GTM Fiji

Building capacity for Fiji’s CSOs and LCs to actively participate in the Fiji National REDD+ Readiness Programme

Executing Agency: Grace Trifam Ministry (GTM)

The sub-project aims to strengthen the capacity of Fijian CSOs and other LCs for their contribution to ERPD strategic issues and providing recommendations to the national REDD+ strategy. This project has capacitated local communities in ten provinces with active engagement of women resulting to their increased understanding on REDD+, sustainable forest management, and effective participation in the national REDD+ program. This project has also demonstrated that the established institutions such as the faith based organizations and their forums that have large outreach, could effectively serve for the conveyance of REDD+ message to the community people and have potential to contribute to the national REDD+ program.

Accomplished activities include i) a pre-evaluation of CSOs and LCs’ awareness of REDD+, ii) training of trainers for CSOs and LCs in the West, North and Central/Eastern Divisions, who would onward train the grassroot communities in the project sites, iii) organization of local communities and orientation training to grassroot people in 18 local communities, iv) meeting with the national REDD+ focal point and 15 district representatives, v) provision of 70 fuel efficient rocket stoves to local communities in three communities, vi) meeting with national REDD+ CSO platform, vii) organization of two divisional REDD+ and environmental stewardship dialogue fora for faith leaders, and viii) development of a discussion paper on existing ERPD strategic issues combined with specific recommendations from the CSOs and LCs fora.

Capacity building activities have been carried out in 18 local communities of 10 provinces. The capacity building activities involved use of traditional/indigenous approach, such as “talanoa” session and the “Queen Esther” approach, and traditional/indigenous terminology meaning ecological restoration such as “Vakabulavanua” equating with REDD+. Together with the community level capacity builidig activities, GTM provided 70 rocket stoves to the selected poor and marginalized community women members of the Yasawa, Nakorotubu and Lakeba districts. These rocket stoves use less wood, thus reducing pressure to the forests for fuel-wood and also workload (drudgery) of the poor rural communities, as well as offering health benefits through reduction of indoor air pollution.

Furthermore, GTM used the established faith-based forums to convey the REDD+ message to the community people, and also to explore the potential of the faith-based organizations to contribute to Fiji’s REDD+ program. It partnered with the Fiji Council of Churches and Inter Faith Search Fiji, and organized the first ever divisional REDD+ and environmental stewardship dialogue forum for faith leaders in Fiji in June 2019. This brought together over 15 leaders of different religions solidifying faith-based partnership in safeguarding Fiji’s rainforests and ecological environment. Realizing the need and importance of making aware the interfaith based organizational leaders on national REDD+ program, the Ministry of Forest partnered with GTM to organize another divisional faith-based leaders dialogue on REDD+ and environment stewardship that involved participation of the permanent secretary, interfaith based organization leaders and REDD+ officials.

Working closely with the government of Fiji, GTM established good relationship and they were funded a learning mission to Nepal from 6 to 10 May 2019 by the Ministry of Forest. The mission included participation of two GTM directors and two participants representing government and REDD+ practitioner. During the mission, the team visited forest areas in Dolakha district where REDD+ program was piloted, and also met with ANSAB and few stakeholders to learn Nepal’s experience on REDD+ and CSO participation, that could be useful in Fijian context for increased CSO role and participation in national REDD+ program.

1,097 individuals have directly benefitted from the sub-project activities, of which 75.8% are women.

The total budget contribution from the project for this sub-project was US $75,000. On top of that GTM has also leveraged an amount of US $4,100 from Fijian government for the learning mission to Nepal.