Story and photos by Alvaro Hoyos Ramos
Communication Officer of the Adaptation Fund
The Faleu Manono wharf reconstruction
A tsunami in 2009 and a cyclone in 2012 have badly damaged the physical infrastructure and negatively affected the lifestyle of the inhabitants at Faleu Manono in Samoa.
Now, a climate resilient wharf ensures safer and better access thanks to a multi-donor partnership between the Government of Samoa, the Adaptation Fund-UNDP, Government of New Zealand, Government of Canada and the Mormon Welfare Society, as well as the generous in-kind contribution from the village.
The “Enhancing Resilience to Climate Change” project implemented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and supported by UNDP has provided the funds for the Small Grants managed by the Ministry of Finance through the Civil Society Support Programme to increase safety, improve access to education and boost sustainable tourism revenue sources.
Mr. Lesa Komeniko, village Matai at Faleū in an interview with the Adaptation Fund communication officer stated that since he was a young man “climate change has changed the life on the island, with more frequent extreme weather and heavy erosion to our property, and since boats don’t run on bad weather conditions, this is causing higher school absenteeism among our children”.
The need for a new wharf was identified by the community of Aiga le Tai as a priority activity in the Community Integrated Management Plan (CIMP) of Aiga le Tai District and the village of Faleū Tai, to improve interisland transportation, security and access to services.
The CIM Plans are a genuine partnership between districts, villages and the government in the integrated management of Infrastructure, Natural Environment and Resources; Livelihoods and Food security; and Village Governance.
A consultative and participatory process was undertaken where communities prioritise their own development needs under government facilitation and expertise, ensuring the active participation of women, youth and untitled men to achieve the greatest ownership.
The Civil Society Support Programme (CSSP) participates in the implementation of the CIM Plans with a Small Grant Programme that contributed SAT $50,000.00 from the Adaptation Fund, thanks to the Enhancing Resilience to Climate Change project implemented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and supported by the United Nations Development Programme.
Additional financial support was sought and provided for by the Mormon Welfare Society, Samoa Ports Authority, Government of Canada (Canada Fund), the Government of New Zealand and the private sector, through support from Hamrock Construction as the total cost of re-building was over four times higher.
Since the total cost to re-build the wharf was $226,436 WST, the community fundraised under a novel partnership between The Mormon Welfare Society, $25,000; Samoa Ports Authority, $50,000; Government of Canada (Canada Fund), $62,723; the Government of New Zealand (High Commission), $25,000, and the private sector, that contributed with $1,000 thanks to Hamrock Construction.
“The most important donation always comes from the village, as a requirement to get funded by CSSP as this guarantees a high level of ownership by the village” comments Theresa Masoe-Taimalelagi, Programme Manager of CSSP, and on this occasion, Faleū Manono generously contributed with a total of $12,713.
“It was very slippery!” screamed the young Ms Aniva Clarke while explaining how climate change and king tides has affected the community “well, because there is so much more water, tides start getting much bigger” explains the teenager who has just started her own Eco Toa environmental youth group at school.
She is happy about the new development because “It will help the village have better transportation and they won’t slip on the new jetty!”
“The rising sea levels are eating up the land in Manono…and there is concern we have to protect whatever land we have left” stated Ms. Leiataualesa Kilali Alailima, Project Manager of the Faleū Village Development Committee, while pointing to a shattered solar “this house used to be for the Women Committee but was destroyed after cyclone Evan.”
According to Ms Alailima, the project makes the wharf a lot safer. “The previous wharf was completely gone and people had to climb over the rocks to get to the island which is not easy for women, children, disabled and the elderly”.
“More frequent rains and more severe weather affects children who have to commute from the jetty. School absenteeism was becoming an issue and that is why the project also built a safe pavilion so that children can stay dry and safe while waiting for the boat” added Ms Alailima.
“Fishermen also claim it is harder to find good weather to go fishing, and that has obviously impacted the economy. That is why we are looking at tourism as another revenue income”.
“We are looking at funding opportunities to implement the Community Integrated Management Plan and improve our resilience to better sustain our lifestyle, and feel extremely grateful to all our donors as this new wharf will increase safety for our people, a better future for our school children, and will allow us to welcome more tourists.”