Changing climate patterns is becoming more and more difficult for us to accurately predict and plan for the next season,” says Joshua To’osi, 51, of Rara village in east Areare, Malaita.
Rara is a coastal village of more than 100 people with homes located only 20 metres above sea level.
Joshua, like most people in his village, lives off of subsistence fishing and agriculture.
Unpredictable rainfall patterns and the effects of climate change, such as salt intrusion and rising sea levels, has affected his ability to provide sufficient food for his wife and six children.
In 2010, World Vision started a Community Resilience and Livelihoods project to help communities like Rara prepare for and mitigate the risks of climate change that impact their lives and livelihoods.
The community worked together to draw up a Community Based Disaster Risk Management plan to reduce the impact of climate changes and associated natural hazards.
As part of the plan, the community started planting a variety of trees along the shoreline to prevent soil erosion.
“After sometime all the trees we planted were gone, washed away,” Joshua laughs.
“Our next plan was to build seawalls from rocks but the community was not very keen to go ahead with this knowing very well that the stone wall cannot withstand the nature’s ferocity.”
Joshua says the best option now is to move to higher ground.
“The shoreline used to be 20 metres from here,” he said as he pointed to the waves where the beach once was.
“Five houses that used to stand here have now been relocated to higher ground because of the threat posed by the rising water level.”
The Community Resilience and Livelihoods Project along with other World Vision projects including a Community Economic Development project and a project on Maternal Child Health and Nutrition, has encouraged the community to plant crops and vegetables around their homes to alleviate food shortage.
As part of the Community Economic Development project, a farm school was set up where the community has learnt farming skills such as soil preparation, crop types and crop rotation.
Rebecca Supa’au, 30 and mother of three, said her family now depend on the crops and vegetables they grow around their home.
“We had to do this as our food gardens have been destroyed by landslides and erosion.”
Joshua said that communities have no choice but to adapt to the changing conditions in and around their community
“If it’s beyond our control then we’ll just have to adapt and World Vision is helping us to do just that.”
More than 4,000 people in 15 communities in south Malaita have benefitted from the project over the past four years.
World Vision, with funding from the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) and World Vision Australia, has worked with provincial and national stakeholders to implement the four-year project.
Source: World Vision