Sharing knowledge for stronger communities

As part of the Climate Resilience Islands programme, communities are participating in an Indigenous knowledge leadership programme (IKLP), which has been developed to strengthen traditional practices and knowledge systems across the Pacific. The IKLP is inspired by the learning methodology of Tuakana/Teina in Aotearoa New Zealand and aims to underpin the community resilience planning process.

Recently workshops were conducted in the communities of Valeni, Dreketi, Laucala and Nawailevu on the island of Vanua Levu in Fiji’s north.

In Valeni, elders and Indigenous knowledge holders taught young men of the community how to make Kato ni Uvi (farming baskets for yams), which in the past were an important component of food security. The community chief of Valeni, the Turaga na Masi Tubulevu, has been observing a decline in the youth’s adoption of traditional practices in their approach to farming and community living, but he expressed his gratitude to the youth of the community for their willingness to learn about their Vanua (land). He hopes that after the training the young leaders will continue to practice their traditional customs.

In Nawailevu, the traditional practice of weaving is very much thriving, and Indigenous knowledge experts also demonstrated knowledge of weaving mats and crafts to the young people of the community.

In Dreketi, as well as traditional basket weaving for yam harvest, there was a demonstration of the importance of Solesolevaki, a Fijian practice of solidarity and sharing workloads, which is important for intergenerational responsibility and understanding in any village. Working together will be a crucial part of future resilience through adaptation to climate pressures.

Upon completion of IKLP workshops, communities have been excited and interested in how the next delivery phase of the CRI programme will unfold. Indigenous and Western systems are coming together to inform and develop community climate resilience plans, and young people are playing key roles in this process.

‘I was praying for a long time to be given an opportunity to share my vast knowledge for the old ways to the young ones here in my village before I go. I am grateful and appreciative for you bringing this programme to our village,’ said Mr Eroni Drodrolagi, a 75-year-old Indigenous Knowledge holder from Laucala.

The IKLP programme is currently being delivered across Fiji and will soon commence implementation across all CRI locations in Vanuatu.

Climate Resilient Islands is a New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade initiative, implemented by Live & Learn Environmental Education, with funding provided by the New Zealand Government.

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