Matavai, Safune Village Youth Climate ActionNov 14, 2015
Matavai youth leader Talafiti Paiaaua is a young man on a mission. He organised his village youth of more than 50 to host an awareness workshop under the shades of the burnt trees area of Matavai with the effects of dried up trees causing fire in the village.
“Knowledge and awareness is powerful and to bring in people with expertise to share their knowledge on why there is a continuous impact of dried up areas causing fire in our village to where the issues are present was my ultimate goal”, said Talafiti Paiaaua.
“It is the most practical thing to do and it is the most effective for the experts and for our village to understand why these issues have occurred in the last 10 or so years”, he added
Talafiti attended the South South Sub Regional Youth Initiative on Climate Change organised by United Nations Development Programme Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme (UNDP/GEF-SGP) in August 2015. From the conference he learnt to care for his environment therefore took action with the impacted burnt areas.
An unfortunate experience for the village of Matavai that with the effects of the ongoing El Nino and rationing of water, lands have dried up and trees die.
“When trees die, it is very easy for fire to spread”, says one staff from MNRE Sueni Tau. “However, there is a natural solution of replanting indigenous trees or in Samoan “laau Samoa”, added Sueni Tau.
The village in particular the youth have learnt that the invasive trees are not strong enough to absorb sufficient water in its roots, so that when these impacts of long term drought, indigenous trees naturally could survive better than invasive trees.
The village youth planted more than 500 trees on the day of the workshop 7th November 2015 with the demonstration support from the MNRE Forestry Division and DEC.
“The initiative must continue and the youth have the support of the village elders to continue” says Faumuina Petia, one of the village elders present during the initiative.
SPREP helped with the images of the burnt areas through GIS technology and found that 21 acres of land area was affected. Samoa Conservations Society also came on board to promote the importance of indigenous trees as it also brings back our endangered species such as the manumea, ma’oma’o and punae.
The initiative would not have been possible without the hardworking efforts of the volunteers from the Safune Primary School, Matavai youth, Alii ma Faipule members of Matavai through the support of Hon Sooalo Mene delivering the keynote address, women committee of Matavai and Emerging Artists group. UNDP/GEF-SGP, ILO, SPREP, Samoa Conservation Society and MNRE staff worked together as partners to facilitate the initiative with Talafiti Paiaau of Matavai.