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LäjeRotuma Initiative

Mobilizing community to manage their natural resources well

LäjeRotuma Initiative (LRI) is a community-based environmental education and awareness  development programme in Rotuma. LRI is a voluntary initiative which encourage youth on  the island to actively participate in activities aimed at informing and strengthening the  capacity of the island community to make informed decisions on sustainable management  of its natural resources. LRI is part of a diverse network of the island communities, Rotuma  Council, government departments and ministries, donor agencies, institutions,  conservation non-governmental organizations, professionals of varied backgrounds that  range from energy, agriculture, business, environment, fisheries, diving and sustainable  development.

Initiated by young people with a passion for their home island, LRI has:   

  • Trained young adults in both rural and urban Rotuma communities and shared  lessons and experiences with Solomon Island university students about the  facilitation of community resource conservation at their own communities.  
  • Provided opportunities for 5 island youth to be certified PADI Open Water divers to  enhance their capacity in basic scientific coral reef surveys of Rotuma’s coral reefs.  These trained divers have also been contracted to assist in other marine surveys.   
  • Enhanced the opportunity of volunteers to acquire employment within the working  network of partners.   
  • Conducted baseline information surveys to assess the economic, social,  environmental status of Rotuma Island and produced reports to be utilized by  communities in its development of management plans.   
  • Enhanced the level of communication and networking amongst island rural  communities and schools, government departments and Rotuma Council.   
  • Represented in international youth exchange programs, national meetings of  significance to the Initiative and established contact with a diverse set of partners  that have provided support in-kind during LRI’s activities since its inception.   
  • Coordinated global events at the community level such as the Earth Day celebrations  on April 22.   
  • Supported national and international initiatives such as the Turtle Campaign and  being part of the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.   
  • Received an award during the UN Volunteers Award Program.   
  • Secured varied level funding from aid agencies such as AUSAID, British High  Commission, PADI Foundation, GCRMN to support its education, awareness activities  at the community level.  

LRI is distinctive in its nature where young people have a vision to empower their  communities, maximize environmental and sustainable options for the future.

Go to the LäjeRotuma Website at http://lajerotuma.org.fj for further information.

Plan of Action

LRI was initiated in February 2002 by a group of young Rotuman adults committed to carrying out a community service by providing environmental education and awareness to their rural island communities. Rotuma is a 43 square kilometer Island with a population density of 61 people per square km (Fiji Census 1996). It is situated in the SW Pacific,  about 465km North of Fiji. Rotuma‚ as a geographical isolate, with an economy that is externally influenced from mainland Fiji, illustrates the high dependence of an island community on its natural resources. There is also limited access to information and  development options that are easily available to larger urban centers.

In its environmental education and awareness development program, LRI intends to  provide service to the island rural community under the following programmatic themes:

Community Outreach includes 4 project activities that range from the  environmental education at schools, coordinated annual coastal cleanups to  facilitation of communities in the development of their management plans.

Building Community Resilience to Climate Change includes 3 project activities  that encompass a range of adaptation measures to coastal erosion, monitoring of  the health of reefs and climate witness awareness activities which enhance island  community's understanding of potential impacts of global climate change on Rotuma  Island.

Integrated Fisheries Management currently focuses on revival of the traditional  use of the canoe. Such tradition is fast disappearing, replaced by the use of  outboard motors and becoming totally dependent on external supply of fuel and  engine parts. This is an added cost also foreseen to create an adverse impact on the  island ecosystem in terms of engine parts disposal and fishing intensity.

Sustainable livelihoods options are currently being explored. According to baseline  information collected by LRI, there is need for alternative income options in order  to persuade communities make informed decisions on the development and proper  management of their natural resources.

Research and Capacity Building includes 3 project activities that range from the  experimental removal and reuse of the Kama, training and internship opportunities  for local youth and the potential research of Rotuma's Flora and Fauna.

LRI acknowledges major partners: Rotuma Island Council, Rotuman Member of Parliament,  WWF, AUSAID, Marine Studies Program, Institute of Marine Resources, SISA, University of  the South Pacific, GCRMN, Global GreenGrants Fund, British High Commission Suva,  SeaWeb, Coral Cay Conservation, PADI Foundation, Project AWARE, SPREP, Ministry of  Youth, WAC Theatre Unlimited, Rotuman Suva-7-Districts, Rotuma website, Rotuma Island  Coordinator & Youth Volunteer Network.

LäjeRotuma Initiative
PO Box 10816 Laucala Beach Estate, Suva, Fiji
E-mail: lajerotuma@unwired.com.fj

LajeRotuma Documents (Index)

How to Contribute

Anyone interested in volunteering their time or contributing to LajeRotuma should contact Monifa Fiu .