FIJI, Yasawa I Rara Village, Yasawa Islands - July 2002
Community center in exchange for the preservation of two islands and the creation of a no-take marine reserve
Yasawa I Rara is a remote village located in the northern portion of the Yasawa Islands in Fiji's western region. By Fijian standards it is a relatively large village with a population of 600. The village holds title to two small islands, Yalewakalou and Yawini Ciri, with a combined land area of 1.8 square miles (1,152 acres). The village also has fishing rights to a large 80 square mile (51,200 acres) area surrounding these islands. Recently, a foreign businessman offered $700,000 to purchase one of the islands. The villagers have declined the offer. Instead, the village has signed an agreement with Seacology prohibiting development on both islands for a period of 20 years and establishing a no-take fishing reserve on the 80 square mile area surrounding the islands for a period of ten years. In return, Seacology is providing funds for the construction of a critically needed community center.
UPDATE November 2003 - The community center has been completed and was dedicated during the June 2003 expedition to Fiji.
UPDATE January 2007 - Seacology funded the repainting of the community center, as it was in need of maintenance.