Komave Visit a Success
The UniFiji USAID PACAM project team initiated their community outreach program at Komave Village.
The main purpose for the meeting was to present the findings of the thematic maps produced during the mapping exercise to the villagers, by conducting informal discussions with communities and the Nadroga/ Navosa Provincial Council thus, collecting data that would be useful in attuning the maps.
The UniFiji PACAM Project Manager, Anish Maharaj started off with the meeting by thanking the villagers for taking out their time and attending the meeting.
A presentation was done by UniFiji PACAM project team whereby the communities were briefed about the project, its objectives, and satellite maps for Komave, benefits from the project and its expected outcomes.
“Small groups were formed and in each group we had one Itaukei UniFiji staff/student, this enabled the participants to communicate well with the UniFiji PACAM project team. Each group was given a draft map and were requested to discuss and provide additional information such as fishing sites, picnic and extraction spots and waste disposal sites,” said Mr. Maharaj.
UniFiji PACAM project team informed the villagers to use the draft map as a resource to help conserve their resources.
A total of 33 people had registered and attended the meeting out of which 16 were males while 17 were females.
The participatory group discussion was very constructive and the information gathered will be interpreted and the thematic maps will be attuned accordingly by incorporating the traditional knowledge and ideas.
Project Launch -The project was launched at an event held at The University of Fiji on April 13, 2015.
From left is Mr. Winston Bowman, USAID’s Global Climate Change Advisor for the Philippines and Pacific Region; Mr. Anil Tikaram, Pro-Chancellor, University of Fiji; His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, Chancellor, University of Fiji; U.S. Ambassador, Judith Cefkin; Ms Roselyn Naidu, Project Manager, The University of Fiji; Prof Narendra Reddy, former Acting Vice Chancellor, The University of Fiji and Mr. Peter Emberson, Director of Climate Change, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
From left is Prof Ali, UoF; Dr Kilgas, UoF; Mr. Prasad, UoF; Ms Singh, UoF; Ms Naidu, UoF; Mr. Winston Bowman, USAID’s Global Climate Change Advisor for the Philippines and Pacific Region; U.S. Ambassador, Judith Cefkin; Ms Charan, UoF; Ms Kiran, UoF, Mr. Peter Collier, Chief of Party, PACAM; Mr. Peter Emberson, Director of Climate Change, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ms Praveen Lata, Regional Fund Manager, PACAM.
Below are some links to The University of Fiji’s project launch:-
- Fiji Times: – http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=301950
- Fiji TV – http://fijione.tv/us-ambassador-launches-grant-for-coastal-area-satellite-mapping-project/
- FBC news: – http://www.fbc.com.fj/fiji/28538/funds-for-unifiji-to-map-coastal-ecosystems
- YouTube – a. US Ambassador to Fiji Ms. Judith Cefkin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HG4JtvRFx8 b. Mr. Peter Emberson: – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTddnaxX6dc&feature=youtu.be
- On Facebook pages of:- a. C-CAP – https://www.facebook.com/coastalcommunityadaptationproject?fref=nf b.Fijian Government – https://www.facebook.com/FijianGovernment c.Photos of His Excellency the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau : – https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.946595475373388.1073743033.207532522613024&type=1 d.US Embassy, Suva – https://www.facebook.com/usembassysuva?fref=ts
- Website of US Embassy, Suva:- http://suva.usembassy.gov/mrs/2015-media-releases/u.s.-government-grant-to-map-fijis-threatened-coral-reefs.html
Community Meeting 2 – Votua, BA
The UniFiji-PACAM project team, Ms. Roselyn and Mr. Anish visited Votua, Ba village on Wednesday, 1st June, 2016 for community consultation for the upcoming field verification/ground truthing activity. The UniFiji team was accompanied by the Ba Provincial Council Roko Tui, Mr. Jese. The consultation proceeded with discussion on field visit (Cakau Na Sasi reef and Yarawa reef) logistics and inputs of traditional knowledge on the interim maps to aid the project team in visualizing the reefs.
