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Conservation benefit: 365-acre marine reserve for 15 years

Community benefit: New community hall

Date Approved: 05.2009


This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

Tokou is a beachside village on the east coast of Ovalau Island, about three miles from the old Fijian colonial capital of Levuka. The population of the village is approximately 700. In 2013, the United Nations named Levuka as a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Tokou is on the southern border of this UNESCO site.

The village has pledged to establish a 365-acre marine reserve for 15 years. In return, Seacology will fund the construction of a much-needed community hall to host cultural and social events. The hall will also provide a place for village women to produce handicrafts and organize fundraising activities for the village. Tourist ships are due to begin visiting Levuka in May 2009, and Tokou is on visitor itineraries. It will greatly benefit from having a venue to host guests.

Project Updates

January 2021

The repairs are now done, and organizers plan to use some extra funds to buy folding chairs and tables for the hall. During an eight-week lockdown imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hall was used as a classroom.

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June 2020

Repairs to the community center have been finished except for the kitchen.

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December 2019

All of the construction materials have arrived at the village, and the repair work has begun.

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September 2018

The community has agreed to extend its conservation agreement for another 10 years. Seacology has made an additional grant that will let the community repair and improve the community hall, which was damaged by a cyclone. Several families whose houses were destroyed lived in the hall for weeks.

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June 2016

Seacology’s former field representative Harry Powell spoke to Antonio Tukuveli in the village. He reported that Cyclone Winston caused a lot of damage there, but the Seacology-funded community hall held up very well even though people were ankle-deep in water from the storm surge.

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September 2010

Field representatives Harry and Jackie Powell report that the community hall foundation has been completed, however work is at a standstill because village fundraising has not met expectations. The village committee has decided to borrow FJ$30,000 which they estimate is the amount required for the roofing material, freight costs and carpenter’s wages. The building material which Seacology supplied will complete the walls and roof supports (beams, rafters etc.), all the plumbing works, and the electrical, but not the roofing iron and brackets. The committee has decided to secure the loan first, buy the roofing iron material and then continue construction as they are concerned about the possible exposure of the steel beams and brackets to the volatile sea air.

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June 2010

The village representative reports that their target of fundraising between FJ$2,000 to FJ$2,500 a month is being achieved. The Powells report that the foundation is now almost complete.

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April 2010

As of March 2010 Harry reports that Tokou is intent on maintaining the size of the hall and will fundraise on a monthly basis to raise the balance of funds. Building materials arrived at Tokou in late March. As of April 2010 construction is proceeding on the foundation of the hall, with photos provided.

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December 2009

Field representative Harry Powell met with the representative from Tokou in August 2009. He expressed his and the draftsman’s concerns regarding the current building specifications. Agreements were made to use concrete and steel rather than pine poles and to reduce the number of doors. The draftsman will draw up the new plans, although even with the modifications the budget is now expected to be more than Seacology’s grant will cover. The Tokou representative assured Harry that the village will raise these additional funds themselves. Construction began in October of 2009. As of December 2009 Harry reports that the village representative is attempting to get assistance with freight costs to ship all the materials to Tokou. This is causing delays in getting the project underway.

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