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River Care Project

Live & Learn Environmental Education is a non-government, non-profit organization, which aims to promote greater understanding of environmental and human sustainability through education and communication. It has offices in Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. More information is available on their website.

Monitoring river water quality, Fiji (Photo credit Live and Learn)

River Care, one of Live and Learn's activities, aims to strengthen the capacity of educators and teachers to facilitate learning processes which empower young people to identify, investigate and take action to protect rivers and waterways. River Care published resources include fact sheets, posters and lesson plans. The River Care Project has been successful in Fiji, where it is active with 16-18 year olds in 80 Fijian schools, and is being expanded to the Solomon Islands. The project involves a research and monitoring component, which is then used to mobilise community action. For example, students at the All Saints Secondary School at Labasa found that after 12 weeks of sampling and investigations, the Qawa River was highly contaminated. This was due to discharges from the sugar mill and the power station, and that furthermore almost every individual living near the river had contributed to its contamination. The students had conveyed their findings to the officials at the sugar mill and to local authorities and they had made a presentation during one of the Small Islands Voice Community Outreach 'Open Days' organised by the University of the South Pacific.

The River Care project in Fiji works closely with the Curriculum Development Unit of the Ministry of Education. There is a River Care newsletter - 'Ripples'.

Following a Sandwatch training workshop in Fiji in December 2005, Live and Learn has received funding from Vodaphone to expand their River Care project over a three-year period (2006-2008) and to start Sandwatch activities with several coastal groups - schools and communities - in Fiji.

Both initiatives, River Care and Sandwatch, have similarities in that they use environmental monitoring as an entry point to focus on community and social issues.

 

To get involved, contact :

 
 

Dr. Kanayathu C. Koshy
Director
Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development,
University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji.
T 679 321 2184
F 679 330 9176
koshy_k@usp.ac.fj

 

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