VANUATU, Nasawa Community, Maewo Island - January 2008
Renovation of three historical school buildings in exchange for the protection of all bird species and hardwood trees in a 1,339-acre area, as well as a 62-acre no-take marine reserve for a duration of 15 years
Nasawa Village, with a population of over 400 people, is one of the largest communities on Maewo Island. Most villagers have maintained their traditional way off life, building small huts using traditional materials, consisting of bamboo trees for walls and coconut leaves for the roofing. The local communities have recently expressed concerns over population growth rates and diminishing fish and prawn catches, increased forest clearing for farmland, and an increase in bird and water eel catches. Since the 1980s, the community of Nasawa has been seeking financial assistance from the local government for renovation of their historical school buildings. Seacology is providing funds to renovate these school buildings. In exchange, the Nasawa community will preserve all bird species and hardwood trees commonly used for timber in a 1,339-acre area. Additionally, they will set aside a 62-acre area as a no-take marine reserve for fish, shells, turtles, and crabs for minimum of 15 years. *
UPDATE May 2008 - The project was delayed in February due to lack of shipping options. As of March a ship was repaired and materials were sent to the village. In April roofing started on one of the buildings and most materials have been shipped to start renovations on one building. The on-site project leader is scheduled to travel to Maewo in early April to oversee construction. A second shipment of materials for renovations to the final two buildings is scheduled for early to mid 2008.
UPDATE January 2009 - Construction began in March 2008 with re-roofing one of the three buildings. Major construction has progressed slowly due to lack of permanent on-site skilled labor. As of August 2008 new roofing was installed on all three buildings and interior renovations in one building began. In September 2008 it was discovered that incorrect roofing lengths were installed by the on-site workers and was not successful in making the roofs leak-free. The contractor determined that all roofing had to be removed and replaced with correct roofing lengths.
UPDATE June 2009 - As of March 2009 two buildings were fully refurbished and the village started work on the last building. Kevin Tari estimates that all three buildings will be complete and ready for an opening ceremony by June 2009.
UPDATE July 2009 - As of July 2009 the school renovations are complete. Field representative Kevin Tari attended a ceremonial opening of the three buildings on July 28.
UPDATE December 2009 - As of December 2009 protection of bird species continues. There was a small area close to the chief’s residence at the beach where hardwood trees and bush trees were cut down to make way for a government project to build an airstrip at Nasawa. The marine reserve remains intact.
UPDATE June 2010 - As of June 2010 Kevin reports that the situation remains much the same. The government project to build an airport in the area is on hold.