Garden Movers

Garden Movers

Fiji
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$1 million - $5 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Garden-Movers is a community-based conservation and tourism project that empowers grass-root women to educate community members to revive/promote sustainable land-use practices and traditional craft-making skills. This involves conservation efforts in eight villages practicing organic-farming, indigenous tree-species planting and craft-making to generate income and protect their wetlands and marine ecosystem.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The educational, health, household and development needs of the Malomalo district villagers have been compromised due to unsustainable live-rock harvesting which affected their fisheries, unsound land-use practices and lack of economic diversity. Malomalo is located along the south-western coast of mainland Fiji with 85% of land used for the cultivation of sugarcane and pine plantations. The remaining 15% include mangroves, grasslands and scattered remnants of dry forest. In 2002, WWF South Pacific Programme Office (SPPO) conducted a scientific study to deduce the impacts of live-rock harvest on their traditional fishing grounds. As a result of this study, the community decided to ban the live-rock trade in 2004. A socio-economic survey conducted in 2005 by WWF SPPOshowed that 63% of the households earned less than a $100FD a month as a result of lack of economic diversity and their declining fisheries within the district as a result of the live-rock trade and unsustainable farming practices.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Garden-Movers is the first of its kind to use women in a male dominated culture to strengthen community conservation efforts in the district of Malomalo in Fiji. It is developed to address poverty alleviation, sustainable livelihoods and environmental protection as a result of community-consultation and capacity-building. Malomalo District is made up of 8 villages located on the South-Western part of Fiji surrounded by many tourist operators. Malomalo village used to be engaged in the trade of live coral-rock which is currently been banned since 2004 as a result of its impact on its marine resources within the district’s fishing grounds and improper pine logging activities. As a result, many families lost 70% of their monthly household income because of a lack of alternatives after the live-rock trade ban and logging. Garden-Movers use sustainable land-use practices to encourage farming within the district as an alternative livelihood and income generating activity where the produce an be sold to neighboring hotels to generate income as well as educate the community members on the ecosystem connectivity between their terrestrial and marine environment and how best land practices can protect and conserve their wetlands and marine resources. Capacity-building exercises such as training for organic farming, sustainable land use, handicraft, animal husbandry development and sale is targeted at the village women’s group. Women engagement is crucial in a male-dominated culture to promote women in leadership roles, social-justice, equal opportunity and effective delivery of expected conservation outcomes.
About You
Organization:
WWF South Pacific
Visit website
Section 1: About You
First Name

akisi

Last Name

bolabola

Organization

WWF South Pacific Programme

Country

, W

Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

WWF South Pacific

Organization Phone

(679) 3315533

Organization Address

4 Ma'afu St, Suva

Organization Country

, C

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, W

Would you like to participate in the MIF Opportunity 2010?

Innovation
Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
What impact have you had on your clients and the tourism sector?

Through community consultation workshops facilitated by WWF South Pacific Programme Office, the communities within Malomalo district were able to come up with a community management plan and identify alternative livelihood options based on their knowledge of their natural resources, land capability and traditional ways of doing things. This allows the community to claim ownership of their management plan and activities that improve their livelihoods and guarantee sustainability and conserve their wetlands, coastal and marine resources.

Garden-Movers activities will empower community members to find alternative sources of livelihood and income generating activities that is environmentally friendly and economically viable. Women are engaged and empowered to be leaders and contribute to decision making in community development and resource management. Women gain knowledge on how to grow their vegetables/ root crops and rear livestock organically, develop their artistic skills through reviving their traditional art of craft-making that is slowly disappearing as well as develop business and financial management skills. The farm produces and their traditional crafts were then sold to neighboring hotels, tourists, hotel workers and municipal markets for income.

As mentioned previously, this project is targeted at redressing the issue of loss of income and environmental degradation from the banning of live-rock trade in Malomalo and unsustainable logging thus preventing the community from regressing back to dependence on these unsustainable practices.

Actions

Community Consultation Workshops to assist the community:
- develop a community vision that is reflective of their existing resource use principle and expectations for viable and sustainable economic alternatives
- development of a management plan to set up their marine protected area
- develop land use capability assessment and community awareness on effective land-use practices
- women’s groups gather support/demonstrate opportunities for them to engage in viable and productive sustainable agricultural activities to meet household subsistence needs and allow economic return, restoration and reforestation of degraded land and reviving the art of traditional handicraft weaving
- develop skills in small businesses and financial management with National Center for Micro-Enterprise and Development
- access and maintain market base
- utilize the materials obtained through the consultative workshops to develop awareness materials for other local communities on how to start such initiatives
- train women’s groups to facilitate the setting up of such initiatives in other communities

