Island Project News in Kosrae, Cook Islands, Madagascar and Fiji
Seacology receives updates from our island projects weekly. Here are a few from the last couple of weeks. In Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia, Seacology funded the installation of a solar power energy system for the Utwe Walung Marine Park community center in 2000. The solar system had not been working for some time due to the lack of current community member training on the system's maintenance and the harsh weather conditions on the system's batteries. A cement building has been built to house the batteries and Seacology is providing a second grant to repair the system and provide a training session. Work is scheduled to begin in late October.
On Atiu Island, Cook Islands, an opening ceremony was held on September 21st for the brand new geriatric house for community members. This housing was built with Seacology funds in support of the community's decision to establish a 297-acre wildlife sanctuary and five mile restricted fishing zone on Takutea Island for twenty years. Two hundred members of the community attended the event as well as a member of Parliament, the Atiu Mayor and the Atiu Secretary. Field representative Allan Tuara spoke on behalf of Seacology and had the honor of turning the key to declare the building open.
In the Mongoro Region of Madagascar, Seacology is funding the repair of ten primary schools in exchange for the communities' decision to protect ten Madagascar Flying Fox roosts totaling 321 acres. As of early October eight of the ten schools are nearing repair completion and two more are scheduled to be completed by the end of November. An education component of the project involving a flying fox conservation art competition is scheduled to begin in early 2008 with a winning piece being presented by members of the Seacology 2008 expedition.
Finally, in the villages of Veivatuloa, Labau and Wailoaloa, Viti Levu Island, Fiji, field representative Saula Vodonaivalu Jr. reports that in September Seacology's project to connect the three villages to the island power grid in support of their establishment of a 1,500-acre forest preserve for twenty years and a 4,942-acre marine reserve for ten years has been completed. This was a long time coming as the Fiji Electrical Authority had delayed final connection to the villages for several years. Electricity is now being supplied to village houses and Saula Vodonaivalu Jr. reports that villagers are very happy with the new system.