TC Winston Damages to Votua, BA
In the aftermath of tropical cyclone Winston, the University of Fiji PACAM project staff visited the project site, Votua Village in Ba Tuesday, 1st March, 2016. The site fell under the severe destructive path zone of cyclone Winston. The sight had uprooted vegetation, broken tree branches, fallen electrical cables, blown roof tops and scattered belongings. The village headman, Mr. Kini took us on a tour of the village. According to Mr. Kini, out of the 139 houses in the village, 15 are completely destroyed, 20 sustained partial damages with the rest being fully intact. There were no injuries sustained during or after the cyclone and to date there are no reports of any disease outbreak. Water supply was normal with disruptions to electricity. The PACAM Project Team supplied the villages with basic food rations mainly for the children.
Community Meeting 1 – Tagaqe, CORAL COAST
Upon advice from the Nadroga-Navosa Provincial Council for identification another site, a meeting was held with the heads of Tagaqe Village on 3rd November, 2015. UniFiji used a power point presentation to deliver the project objective, outcomes and benefits. A thorough discussion followed the presentation. Approval was given to use the village as an entrance to the reef after the community had its internal meeting at the end of November.
Community Meeting 1 – Votua, CORAL COAST
On the 6th of October, 2015 a community consultation meeting was held at Votua Village along the Coral Coast. The meeting was attended by 18 males and 12 females. The community was briefed by the UoF Team on the project, its goals and earlier through visits and through the Nadroga-Navosa Provincial Council.
Community Meeting 1 – Votua, BA
On the 29th of September, 2015 a community consultation meeting was held at the Votua Village Hall in Ba. A total of 27 males and 15 females attended the meeting. The participants mostly comprised of village headmen, fishermen, women and the youth. The participants were informed about the project objectives, time frame and the work plan.
A comprehensive discussion was held on the plight of the reefs, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), fish quantity and varieties and better understanding of the marine resources.
The outcome of the meeting positive with the UoF developing stronger bonds with the community in understanding the problem associated with coastal resource management.
Visit 2 by COR – Ms. Sharon Gulick
Ms. Sharon’s visit to the Project Team was part of the monitoring carried out by USAID. This was her second visit to the Project Office. She was briefed on all that has been accomplished since her last visit. She was impressed with what the team had accomplished.
Monitoring Visit 2
The second monitoring visit was conducted in 11th and 12th of August 2016. The visit was conducted by the Regional Fund Manager Ms. Praveen Lata. The purpose of the visit was do a follow up from the monitoring visit carried earlier in March and to provide capacity building for the UoF Project Team on reporting, filing, book keeping and implementation of the work plan.
Mid-Term PACAM Regional Workshop
USAID’s Pacific-American Climate Fund workshop brought together project team members and grant implementing partners across the Pacific to conduct a Mid-term Regional Workshop on Grant Implementation Challenges, Achievements and Best Practices.
PACAM is a five year, USAID grant facility that provides awards through an open and competitive basis to non-sovereign Civil Society Organization CSOs including local, national and internationally- operating entities.
PACAM supported up to two representatives from each grant organization to participate in the two day workshop. PACAM participants also attended the Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation in the Pacific Region on the 27th -28th July, 2016. Six PACAM grantees presented papers at the Symposium and had poster exhibits during the event. All participants had the opportunity to learn from both the workshop and symposium, discuss achievements and challenges, and to network with colleagues and climate change professionals from across the Pacific region.
PACAM grantees had the opportunity to do a brief presentation about the best practices from their project work hence it gave a clear understanding about each project. Whereby, PACAM grantees were able to find out similarities from best practices applied in their project.
- Assessed priorities and challenges for implementing partners/ grantees in helping Pacific Island communities adapt to climate change.
- Reviewed and addressed project management and implementation challenges.
- Presented and planned opportunities for financial management training and capacity development.
- Presented and discussed communication and outreach strategies to increase media engagement and coverage of project achievements and climate change issues.
- Provided a forum for grant implementing partners to present and share best practices and lessons learned in the management and technical implementation of climate change adaption projects.
Visit 1 by COR – Ms. Sharon Gulick
Ms. Sharon’s visit to the Project Team was part of the monitoring carried out by USAID. She was briefed on the project – what is about?; where it is being conducted?; and what are the benefits of the project? – Answers to the latter questions were some of the highlights of the visit.
