Nukubalavu is located on Vanua Levu, the second largest island in Fiji. By Fijian standards it is a relatively large village with a population of 300. The village holds the title of Tui Na Savasavu, which is the highest title in land of Savusavu. Seacology is funding the construction of a new preschool building. In exchange, the villagers have agreed to increase their current reserve from 3,200 acres to 25,600 acres as a no-take zone for a duration of 20 years.
Conservation benefit: Creation of a 25,600-acre marine reserve for 20 years
Community benefit: Construction of a preschool and kindergarten building
Date Approved: 01.2007
Members of a Seacology expedition got a warm welcome at Nukubalavu in September. We’ve worked with this coastal community for years, supporting its strict protection of a large ocean area. Unlike many other marine protected areas in Fiji, this one stayed closed even during the pandemic. After a discussion with the teachers in the village, we made a small additional grant for new classroom chairs and supplies.
The school building has now been completely repaired and expanded and is once again being used. Field representative Pettine Simpson and program manager Mary Randolph visited for a re-opening celebration in July, complete with ribbon-cutting, wonderful food, and music.
Repairs to the building, and a small expansion, began in April and are progressing well.
Seacology has made a new grant to the community, to repair the extensive damage caused by Cyclone Winston to the kindergarten building.
Cyclone Winston, the strongest storm ever recorded in the southern hemisphere, wreaked tremendous damage on the beautiful village of Nukubalavu. Seacology field representative Pettine Simpson, who visited the village soon after the cyclone passed, found that most of the homes in the village had been destroyed. Community members told her that waves were higher than coconut trees. The school building financed by Seacology survived but was badly damaged by wind and water. Part of the walls and the window louvers are missing; water came through the roof, and most of the ceilings need replacing. The fence was washed away and mangled, and the outdoor play facility ruined. But the school is in better shape than many houses, and a family whose home was lost is staying in the damaged building.
After immediate needs for food and shelter have been met, Seacology will discuss rebuilding efforts with the community.
Construction of the building was completed in August 2008 and visited by the 2008 Seacology group expedition for an opening ceremony.
As of March 2008 field representative Saula Vodonaivalu, Jr. reports that work is progressing well and is scheduled to be fully complete by August 2008.
As of October, the building was almost complete with installation of fixtures and fencing still to be completed as soon as the building supervisor returns to the village.