Sustainable Development Plan sets the tone for development
This is the experience, recalled by Tito Elo, the catechist of Namatayalevu village on Yaqeta Island which is one of the seven villages that forms Nacula district.
Tito served as the district representative (mata-ni-tikina) of Nacula, 13 years ago, for 10 years.
For Tito, he never thought he would see the day where his district, would formulate its first ever 20 Year Sustainable Development Plan (2018-2038).
“Before and during my time as district representative from 2005-2015, I never thought I would witness the district have their very own sustainable development plan. Before, it was just the district representative and the seven village headmen holding discussions for any development and each community had to carry out their own fundraising for any development within their community,” said Tito.
The former district representative, says the biggest win now, is that every stakeholder has been part of the planning phase.
“It is a way easier now, as there is a collective input from every community, along with stakeholders and Government. Nowadays, with the current developments taking place rapidly, there is a great need for everyone’s input.”
“Previously, there was no plan and I had to work with the village headmen on any development and then communities had to fundraise around one-third of the cost with Government subsidizing the rest. Now, the committee will be able to work together to find avenues to generate funds and with Government on board, it should be much easier to access funding,” added Tito.
Not to undermine the work that has been done in the past, Tito adds few developments have taken place.
“Housing, electricity and access to water has improved over the years. I mean it is a bit better now compared to before. There are quite a number of houses that are now cyclone proof as here in the Yasawas, this is usually a prone area for cyclones and heavy winds. Most villages also now have access to electricity and have access to water tanks or water carting systems in their village.”
“So developments have been made but I think with our 20 Year Sustainable Development Plan, progress and such developments can be made a bit faster and not only that, progress will be done in a more sustainable way,” highlighted Tito.
The formulation of the Nacula District Sustainable Development Plan has also seen the formulation of a committee to oversee the implementation of the 20 Year Plan.
The committee consists of a chair, vice chair, seven village headmen, seven village women representatives and seven village youth representatives.
According to committee vice chair, Joseva Ratubalavu of Nacula village, the onus now is for the committee to work together to move forward and achieve the goals of the 2018-2038 Sustainable Development Plan.
“It’s a good plan because it safeguards the upcoming younger generation, we need to work together to meet the targets. This is to insure the future generations are able to enjoy the benefits that we never really had.
The development of this Sustainable Development Plan is a partnership between the communities of Nacula district, relevant stakeholders, Government and the World Wide Fund for Nature – Pacific (WWF-Pacific) through its USAID Pacific American Climate Fund (PACAM) and German funded ‘Living with Change: Resilient Mangroves, Fisheries and People of Fiji and PNG’ projects.
The Nacula District Sustainable Development Plan will be launched in the first week of August, 2018.