Monitoring Visit 1
The first monitoring visit was conducted in late March 2016. The visit was conducted by the Regional Fund Manager Ms. Praveen Lata and PACAM’s Monitoring and Evaluation specialist Mr. William Jatulan. The purpose of the visit was to see the progress of the project implementation and provide capacity building for the UoF Project Team on reporting, filing, book keeping and implementation of the work plan.
The presentation focused on the use of satellite imagery for mapping land cover, including how it is done and how it may be useful for different stakeholders. Included in the presentation was an example application to mapping wetlands, a summary of training conducted in Fiji, and how this type of research will advance Fijian management interests.
Climate Change is everybody’s responsibility. It is a concern for the entire community and therefore is best managed and delivered when the community participates effectively. Participation to contribute to a planning effort designed to identify and address Climate Change adaptation strategies through extensive aquatic resource mapping.
Outcome: The public lecture was a positive event for UoF as it has enhanced future research and environment impact assessment. Moreover, the presentation has given insights to carry out mapping activities.
Meeting at FRIENDs for Collaboration
A meeting was initiated with FRIENDS to see how both, The University of Fiji and FRIENDs could collaborate in research on a number of topics by using GIS as an important tool. The meeting took place on 29th September after weeks of discussions via email exchanges to fix a date for the meeting. The meeting was fruitful and we are working towards formulating an MOU.
Stakeholder Meeting 1, Tanoa Waterfront Hotel
- To provide information on the USAID funded climate change adaptation project; “Developing Base Maps of Tropical Aquatic Resources in the Pacific”.
To present and discuss the Monitoring and Evaluation plan for the shallow water aquatic resource mapping project.
- To engage local stakeholders in the project.
- To get feedbacks from the stakeholders on the Monitoring and Evaluation Plan.
- To analyze comments and add possible best practices to the existing ones.
An effective stakeholder participation as the project knowledge was disseminated among the various policy makers and resource managers and facilitators.
The stakeholders are aware of the UoF – PACAM project- its objective and action plan.
The event was attended by 19 delegates representing 8 different organizations including Department of Environment, Wildlife Conservation Society, Fiji Meteorological Services, The International Union for Conservation of Nature (MACBIO Project), Ba Provincial Council, Ministry of i- Taukei Affairs, Representative from Votua village, Ba, Representative from Tagaqe village, Maui Bay and FSC.
Conclusion and Recommendation
The stakeholder meeting was independently led and facilitated by University of Fiji. The meeting has provided the grounds for interested organizations to engage in discussions and assist UoF in the project.
The M&E Plan for the project was presented to the various stakeholders. The stakeholders have provided with their support, recommendations and insights on improvement. The presentations done by the stakeholders in the meeting has created collaboration within the organizations who are working towards climate change adaptation for a resilient society.
UoF will consult with the stakeholders as need arise and will disseminate the product outcome to stakeholders through its website. Till the next stakeholder meeting UoF will consult with its project members on the comments/evaluation provided by the stakeholders. The dialogue will be directed on which of the recommendations provided by stakeholders can be incorporated into the project’s best practices.
FRIENDs Solar Energy Field Trip 2016
On the 19th of April, 2016, The University of Fiji’s physics students visited FRIENDS in Tuvu. FRIENDs is an NGO that contributes to building resiliency amongst communities in Fiji with numerous programs. This visit was part improving the courses taught at the University as the students witnessed the launching of FRIENDs solar power initiative for their establishment. Students learnt firsthand how the system works and the benefits.
Excursion to Komave
The University of Fiji, through the USAID’s Pacific-American Climate Fund project: “Developing Base Maps of Tropical Aquatic Resources in the Pacific” had the privileged to facilitate a field visit for UoF, School of Science and Technology, Department of Science, BIO313 Marine Biology students.
The UoF-PACAM project team organized the field visit logistic by liaising with the village head, Mr. Setefano. There were 6 village representatives present to assist the students in their field work. Refreshments were also provided to the students by the UoF USAIDs PACAM team through the generous support of American people. A total of 36 people were present during the sevusevu ceremony whereby 13 were males while 23 were females.
