Following his first official visit to the friendly north, Ambassador Seam said: ‘‘I visisted projects and met with communities supported by the EU in Vanua Levu. As part of “Team Europe” response to COVID-19, I handed over some important agricultural resources and tools, which will not only help people in these difficult times, but also build the capacity and resilience of local communities to face the impacts of climate change, in line with the European Green Deal.’’
Ambassador Seam launched his visit to the northern division in Nabouwalu on 14 July, with a visit of the Emergency Operation Centre, which was refurbished with the support of the EU under the Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific (BSRP) project.
On 15 July, he met in Labasa with the Tui Macuata, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere and the Commissioner North, Uraina Rainima before handing over the irrigation systems and Disaster Risk Reduction Kits to the Qaloqalovi settlement and Tabia village.
The Ambassador then handed over an irrigation system and a 10,000-litre water tank to the Naravuka settlement to cater for the increasing population. These irrigation systems and water tank will not only enable people to set-up and maintain small farms to support their families and communities during these difficult times, but it will also improve resilience and adaptive capacities of the communities and subsistence to farmers to reduce food and nutrition insecurity and boost capacity of communities on drought adaption.
Ambassador Seam ended his Labasa visit at the Medical Services Pacific (MSP) Clinic. The MSP Clinic provides a broad range of health care, counselling and social services, including public awareness and educational programs with a specialized focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights via their One Stop Shop clinics in Suva and Labasa. MSP receives support from the EU-Funded Fiji Access to Justice Project and was recently awarded a new EU grant, which will allow them, amongst other things to open a new One Stop Shop clinic in Lautoka.
Ambassador Seam commenced his visit of Savusavu by handing over the Village Development Plans (VDPs) to the Cakaudrove Provincial Office. The VDPs have been developed with inputs from the communities with the support of ADRA through the EU-funded Accountability and Monitoring Program and have provided an opportunity for the villagers to become aware of their situation in society, identify issues that need to be changed in order to improve their lives and initiate social change. They ultimately empower the community to become engaged into the decision-making process and to start a dialogue with local authorities in order to achieve the goals that its members have themselves outlined and defined.
Following the handover of the VDPs, the Ambassador travelled to Navatu Secondary School to discuss the impact of the accountability trainings with the Vice Principal and teachers, before he travelled to Korolevu and Koronatoga Village to discover concrete results of the implementation of the program in the communities.
The EU Ambassador concluded his northern division visit at the Justin Hunter Pearl Farm in Savusavu, to see the advancement made by the farm since the establishment of the new pearl hatchery in 2018 with the support of the EU-funded Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade Project (IACT) implemented by the Pacific Community.