Sustainability the way forward

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Tokelau youth and members of the community with the late Seumanutafa Dr. Malcolm Hazelman. Photo Credit: Kaumai te Keyhole garden ki Tokelau Facebook Page.

Tokelau youth and members of the community with the late Seumanutafa Dr. Malcolm Hazelman. Photo Credit: Kaumai te Keyhole garden ki Tokelau Facebook Page.

PR - Tokelau is an atoll nation prone to the adverse impacts of extreme weather conditions (particularly tropical cyclones), climate variability (particularly drought), climate change and rising sea-level. The most significant climate change impacts on Tokelau’s communities will be on water and food security, community assets and infrastructure, reef and lagoon ecology.

To combat these adverse changes – Tokelau initiated a youth led keyhole gardening project funded by the United Nations Development Programme Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (UNDP GEF-SGP). The project aims at strengthening resilience of the villages to climate change by improving water and soil management, improving food growing technologies which are suitable to Tokelau conditions and diversification of food/ vegetable varieties.

The project lasted for two years where about ninety young people from three atolls were engaged in promoting and peer educating in climate change adaptation measures. It has encouraged Tokelauan youths which make up 18 percent of the population to engage in creative and contributory tasks like gardening competitions, debate and peer education.  

Since the initiation of the project in 2016, a total of 75 keyhole gardens have been established in Tokelau, led by youths and the community.  

Stressing the importance of the project for Tokelau, especially to the youth was Mr Mikaele Maiava, mentor of the Tokelau Youth project Bringing Keyhole Garden to Tokelau stating that it shows the resilience of the Tokelau community.

“The project proves that no matter the challenges we face with our soil, we can be innovative in the ways of improving and making our own soil to grow healthy vegetables. 

Growing our own source of vegetables does not only bring health benefits to our people but also mitigate and adapt to climate change. It is also a good therapy for the soul”, said Mr Mikaele.

Expressing appreciation for the efforts of the Tokelaun community was UNDP/GEF SGP representative Ofusina Ieremia stating that community’s leadership through the youth group of Tokelau stood out in this initiaitive. 

“Youth taking the lead through their climate actions and resilience to climate change and its impacts of food security and livelihood was proven successful through the installation of these key hole gardens methodologies in the three atolls”, said Ms Ieremia. 

The youth led climate resilience project will move forward while inspiring other communities, organisations and/or governments on doing similar projects.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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