The aim of this fieldtrip was to:
- Introduce students to the ecology of tropical marine systems (coral, mangrove and sea grass bed ecosystems)
- Provide students with key practical skills required by tropical marine biologists.
- Prove students with training in how to design, implement and report scientifically robust marine research.
Outcome of the Field Visit:
- Students gained key practical skills required by tropical marine biologists.
- Students gained training in how to design, implement and report scientifically robust marine research.
- Students gained exposure to community traditional approach and also managed to carry out short interviews.
Environment Day 2016
World Environment Day (WED) was initiated by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and is celebrated annually on 5th June to raise global awareness to take constructive environmental action to conserve nature and the planet Earth. The Department of Science, School of Science and Technology together with UniFiji PACAM Project and FRIENDs Fiji organized a function to commemorate WED on 3rd June at UniFiji. Please see the flyer below for more information. WED serves as the ‘people’s day’ for doing something to take care of our environment and become an agent of change. The Science students took the initiative to carry out a clean-up campaign at UniFiji and its surrounding area and students were also engaged in Tavola tree planting activity promoted by FRIENDs Fiji.
Ambassador Cefkin’s visit to the Western Regional Library
During her recent trip to Lautoka, Friday, April 29th, 2016, Ambassador Cefkin met with a group of students at the American Corner, Fiji. Climate change and the U.S. engagement in the region were the main topics of discussion.
Topics shared: US Engagement, Climate Change, Oceans and related Environment issues followed by discussions and Q & A sessions.
Audience: Tertiary Students/Journalists
Eleven Bachelor of Science students along with five staff’s from the University of Fiji were present for Ambassador Ceftkin’s climate change presentation at the American Corner Fiji. The highlights of her speech included:
- Earth day celebrations on the 22nd April at the American embassy Fiji where a tree was planted at the US embassy in Fiji.
- $7million has been given in aid to the Fijian people for tropical cyclone Winston (TCW) recovery.
- The US government has aided a community in Rewa to stabilize their river bank.
- The US government assisted a community in Vanua Levu to strengthen their homes before TCW. That particular community was in TCW’s path and because the houses were adapted to withstand strong winds, they remained integrated.
- The USAID funded projects for University and Fiji and WWF that is towards adaptive climate change measures in Fiji.
Outcome: The students were able to learn many adaptation methods to combat climate change such as building hurricane proof houses, stabilizing the environment to prevent environmental catastrophes and supporting celebrations that promote well being of the environment. It was a very productive interactive session; especially the students were able to share their experiences during TC Winston.
Symposium of Climate Change Adaptation, Tanoa Waterfront Hotel 26-28th July, 2016
Evidences of global climate change are evident in the Pacific region as in many other countries, but with specific features. The occurrences of disturbances in climate and geophysical systems projected to be intensify in scale, magnitude and frequency, including extreme hot and cold weather, drought and decreasing water resources, zud, windstorms, desertification, flooding and degradation of land surfaces.
The impacts of climate change on the ecosystem affects almost all sectors, human and animal life. WHO estimates that each year, about 1.2 million people die from causes attributable to urban air pollution, 2.2 million from diarrhea largely resulting from lack of access to clean water supply and sanitation, and from poor hygiene, 3.5 million from malnutrition and approximately 60 000 in natural disasters. Vulnerability assessment report also showed that water quality and quantity is being affected by changing climate regime and vulnerable to water related communicable and non-communicable diseases.
Strengthening of public awareness needs to be a central component of adaptation to climate change.
SYMPOSIUM ON CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION IN THE PACIFIC REGION was organized by the University of Fiji, the Research and Transfer Centre “Applications of Life Sciences” of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany) and the International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP). The Symposium was a truly interdisciplinary event, mobilizing scholars, practitioners and members of governmental agencies, undertaking research and/or executing climate change projects in the Pacific region.
The Symposium was organized in cooperation with the project L3EAP, funded by the EDULINK Programme of the European Union. The purpose of the L³EAP project was to increase the capacity of universities in African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) SIDS to deliver high-quality Lifelong Learning courses on the topics of energy access, security and efficiency.
