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, which have 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-acre) area surrounding these islands.
Recently, a foreign business offered $700,000 to purchase one of the islands. The villagers declined the offer. Instead, they signed an agreement with Seacology, prohibiting development on both islands for 20 years and establishing a no-take fishing reserve in the 80-square-mile area around the islands for 10 years. In return, Seacology is providing funds for the construction of a critically needed community center.
In 2009, Seacology funded the purchase and installation of a solar water pump system for the community center, in support of the community’s continued protection of the original conservation area.