Building Climate Resilience through Alternative Livelihoods and Coral Restoration in Fiji
Last week the community workshop portion of our Climate Resilient by Nature (CRxN) project commenced in Fiji. This workshop was run by our partner Corals4Conservation and focused on supporting supporting climate change adaptation and alternative livelihoods for local communities to help restore compromised reef ecosystems (and linked mangrove habitats) and maintain the protective climate-related services they provide as a key Nature-based solution.
Thirteen participants from Moturiki and two other local communities have come together to learn about improved village chicken keeping, alternative livelihoods, and coral restoration. The diverse group has created an excellent learning environment, allowing for the exchange of knowledge and experiences from different areas.
The training has emphasized the potential of village chickens as a productive and valuable resource. Traditionally raised as free-range birds in fishing communities like Moturiki, the participants discovered that by understanding basic concepts such as housing, feeding, breeding, and biosecurity, village chickens can be improved. The theoretical sessions in the mornings provided a platform to outline key learnings, which were then followed by practical workshops.
One significant aspect of the training was the introduction of mobile pens, also known as ‘circle’ pens. These simple structures can be used for temporary housing, separating different aged birds, or quarantining chickens during times of injury or disease. Mobile pens are particularly effective in protecting young birds while allowing them access to outdoor conditions. This knowledge has proven to be a game changer, as early mortality rates among chickens have been a common issue for farmers.
Participants learning to make the circle pen.
Participants recognized that village chickens can serve as a long-term alternative livelihood solution. Although it may require more initial investment compared to fishing, the benefits increase as the flock grows. Interestingly, the participants identified egg production as a priority, considering the high value of chicken products, especially eggs, in island communities.
Aside from village chicken keeping, other alternative livelihood activities have been well received by the participants. Activities such as coconut production, cocoa production, and local cooking have generated considerable interest. Chocolate making, in particular, has been popular among the participants from Moturiki, as the island is abundant in cocoa. The trainers are excited to see how the participants utilize these valuable resources in the coming months.
The next phase of the training will focus on coral gardening. The participants will have the opportunity to learn and work in the Marine Protected Area near Naidiri Village. This segment of the training promises to be an exciting and important step in understanding and contributing to coral restoration efforts.
The first week of the workshop has been a success, with participants enthusiastically engaging in learning about improved village chicken keeping, alternative livelihoods, and coral restoration. The combination of theoretical sessions, practical workshops, and lively discussions has created an excellent learning environment. The participants are eager to apply their newfound knowledge and skills in their communities, fostering resilience in the face of climate change.
Participants during practical session on Tei Tei Farm.
This project is supported by the Australian Government and WWF-Australia through Climate Resilient by Nature (CRxN). CRxN is a new initiative advancing equitable nature-based solutions to climate change in the Indo-Pacific. CRxN supports projects that work with communities to restore and protect critical ecosystems, build sustainable livelihoods, and increase resilience to climate shocks.