The community of Malaemalu are all about preserving their environment for their future generation.
It is located in the rural district of Falealili and situated on the Southeast coast of Upolu Island with an approximate population of 1,400 residents.
Its economy relies mainly on its natural surrounding which is why they have successfully acquired financial assistance from the United Nations Development Programme Global Environment Facility-Small Grants Programme (UNDP GEF-SGP) to conserve their coastal freshwater springs; a mangrove ecosystem area of about ten (10) acres adjacent its existing fish reserve.
The project supports national efforts to conserve the ecosystem and keeping Samoa natural and resilient to natural hazards. The main objective for the project is ‘to rehabilitate and improve the co-management and protection of the degrading mangrove ecosystem of Malaemalu village considering climate change risks, so that it can continue to provide the essential life-supporting goods and services for the villagers’.
The Ali’i and Faipule (chiefs) of Malaemalu recently unveiled their signages which signals the progress of their efforts into conserving their marine ecosystem. The village council have also taken the extra measure to set out by-laws to protect their conservation efforts.
Speaking about the success and progress of the project was a member of the community Mr. Siliniu Sabu. The community is extremely thankful for the project as it has given light to the many species of mangroves grown in their marine eco-system.
“This project has truly showcased the importance of conserving our marine ecosystem as we have realized that it is home to various species of mangroves.
This was indicated in the mangrove audit conducted by an independent consultant as part of the continuous support of the MNRE Division of Environment and Conservation and the MAF Fisheries Division for the implementation of the village mangrove and marine management plans”, said Mr Sabu.
“It has been a lengthy process of three years since we initiated the project and we are seeing the positive impacts of the conservation with increased marine species present in the ecosystem together with a resilient coastal community from natural hazards which is a positive way forward for our future generations” – he added.
Praising the work of the village for their exceptional work was UNDP GEF-SGP representative Ms. Ofusina Ieremia stating that Malaemalu is on the right path for success.
“Community resilience and conservation efforts takes time and patience to realistically produce results, in which the village of Malaemalu has achieved with the conservation of their mangrove and marine protected area,” said Ms. Ieremia
The project will continue with the next phase of implementation through enforcement of its village by-laws and injecting a small eco-tourism site near the conservation area for sight-seeing and snorkelling, which can help sustain the initiative in the long run.