A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between the Mali Development Committee (MDC) and WWF South Pacific that will ensure the continued sustainable management of Mali district’s natural resources and subsequently the Great Sea Reef.
Under this MOU, WWF-South Pacific hopes to foster a partnership with the Mali District Committee to enhance the strengthening of the Committee’s self-financing ability so as to ensure that it is able to operate independently in the long term.
This will be facilitated by a match funding clause that stipulates WWF South Pacific will match dollar for dollar the Mali Development Committee’s fundraising efforts should they raise $10,000, by December 2014.
Furthermore the signed agreement will ensure the continuing maintenance and monitoring of protected areas in the Macuata Qoliqoli Cokovata and the successful and effective implementation of the Mali district’s 20 Year Development Plan.
As a prelude to the signing of the MOU, a two day training workshop was facilitated by WWF South Pacific in the areas of financial literacy targeted at the youths and women of the Mali District and a leadership training program for the members of the Mali District Committee.
WWF Pacific Representative Kesaia Tabunakawai represented the organisation at the signing and said she looked forward to working with the district of Mali.
“Mali is a critical conservation focus for WWF South Pacific and that is why district level management of the i- qoliqoli is being trialled here and we hope to duplicate the success stories from Mali to our other communities project sites WWF is working in,” she said.
Signing on behalf of the MDC, Chairman Savenaca Koliniwai said he was thankful for WWF’s efforts to aid in the development of Mali.
Speaking in the Macuata dialect Mr Koliniwai said many times the Mali district was often forgotten by the government in terms of development, but WWF has been unwavering in their support and capacity building and this is evident in the ten years they have been working with the four villagers of the district, as part of the Qoliqoli Cokovata community.
He added the MOU would facilitate the continued protection and sustainable management of their qoliqoli, which is a source of their livelihood.
The MOU signing process was also witnessed by partner organisation representatives, Department of Fisheries, Police Department and Fiji Community Development Program. This was an attempt to strengthen the ties of the local community to the departments that are key to the protection of the qoliqoli.
The signing also included the handing over of various simple-to-handle hi-tech fish warden equipment to the Mali Development Committee. This will aid the district’s fish wardens’ efforts to curb fish poaching in their MPA. This is an activity under the AusAID funded project that seeks to improve better local enforcement and compliance within the Mali fishing grounds.
The Mali Development Committee is a communal body made up of representatives from the four villages that make up the district of Mali, namely Vesi, Matailabasa, Nakawaga and Ligaulevu. The Committee is also tasked to ensure the successful implementation of the district’s 20 year development plan.
The work by the Mali District based fish wardens to manage fishing activities around Mali waters is done for the benefit of the members of the Qoliqoli Cokovata of Macuata, living in 40 villages scattered over the districts of Dreketi, Macuata, Sasa and Mali.
SOURCE: PRESS RELEASE