Close to 700 households were assisted and more stand to benefit from the final phase of Church Agencies Network Disaster Operation (CAN DO) Tropical Cyclone Harold response operations in Kadavu.
In addition to the cash for work scheme in which each village community received $900 over six months for land clearing and planting for their vulnerable members, 663 households were assisted with primary agricultural kits including post hole spade, cane knife and file.
Project Manager Eminoni Bobo said the initiative is built on the itaukei collective community effort concept of ‘solesolevaki’ to ensure that no one is left behind, including their vulnerable members.
“At times the most vulnerable groups such as the elderly, persons with disabilities and female headed households are often forgotten in society so the solesolevaki concept of the village communities committing a farm to provide for them and most importantly for them to have a sense of belonging in society,” Bobo said. “While we promote the concept of solesolevaki, CAN DO also wants to promote and action helping the vulnerable, encouraging the village communities to continue even when the project comes to an end.”
On Cevai in Kadavu, village chief Samuela Uluikadavu reaffirmed their commitment to sustaining the project, having set aside a day each month to work on the farm.
“We have set aside a day each month to work on the farm. Our village headman ensures that the work is done and we look forward to distribute the harvest to the eight vulnerable people in the village. We have more than 500 cassava planted and also have vudi and bele in the farm.
“We want to thank CAN DO and the Australian Aid for coming up with such a concept to assist the vulnerable who are often looked down upon in our different communities. As the leader for my village, I am supportive of this great initiative and we will continue from here.”
This week, the team from CAN DO collaborated with officials from the Kadavu Agricultural office and Kadavu Provincial Office to visit farms that were initiated last year before distributing seeds for further sustainability of food security and livelihood.
“The agricultural kits distributed came at the right time helping to get back on our feet when we lost our food security and livelihood. Thank you for your continuous assistance with the seeds provided this time around. Vinaka CAN DO, thank you ADRA and most importantly thank you Australian Aid for the assistance,” Ravitaki village headman Akariva Tuilau said.
The TC Harold Response Project was funded by the Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP) Activation with Consortium partners . The members of the CAN DO are the Methodist Church of Fiji, Caritas, Fiji Baptist Convention, Seventh Day Adventist Church, Anglican Church, Olafou, Fiji Council of Churches, Salvation Army and ADRA Fiji. ADRA Fiji also acts as the secretariat for the CAN DO consortium under the Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP) led by Plan International Australia.
In partnership with Empower Pacific, CAN DO also provided psychological first aid or psychosocial support as part of its first response support towards those affected.