'Open Day' Consultations
Centre for Sustainable Development at the University of the South
Pacific has been working in the field of community outreach and
awareness building for some time. Through the Chemistry Outreach
to Schools (COTS) programme, university students are trained to
give public seminars and discussions in schools on a variety of
contemporary environmental issues. This work is carried out in
Fiji as well as in the students' home countries, e.g. Solomon
Islands, Samoa and Kiribati. What makes COTS very special is the
fact that it is designed to be a programme of the students for
the students and by the students.
Futures Society is also working in the field of awareness and
education particularly as regards sustainable management of coral
reefs and their associated fisheries. In 2002, the Ocean Futures
Society and COTS linked up to work together to popularise sustainable
development ideas in the Pacific.
second half of 2003, the Pacific Centre for Sustainable Development
used the foundation laid by these initiatives to develop a new
partnership with Small Islands Voice to listen to the voices of
communities of the Pacific islands, to understand their concerns
about sustainable development at the local level, and to encourage
natural resource conservation activities.
As a first
step, three major 'Open Days' were held on Saturdays
in August/September 2003 in Suva, Lautoka and Labasa involving
schools, their neighbouring village communities and youth groups
active in the area. The results of the Open Days and the issues
emerging are available in a report.
During the 'open days', discussions were directed towards specific
activities that could be undertaken by the communities at the
local level. One of the major ideas to emerge is the "Clean X"
concept. This has already borne fruit with two villages outside
Suva participating in the "Clean Village" programme.