Australia supports "floating classroom"

Australian Government funding of community workshops around Upolu led by the Gaualofa crew over seven weeks will enable the Samoa Voyaging Society to roll out its “floating classroom” project.

According to Sefulu Salesulu from the Civil Society Support Programme [C.S.S.P.], the seven-week journey around Upolu enabled the society to roll out its Developing Samoa’s Floating Classroom Project.

She said the conservation awareness campaigns around the island ended when the double-haul traditional canoe returned to Apia last Friday to conclude the programme.

"The Australian D.F.A.T. (Department of Foreign Affairs) through the Civil Society Support Programme funded the above-mentioned project amount $126,000.00 with the society's contribution of $12,600 makes the project overall total of $138,600 for the duration of 12 months," Ms Salesulu said in an email to this newspaper.

"The C.S.S.P. Call for Proposals for non-governmental organisations 2018/19 through the DFAT Direct Funding Agreement for CSSP Phase II invited all interested non-government organisations to apply with proposed creative initiatives for funding. 

"After the long process of proposal assessments and site visits, C.S.S.P. Steering Committee approved in its meeting on 03rd April 2019, the seven NGO Projects including S.V.S. (Samoa Voyaging Society) under the C.S.S.P. Call for Proposals for NGOs 2018/19."

The funding of the programmes rolled out by the Gaualofa and its crew marks the first time for them to receive Australian government funding, specifically the C.S.S.P.

Due to the measles outbreak last year, the society was unable to deliver their workshops in schools and communities. 

And this year the COVID-19 global pandemic and the state of emergency restrictions that followed also caused delay to the commencement of the society’s planned workshops.

"Now S.V.S. is trying to complete its project activities following government requirements of restrictions," Ms Salesulu added. 

"CSSP is supportive of the Society's activities implementation."

The society’s Developing Samoa's Floating Classroom Project focuses on the preservation of voyaging history and training knowledge through awareness and training programmes on climate change and resilience, and marine and environment conservation with historical values and traditional skills incorporated into the curriculum.

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