Samoa continues to move forward on its commitment to the ocean, following the launch of the Samoa Ocean Strategy. Samoans know that the future of our beautiful Island is in the hands of our children, and therefore teaching them the importance of what it takes to live sustainably on an Island, is of paramount importance to our way of life. This is what the “Guardians – Tausi lou Fa’asinomaga – or know and preserve your identity” campaign embodies. Conservation Society continues to provide ongoing support and technical inputs.The Guardians holistic program is made possible through a consortium collaboration of partners, through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Japanese Fund in Trust (JFIT) Education for Sustainable Development Program in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture.
As the Guardians Va’a based environmental program continued along the South coast of Upolu, following on from their delivery in Lefaga and Safata districts, the program achieved another milestone as it completed its third site this year. It brought a fun filled educational week to the district of Falealili from 26th to the 30th of October. The development of learning resources and implementation with community and school engagement was coordinated by the Conservation International and the Samoa Voyaging Society (through direct support from Samoa’s Civil Society Support Program). This initiative is the collective work of by the Samoa Government ministries including MNRE, MAF, as well as Youth Climate Action Network and the community.
The program was based at Poutasi and it engaged the seven primary schools from the Falealili district, namely Si’umu, Saleilua, Vaovai, Satalo, Sapunaoa, Salesātele, and Salani.
Nine teachers, 103 students, and 8 parents participated in the program. The participants spent the week rotating through different modules designed with learning resources specifically developed for a sustainable Pacific – educating through fun hands-on experiential modules on important environmental concepts and issues while modelling positive behaviours needed to assist Samoa in achieving our SDG’s. This concept was aptly articulated from a prayer by Mr Pi on Day 1 – “the prophet calls for us to expand our roofs. This implies that there is already a roof in place. Like us today, we have information on the environment with us. We need to understand our environment more so we can see the value in protecting it for us today and also for future generations“.
This enhanced understanding was achieved in the five themes the program covered throughout the week. These included – Being Wise Fishers, Traditional Samoan Voyagers, Coral Champions, Tree Guardians and Trash Stars.
Although the weather in Falealili was unsettled, this did not deter the participants’ enthusiasm for the program. One woman villager commented, “Its great doing work around here and be entertained by the children’s singing and chants. We are also learning a lot from the kids activities by just listening in. It’s very nice!”.
According to the students the campaign was a great experience, with many commenting that they loved how the lessons were educational while also fun and exciting. “I know more about rubbish and the difference between organic and inorganic. From the trash star module I learnt about how I can help the environment have little rubbish by doing the 5 Rs (Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and return). The songs helped me remember!” (Doris M, Sapunaoa Pri School).
Malo lava to all partners for this important initiative in securing Samoa’s natural resources.