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Nov 8, 2018

Happy Chickens for the Remote Islands of Taveuni and Kadavu

Workshop Participants, with trainees and PCVs
Workshop Participants, with trainees and PCVs

We just last week finished up two weeks of training for 22 traines - seven men from Kadavu, seven women from Taveuni, and joined on the second week by eight from a local NGO who work with communities in the provinces of Tailevu and Naitasiri.

The Kadavu trainees arrived after one full day of travel by boat and bus, while the Taveuni women travelled for two whole days to get the the farm- three hours by boat to Vanua Levu, then a six hour bus ride acoss the island, a seven hour ferry ride to Suva, and a three hour bus ride to the farm. 

Two US Peace Corps volunteers, Courtney stationed on Taveuni, and Wade stationed on Kadavu, organized the communties and will be folloing up over the next year to help ensure project success. Much of the cost was covered by grants from the Fiji PC Offiice. 

After five days of Happy Chicken training, we began additional livelihoods traing, which included virgin coconut oil production and soap making. 

We sent with the communities larger four-week old chicks that we had raised up, 130 for Kadavu and 75 for Taveuni.  The goal is to create breeding flocks to increase the project.  We aso sent with the trainees materials for a mobile rearing pen, chicken feed, and cuttings of perrenial plants grown as feed sources for the chickens: Moringa and Costus.  The chickens and associated costs were all covered by donations through GlobalGiving.

The participants left us happy and encouraged and full of hope for the future. We have received word that all of the chicks made it safely to their respective destinations.

An additional 45 of these larger chicks were sent last week to Beqa to the women's group there who were trained earlier in the year.  An additional 75 chicks- now five weeks old, will go up into the interrior of Naitasiri nt week, to the trained communities.  We are very busy!

Thanks so much for touching these communities and helpng make this all possible.

Austin 

  

Chicks packed for Taveuni
Chicks packed for Taveuni
Peek a boo
Peek a boo
Three hours to the Suva Wharf
Three hours to the Suva Wharf
Suva Wharf, Giving Water and Food
Suva Wharf, Giving Water and Food
Safe in the hold
Safe in the hold
Nov 7, 2018

Cyclone Impacted Women Receive Livelihood Training

Soap Making
Soap Making

Seven women came to the farm from the cyclone affected area of southern Taveuni island for Happy Chicken traing and they returned home last week after twelve days, with lots of new knowldege as well as with the chickens to start up their own breeding flocks and local egg cooperative business. 

In addition to the poultry training, the women also received training in sustainable livelihoods, such as virgin coconut oil production, coconut cheeze and vinegar production, and permaculture.

Taveuni and all the cyclone hit areas of Fiji are recovering well now, and so this project will soon be merged with the main Happy Chicken project.  Much more is being done as the need for sustainabe, locally based production is great, providing much needed protein to chldren and rural families. We have already produced over seven tousand chcks since May, for a total of about 30 thousand produced in five years. The impact is much greater when we realize that many of these chickens are now breeding and procucing chicks ftheir own. We also have sent out four 90-egg incubators around Fiji and three to Vanuatu.  

Thanks so much for your continued assistance and helping make this work possible, 

Austin

Taveuni Women Power
Taveuni Women Power
Virgin Coconut Oil Production
Virgin Coconut Oil Production
Some Workshop Participants
Some Workshop Participants
Dawn over the workshop
Dawn over the workshop
Oct 29, 2018

Tuvalu and Kiribati Coral Bleaching Emergency

Dear Friends,

Yet another mass coral bleaching emergency has emerged on the equator north of Fiji, and has already hit the Marshall Islands and Kiribati, and is now moving south into Tuvalu.  By February the severe coral bleaching will likely reach PNG, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Samoa, and other islands and reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef in Australia as well as man of Indonesia's reefs. 

This is the third major Pacific-wide mass bleachig event in the past four years.  It seems that we have entered new territory- over a tipping point for coral reefs.  An animated graphic of the bleaching forcast can be found at this link.  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-26/great-barrier-reef-likely-hit-by-another-bleaching-this-summer/10428298?fbclid=IwAR39fIKl4IZG84lwbhY2Dt39X5wR20b6GAfT6iiV19nEsaCIzPvs_Zl76Bw&pfmredir=sm 

Despite two severe mass bleaching events back to back, and two proposals I have submitted to begin the coral work on the Great Barrier Reef, the funding needed to assist that area has not yet been found. The donors decided instead to fund 3-D printed artificial reefs, giant fans to cool the waters, cloud brightening, and robots to spread coral larvae around, rather than coral restoration methods proven to work, focusing on protecting and propagating the few bleaching resistant coral survivors.

However we refuse to be discouraged, and in a new development, the Government of Tuvalu recently funded our project.  In September, a new coral nursery was established on Funafuti Atoll, and filled with bleaching resistant corals taken from hot pockets in lagoons and extreme shalow areas of the reef.  Staff from the Fisheries and Environment ministries were trained and the work continues even in my absence.  I have offered to return next month to assist Tuvalu, and I have already purchased tickets to Christmas Island Kiribati to prepare our coral nursery there for the approaching bleaching, and to rescure corals from vulnerable reef flats that we expect might will get far too hot for anything to survive by January. 

We are also trialing a new technque which shows great promise in actually preventing bleaching- treating the corals with Iron Chelate- which helps prevent the formation of toxic oxygen in the cells during the hot water event.  Hopefully the resuts will come in early enough to share the technique to prepare corals on the Great Barrier Reef and Fiji etc for the forcast Februray/March mass bleaching. 

Your donations help make this work possible..... and so we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!   Hopefully we will get the support we need from grants by next year- but in the mean time- it has been YOU who have been so critical in saving the coral reefs. 

Vinaka Vakalevu

 
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