The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee advances human rights through grassroots collaborations.
Kioa Island Community Organization
LOCATION: Vanua Levu, Western, Fiji
Kioa Island is offshore from Vanua Levu, one of Fiji’s two main islands. Situated at Buca Bay, Kioa is 11.5 miles long and mountainous, with steep wooded and volcanic slopes and fertile soils. The island of Kioa was occupied by a Fiji mataqali, or clan, called Salia. Kioa was purchased in 1946 by the 110 matai, the people of Vaitupu in Tuvalu. At present, the population of Kioa is less than 400 people. Kioa Island Community Organization (KICO), was established in 2015 to address the following issues faced by the people of this island: internal displacement due to climate change, food and water insecurity, and women’s equity in business.
UUSC is the first organization to support the people of Kioa since they settled on the island in 1946. UUSC’s support to KICO will help the organization implement their strategic plan for the next five years. This plan focuses on strengthening climate resilience and pursuing economic development through local producers. Among its elements are agro-forestry training to ensure that Kioans are well equipped with the latest planting techniques that are climate tolerant, and community farming and replanting to engage in the replanting of coconut, kava, taro, cassava, and sandalwood.
KICO aims to prepare Kioa to be more climate resilient and ensure sufficient food is available if worse comes to worst. In the event people from Vaitupu and Tuvalu have to relocate to Kioa, they will be ready to support their fellow Tuvaluans. Overall, they hope that their work will help Kioans feel secure in their own homes so that their children will be able to live on and be sustained by their own ancestral lands.
Image Credit: Kioa Island Community Organization