The Government of Japan is providing assistance up to US$488,647 (approximately FJ$903,000) to five recipient organisations in Fiji through its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) Programme.
In order to formalise Japan’s funding of these five projects, the Chargé d’ Affaires of the Embassy of Japan, Mr. Kinzo Nakagun, will sign grant contracts with the heads of the respective organisations namely, Cmdr. Joeli Cawaki, Commissioner Western Division; Ms. Michelle Raqona, Head Teacher of Nakoroboya Primary School; Mr. Jeremaia Tuwai, Principal of Sigatoka Valley High School; Cmdr. Francis B. Kean, Board Chairman of the National Fire Authority, and Mr. Napolioni Masirewa, Special Administrator for Levuka and Nausori.
The signing ceremony will be hosted by the Embassy of Japan, in its conference room at Level 2 of BSP Life Centre, Suva at 2:30pm on Tuesday 11th March 2014.
The GGP Programme was founded on the concept of “Human Security” under Japan’s ODA policy, which focuses on building capacity and developing resilience in individuals and societies in which everyone can live with dignity by protecting and empowering individuals and communities that are exposed to actual or potential difficulties and challenges, especially in their daily lives. All GGP Projects seek to serve towards “Human Security” based on such principles.
Details of the respective projects are as follows:
1. The Project for Installing Flood Early Warning Devices in the Western Division
The Government of Japan will provide F$153,230 to the Office of the Commissioner Western to install flood early warning devices in 32 communities in the Western Division. The project also includes the publication of disaster management material, public awareness workshops, and evacuation drills in the three provinces of Ba, Nadroga Navosa, and Ra. This project is an expansion of the successful Japanese Technical Cooperation Project “Strengthening Community-Based Disaster Risk Management”, which was implemented in pilot communities in Ba from 2010 to 2013. Simplified rain and water level gauges with monitors will be installed in the 32 communities highlighted by the Hydrology Department of the Fiji Meteorological Service as flood-prone areas.
The equipment will be powered by solar energy and the communities will be given the appropriate training for its management and maintenance. This project aims to build the flood-prone communities’ resilience to natural disasters by providing them with the equipment and knowledge needed to prepare adequately for floods.
2. The Project for Assisting Relocation of Nakoroboya Primary School
The Government of Japan will provide F$212,500 to Nakoroboya Primary School to build two classrooms, an ablution block, teachers’ quarters, and a water supply system at its new location. The school, currently situated in a remote, landslide- and flood-prone area 27 km. from Ba Town, plans to relocate to Nabutini, which is accessible to both the main road and the Nakoroboya settlements.
In addition to the suffering caused the severe damage brought by Cyclone Evan to the school’s bamboo-wall classrooms, students had to risk their safety during the rainy season because in order to get to the school, they had to cross flooded creeks contaminated by spills from toilets and kitchens in the nearby village.
This will no longer be a cause for worry in the new site, which has an uncontaminated water source surveyed by the Water Authority of Fiji. The new buildings and water supply system will be designed to provide a conducive learning environment that prioritises the safety and well-being of the students and teachers alike.
3. The Project for Upgrading of Sigatoka Valley High School
The Government of Japan will provide F$193,362.90 to Sigatoka Valley High School for the construction of an ablution block and a fully-furnished three- classroom block. The school had faced closure warnings from the Health Inspector and the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Team due to the state of its corrugated iron ablution block, while the growing school roll had given rise to crowded classrooms, with some being occupied by more than 60 students. The new buildings will be made of concrete and designed according to the needs of the school community. The three-classroom block will also have an in-built library and office to further enhance the students’ learning experience. This project will benefit 237 students and their parents, who will no longer have to worry about sending their children to a faraway high school due to the closure of the only high school in their area.
4. The Project for Provision of Fire Trucks to National Fire Authority
The Government of Japan will provide F$159,302.94 to the National Fire Authority (NFA) to import two second-hand fire trucks. The two fire trucks will be dispatched to the Levuka Fire Station and the planned Korovou Fire Station respectively. Since the declaration of Levuka as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there has been much concern over the conservation of the historical buildings in the town, which are mostly made of wood.
The Levuka Fire Station’s current fleet of fire trucks no longer have the capacity to respond quickly and efficiently in the event of a fire, prompting NFA to consider replacing its oldest truck with a newer model. Furthermore, another truck was requested for the fire station that NFA is planning to establish in Korovou.
The nearest fire station to the area is one hour away in Nausori, and the recent fire that destroyed the Queen Victoria School dormitory in Korovou intensified the need for a fire station there. These two fire trucks are expected to improve the protection of both the people and infrastructure of Levuka and Korovou.
5. The Project for Upgrading Sanitary Environment in Levuka
The Government of Japan will provide F$184,160.87 to the Levuka Town to purchase a garbage compactor truck and a ride-on lawn mower. As Fiji’s first and only town declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the maintenance of its sanitary environment carries added importance in helping its community cope with the expected rise in tourist arrivals in Levuka.
The current garbage truck in use was also acquired through the GGP Programme in 2002, and its age has greatly affected its efficiency. Recent repairs have cost Levuka Town Council up to F$14,000, and the cost will continue to climb if it is not replaced or supplemented by another truck.
The garbage compactor truck will make the task of solid waste management more effective and efficient, with fewer trips needed to collect all the waste in the town due to the truck’s waste compacting function.
The ride-on lawn mower will help in the beautification of the town by simplifying the task of clearing road grass verges and Nasau Park, which is not only used for sporting events, but also for national functions and celebrations.
This project hopes to contribute to the conservation efforts of the World Heritage Town of Levuka by helping it remain clean and picturesque.