The Symposium focused on “fostering resilience and the regional capacity to adapt”, meaning that it would serve the purpose of showcasing experiences from research, field projects and best practice in climate change adaptation among countries in the region, which may be useful or implemented elsewhere.
Consistent with the need for more cross-sectoral interactions among the various stakeholders working in the field of climate change adaptation in the Pacific region.
- Provided research institutions, universities, NGOS, government agencies and enterprises from Pacific countries with an opportunity to display and present their works in the field of climate change adaptation;
- Fostered the exchange of information, ideas and experiences acquired in the execution of climate change adaptation projects, especially successful initiatives and good practice across the region;
- Discussed methodological approaches and experiences deriving from case studies and projects, which aimed to show how climate change adaptation may be implemented in practice;
- Network the participants and provided a platform so they can explore possibilities for cooperation.
Capacity building University of South Florida
This initiative is part of UoF’s PACAM project’s objective of building local capacity to derive land and submerged habitat classification maps. University of Florida’s Matt McCarthy conducted extensive training that included gathering, feeding and processing of large volume of satellite data of UoF’s designated experimental sites. The training will prepare local experts who design, use and market habitat digitization and tracing services using GIS platforms. The satellite imagery provides a tool for rapid and accurate assessments that can be compared over time or with other locations. The training has enhanced UoF’s knowledge and training in other future research and environmental impact assessments. Training activities included coordination meetings; preliminary discussions for conducting field exercise to accessing and managing of LandSat and WorldView 2 imagery. Visits to the project sites were also conducted as well as field data collection and verification procedures. This included planning of sampling methods, to the use of GPS meter and photography.
The initiative was particularly important as it will assist in clearly defining the needs of the project in order to develop an accurate scope of work. Moreover, it will assist UoF to develop a clear understanding of any goal before attempting the tasks that entail contingencies that needs to be developed for complications that might be faced during the project lifespan.
Training at Eagle Technology, New Zealand
Soon after the training at the University of South Florida, College of Marine Science, St Petersburg, the Project Manager attended training at Eagle Technology, Auckland, New Zealand from 7th to 11th September, 2015. This training involved the use of the ArcGIS and ENVI software that the project team purchased.
Training at University of South Florida
The Institute of Marine Science at the University of South Florida lead by Prof. Frank Muller-Karger have a designated remote sensing lab for the analysis of satellite images. From 6th July to 21st August, 2015, Ms. Roselyn Naidu gained training from the experts at USF on satellite imagery analysis as required by the project Ms. Naidu was also trained on water sampling.
Marine Priorities Workshop, 19th – 20th July, 2016
Attended by: Ms. Roselyn Nadu (Project Manager- The University of Fiji- USAIDs Pacific-American Climate Fund Project
The main objective of the workshop was to:
- Review and update where necessary, previous marine priority sites identified through 2004 Fiji Islands Marine Ecoregions (FIME), Fiji’s Protected Area Committee (PAC) marine ecological gap analysis, Ecologically and Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSA) information and other available data;
- Collect additional information including references, data and reports to fill critical gaps;
- Develop spatial layers for updated marine priority sites; and
- Map updated marine priority sites for Fiji.
ESRI User Conference, 21st April, 2016
The South Pacific ESRI Regional Conference was organised by Eagle Technologies New Zealand. They are the official software distributor for Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI). ESRI is a GIS software supplier with web GIS and geodatabase management applications. ESRI use the name ArcGIS to refer to their suite of GIS software products which operate on desktop, server and mobile platforms.
The theme for this year’s conference was – “Applying Geography Everywhere”. The main idea behind the conference:
- update on the ArcGIS Platform
- highlight the key technology changes
- success stories on ArcGIS implementation in the South Pacific
- meeting more of the Eagle team
Outcomes of the Meeting:
The South Pacific ESRI Regional Conference was a very fruitful for the UniFiji PACAM Project Team. The presentations from Eagle Technologies were very useful and the Project Team is now working on creating an operations dashboard for project management. The dashboard will contain all the necessary information regarding the mapping activities and relevant persons will be able to see the progress as it happens via Web GIS. This has also given us some ideas which we will later use to construct the online GIS inter-phase in year three of the project to provide information to stakeholders.