PAPUA NEW GUINEA, Tavolo, Pomio District, East New Britain Province - July 2010
Community health clinic in exchange for the establishment of a 988-acre no-take coastal marine conservation area within an existing Wildlife Management Area
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Tavolo is situated west in the Pomio District of East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea. The area has extensive fringing coral reefs on the coast and a pristine forest on the mainland. Approximately 500 people live around the Tavolo area in small hamlets. The primary threats to these two ecosystems are from large-scale logging and over-fishing. In 1997, an eight square mile Wildlife Management Area was gazetted under PNG’s Flora and Fauna Act. The community, along with local NGO Melkoi Local Environment Foundation, is working towards establishing an extension of the conservation area, to cover a total of 124 square miles. The community would like to set up a 988-acre no-take reef and lagoon conservation area. The people of Tavolo, with the assistance of another local NGO, Mama Graun Conservation Trust, are committed to protecting their environment and will continue to refuse large-scale development proposals. Tavolo is situated about a day’s walk to the nearest government station for medical assistance, and is separated by a few rivers, making it too difficult for the community to reach. Seacology is providing funding to build a community health clinic in exchange for the community’s establishment of a 988-acre no-take coastal marine conservation area.
UPDATE January 2011 - Seacology PNG Field Representative Sam Moko visited the project area in November 2010. A community meeting was called and organized by the clan leaders of Tavolo. Men, women and children from the eight clan groups of the community were present at the meeting to hear the good news of a Community Health Clinic Project, and witness the signing of the Tavolo Community Covenant. At the meeting Sam Moko outlined a list of documents required from the community. A long discussion ensued, and questions were raised for clarification until a show of understanding was reached. The clan representative for each of the eight groups signed the Tavolo Community Covenant. The community confirmed and agreed to the 988-acre no-take coastal marine conversation within the exiting WMA and demarcated the boundaries of the area. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has taken coordinates of the boundaries and a specific map of the no-take coastal marine zone will be produced for the community and Seacology. TNC has been involved to assess the area for potential marine biodiversity survey upon request from the local NGO Mama Graun. The project will commence in early 2011.
UPDATE December 2011 - According to Field Representative Sam Moko, the first phase of the project mobilization began on September 29th, 2011 and ended on November 23rd, 2011. After project leaders received the first payment, they traveled to Rabaul (nearest town) to purchase hardware materials for the project and ship them to Tavolo. On arrival of the materials in Tavolo, the community of Tavolo put up a traditional welcome and show of appreciation with traditional dancing and performances. The community members gathered to clear the project site, carry sand and gravel, and load and unload hardware from the wharf to the project site. A local portable sawmill operation was hired by the Tavolo Community Health Project to supply all sawn timbers for the construction of the community health facility. All timbers were cut locally from the Tavolo Forest Management Area which was initially set up for community forestry. People used canoes and outboard boats to collect sand and gravel and neatly piled them on site. Only one material (wire) has been put on a back order and will be delivered early January 2012. With most materials on site, the community is keen to start the construction phase in January. The community is aiming to complete the project and have an opening ceremony in March 2012.