Results

Since 2004
- Malomalo Community Vision reflecting community resource use that is environmentally and economically viable and sustainable
- Establishment of Malomalo District Community Management Plan
- Land-Use Capability Assessment identified sustainable forestry as a long term option for income earning, coastline protection and restoration/reforestation of degraded land
- 35 participants within Malomalo district were trained by the National Center for Small Micro-Enterprises and Development and development of a marketing strategy
- Women’s group trained in agro-forestry system and applications and setting up of a native-tree nursery to rehabilitate the coastline and degraded non-arable lands
- Establishment of a 1 acre Model Farm with the assistance of Ministry of Agriculture

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

1st year
- continuous capacity building of Malomalo women’s group in terms of program management and implementation, leadership roles, and monitoring and evaluation
- strengthening of network of partners and stakeholders to support Malomalo community
- training of the community in vegetable farming environmentally friendly techniques and producing good quality crops for the tourism market
- refresher courses for the women’s group in terms of business and financial management
- sales of vegetables to be re-invested into the project funds
- strengthening of networks between relevant Government departments, Provincial Office, NGOs, Financial Institutions, Hotel Industry and Tour Operators
- facilitation of conflict resolution workshops to empower community members to adequately resolve conflict issues within the district that could threaten the success of the project
- continuous environmental awareness programmes
2nd year
- setting up of a business plan and financial management plan for Malomalo
- up-scaling of farming to meet the demands of the nearby Intercontinental Hotel in terms of quota
- setting up of village tours with tour operators to showcase and sell village handicrafts
- an increase in returns of sales of organic vegetables and handicrafts to InterContinental Hotel
- continuous reforestation of degradable land with native tree species
3rd year
- Garden movers is going to form a strong network amongst the 8 Women’s groups between the 8 villages within the district
- Up-scaling of vegetable farms and handicrafts amongst the 8 villages within the district to sell to other hotels and municipal markets to increase revenue
- Sell their skills to other districts within Fiji by facilitating the set up of similar initiatives

What would prevent your project from being a success?

- The continued economic downfall/recession affects the travel market and the buying power of local customers due to loss of employment and increase in cost of living
- Complexity of land ownership is an obstacle to acquiring land lease titles for the up-scaling of proposed farming activities. Native land is owned by all clan members and approval of land lease for such a project requires the approval of all clan members. Due to conflicting interests between all members, there is difficulty in acquiring the land lease title.
- Fiji is currently ruled by a military regime where the political climate is very unpredictable. This can deter investors, possible donors and affect the economy and tourism industry which will consequently affect the conservation efforts and success of this project
- Located along the coast, Malomalo district is exposed to the extremes of weather such as increase in frequency of cyclones, storm surges and droughts which can affect the progress of the project
- Lack of mitigation strategies to address and monitor risks associated with the implementation of the project

How many people will your project serve annually?

101‐1000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy or introduce models and tools that benefit the tourism sector in general?

Yes

Sustainability
What stage is your project in?

Operating for more than 5 years

In what country?

, W

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Yes

If yes, provide organization name.

WWF South Pacific Programme

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?

Yes

Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

Partnership with other NGOs, government departments and businesses is critical to the success and effectiveness of Garden Movers.
WWF SPPO- provides support in terms of capacity building and facilitation of the setting up, planning and implementation of the initial stages of the project including the seeking of necessary funds, resources personnel and creating partnerships with other stakeholders Government – such as the Ministry of Forestry, Agriculture and Fisheries provide necessary support for the facilitation and technical advice regarding the different components of the project.
Financial Institutions – provides financial and business advice and support in terms of the business and financial component of the project.
The community of Malomalo – their wealth of traditional knowledge and natural resource use is imperative in the formulation of their community vision, management-plan and conservation of their natural resources ensuring sustainable livelihood options.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

1. Continuous capacity building and skills training of the Malomalo women’s group and other community groups such as the church, youth and men’s groups in terms of project management, business and financial management, sustainable land use practices, handicraft production and quality control
2. Up-scaling of the Model Farm and replication in all 8 villages of Malomalo district with the formation of a strong network between the villages
3. Financial Security – securing a sustainable market for the sale of vegetables and handicrafts, access to credit facilities and proper marketing strategies to attract and increase the sale of vegetables and handicrafts to Hotel and Tour operators and other markets in Fiji

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

The enthusiasm that the women of Malomalo showed at a project management training in 2008 convinced our Sustainable Development Officer, Opeti Vateitei (Mr) to work closely with the group for this innovation. the women, indicated interest in further exploring sustainable livelohoods and long term natural resource management plans.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

Mr Opeti Vateitei: Sustainable Development Officer has been working with WWF South Pacific Programme for almost 4 years and is well versed with best land use practices. In his experience, he has been mobilising the youths as ambassadors for the terrestrial resources and the interest to engage women was out of a discussions he's had with the Malomalo women's group. Opeti is a certified agriculturalist and is a senior conservation officer with WWF.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Email from Changemakers

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