Building community resilience – Planting vetiver grass in Fiji

In Vunivau village in Labasa, Fiji community members gathered to plant vetiver grass along the Nasuva creek.  This marked the first on-ground implementation of the Soasoa/Vunivau/Basoga Integrated Watershed Management Plan (IWMP).

The villagers of Vunivau, and their neighbouring communities are leading the charge in implementing nature-based solutions to scale up adaptation and build resilience to climate change. The European Union funded Global Climate Change Plus Scaling Up Pacific Adaptation (GCCA+ SUPA) project, together with the Fiji Ministry of Waterways have been building a working relationship with these communities to identify nature-based solutions to address some of these problems.

ⒸGCCA+ SUPA Fiji
GCCA+ SUPA

With the ability to adapt to different environmental conditions and soil types, the inexpensive tropical vetiver grass has an extensive fibrous root system which penetrates deep down into different layers of soil textures at great depth. Dubbed the ‘miracle grass’ its fibrous roots can hold soil particles together and help control soil erosion.

“The SUPA Project has not only brought the villagers of Vunivau together, but also the wider communities as a whole including the women, youth and children in planting the vetiver grass,” said Mareta Vukiwai, President of the Vunivau Women’s Group.

In recent years, the lack of appropriate infrastructure, poor solid waste management, riverbank erosion and sedimentation together with the impacts of climate change have caused major flooding in these communities. Frequent flooding events have continued to threaten their daily livelihoods with increased exposure to diseases such as dengue fever, typhoid and leptospirosis.

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