Life goes on: Fijian village adapts to a changing climate

Climate change is real and affects people and communities differently. A community in the province of Rewa faces frequent rainfall and flooding, threatening their livelihoods and well-being. Fortunately they are already coping with the situation but it doesn't come easy.

Villages like Nadoi in the Rewa Delta are only accessible by boat as there is no access by road.

The village of Nadoi is located in the heart of the Rewa Province. It takes about one and half hours to reach Nadoi if you're travelling from Suva city, but 30 minutes if you travel from Nausori town. Nadoi is located along the Rewa River, so a five-minute boat ride, from Nasali landing, is part of the journey.

Taking a look around the village, I noticed that the land is quite flat and being so close to the Rewa River, the thought of flooding immediately came to mind.

Seventeen of us were in Nadoi to gather information on climate-related hazards for the area, how these hazards affect the people’s livelihoods and what solutions they are already implementing to cope with them.

Two hazards that are really affecting the community's pockets are flooding and extreme temperature changes.

Frequent and sometimes prolonged flooding has caused loss of crops and reduced chances of survival of crops like cassava. Also, according to the Nadoi community, it has reduced the number of river shrimps (Palaemon concinnus) usually harvested for income generation. Extreme temperature changes have exacerbated these impacts, leaving the people unable to rely on traditional weather calendars for planting, harvesting and fishing.

For a community that relies heavily on natural resources for income generation, the impacts of changes in climate have called for some big lifestyle and livelihood adjustments. Some of the women we talked to said that these adjustments have been hard. Increasing prices of food products, education items and transportation are additional challenges that people have to deal with.

Nevertheless, the people of Nadoi have found ways to cope. They've raised their garden plots to minimize inundation, women weave in groups during wet weather and most have turned to coconut oil production to generate income. These are some ways the people are coping. And what was interesting is that the men and women we talked to did not know that they were already implementing coping strategies.
The smiles and laughter from the men and women sharing their experiences with us was a heartening sign that life does go on despite the changes.

This field trip was organized as part of a training workshop for coordinators of IUCN's Mangrove Ecosystems for Climate Change Adaptation & Livelihoods (MESCAL) project held in Suva, Fiji 23-26 July, 2012.

By Salote Sauturaga, Communications Officer, IUCN Oceania

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