was amazing! The dense forest seems to be endless and shows a wonderful variety of plants and animals..
I was also able to do some work for WWF: I made some new contacts with teachers in Vanua Levu for the WWF School Climate Witness Project. In Labasa I went to the ministry of education and picked up a list of all schools that would be very helpful to the work of the Peace Corps Volunteers, who are going to do activities in the schools. The activities include a presentation to explain Climate Change and a survey that helps the kids to interview their grandparents about changes in nature they have noticed.