Poutasi church youth launch tree planting initiative

A church youth group planted close to 500 trees recently in a bid to build the resilience of their community to mitigate the long-term impact of climate change.

The Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S.)-run Poutasi Youth planted 474 native coastal trees around the village’s spring last weekend.

The Poutasi Youth Secretary, Pauleen Alatupe, said they have an obligation to keep their young people engaged and to provide them support.

“Not only that we show respect to nature by planting a total of 474 native coastal trees around the community Lupeuluiva spring provided by M.N.R.E (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment),” she said. “But we also managed to complete our task of visiting every Youth member’s families from within Poutasi. This is our obligation and commitment to engage the youth and give them support where it is needed to make a change for the better.”

Members of the church youth were also delighted to see the efforts of families’ vegetable gardens, where different types of vegetables were grown and awareness was done on their health benefits.

A total of 21 different vegetables was recorded and range from various types of leafy greens, cruciferous, marrow, root, and alliums. All the vegetable supplies were bought from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Crops Division at Nuu and Poutasi, with others coming from families who own plantations or had their own gardens in the village.

Poutasi Youth President, Rev. Enoka Seuseu Aperaamo, said the program is designed to start small with the youth group members developing their own family lands and encouraging families to work together to support each other.

"In this time of the ongoing crisis with COVID-19 and the various initiatives provided by the Government to encourage our communities to be resilient against the impacts of a changing climate, this is the time for us to act without worrying so much on overseas aid programmes to keep us on our feet," he said.

The M.N.R.E Parks and Reserves Officer, Moeumu Uili, told the Samoa Observer that the youth are thankful for the assistance as the group had wanted to be part of other Government initiatives like the Two Million Trees campaign.

"This is the first programme that they are doing right now and they are looking at improving it. They want everyone to contribute and to work together and be part of that voice within the community that they can work together, they can contribute to the village development and be part of the whole initiative for the village," Ms. Uili said in an interview.

Ms. Uili added that when the lockdown commenced, everyone went back to their plantations, which indirectly helped the youth as some were not able to attend school and a few people had lost their jobs.

She said this was another opportunity for them as the youth group is looking at setting up a small vendors scheme in the village to sell their crops, and singled out the work of the Poutasi youth and its benefits in the fight against climate change. 

"I am grateful that they have that mindset and they are willing to do something. Not only do they understand what is happening around us but they also try to do something about it," she said. "Having a day to plant almost 500 trees that will contribute to Samoa and the more they do that, the more they will encourage youth from within the neighboring villages. I am thankful that the president and members of the youth as well as the church minister for supporting the youth during this programme.”

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