Samoan villagers receive grants for locally-driven climate adaptation initiatives

6 July, 2017, Apia – The Government of Samoa, through its Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment, along with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has awarded 12 small grants to support community-driven climate change adaptation in villages across Savaii island. The grants kick start the procurement of goods and services needed for the implementation of community-based climate resilience projects.

“Our village is very fortunate to be one of the 12 successful proposals. We are looking forward to being able to deliver clean and safe drinking water to the whole of our community,” said Seuamuli Fasi of Fagamalo village. 

“Hats off to the Government of Samoa as well as the UNDP office for providing this initiative, helping small communities such as ours to cater to some of our most crucial development needs,” said Asau village representative, Foilagi Masoe.

Like many Small Island Developing States, Samoa is highly vulnerable to climate change, from the impacts of sea-level rise – including inundation and costal erosion – to the ramifications of more frequent and intense tropical storms, to the implications of more rainfall and higher temperatures for health. Building resilience is a key priority for the Government. 
 
Responding to the risks, the UNDP-supported project, 'Enhancing Resilience of Coastal Communities of Samoa to Climate Change', funded by the Adaptation Fund is a five-year project focused on addressing key issues at the national and community-level. A component of the project is a small grants programme.

Through this compontent, community-based organizations are able to receive financial assistance in the form of grants up to the amount SAT $50,000 (approximately US$19,000) disbursed over the course of up to four months. The grants cover projects related to sustainable forest management, mangrove conservation and rainfall catchment systems.

“Close to the land and ocean, Samoans personally feel the impacts of climate change every day. These grants offer an opportunity for communities to directly access financial support for addressing their own local priorities relating to climate adaptation,” said Taupa’ū Joseph Mulipola, Grant Facility Manager for Civil Society Support Programme.
 
Among the successful applications were separate proposals for water harvesting and storage systems in the villages of Saasaai, Lalomalava, Gataivai, Niu Malae and Sapini, Faga and Fatausi, a proposal from the villages of Eveeve & Vaimaga to construct a properly-designed barrier to stop high waves from overtopping the existing wall, a proposal in Sataua to “climate-proof” the village’s primary school building as a safe haven during severe storms,  and a proposal by villagers in Asaga to improve and protect the local mangrove forest.

“The process to apply for these grants was challenging and competitive – to be eligible, applicants needed to demonstrate a good understanding of the climate-related problems that are affecting their communities and propose innovative measures or actions to help their communities build resilience,” said Mulipola. “Strong community engagement and governance structures will ensure the sustainability of the projects and that the beneficiaries include the most vulnerable groups. 

“Community interest was high – we received 23 applications in total. We congratulate those who both applied for and were successful in securing a grant and helping their country and their neighbours to build their resilience to impacts of climate change.”

Small grants for community-driven environmental projects have proven successful in the past in Samoa, including in vegetation planning. The Adaptation Fund grants draw on the experiences and lessons of these past schemes, allowing for the scaling up of local climate change adaptation initiatives.

Earlier this year in Savaii and Upolu, the Civil Society Support Programme, in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, conducted application-writing workshops for community members. With this support, interested applicants were able to be well-equipped with the necessary information to compile proposals for building their resilience to the impacts of natural disasters. The proposals from communities will now better highlight innovative adaptation measures that address areas of priority that is in line with the Government’s Community Integrated Management Plans review.

Grantees will be supported throughout implementation of their projects over the coming three months, including through regular site visits, opportunities to share ideas and experiences with other community members and organizations, and networking with relevant government and civil society organizations.

Before signing their contracts, grantees attended an orientation processm led by Taupa’ū Joseph Mulipola, in which the recipient villages were briefed on what the next step is in terms of procurement and implementation process.

Disbursement of money and implementation is expected to start once all the proper paperwork is finalized.

Photos and video available for download from Civil Society Support Program Facebook page or by contacting Jordanna Mareko at jordanna.mareko@cssp.gov.ws, telephone 24617 ext 16.

For more information on the project, ‘Enhancing Resilience of Coastal Communities of Samoa to Climate Change’, please visit the project homepage on UNDP's Adaptation Portal or CSSP Samoa website - for updates, follow @UNDPSamoa on Twitter and Facebook
 
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UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.
 
Established under the Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Adaptation Fund finances projects and programmes that help vulnerable communities in developing countries adapt to climate change.
 
The Samoan Government-led, UNDP-supported, project, ‘Enhancing Resilience of Coastal Communities of Samoa to Climate Change’, was approved in March 2012 by the Adaptation Fund Board. Its objective is to strengthen the ability of Samoan communities and public services to make informed decisions and manage climate change-driven pressures, in a pro-active, integrated and strategic way.  The project is due to come to a close in December 2017.

 

For Further Details:

MEDIA ENQUIRIES
Ms. Tessa Tafua, Programme Analyst, Environment & Climate Change, UNDP Samoa. E. tessa.tafua@undp.org Ph. +685 23670  Ext: 21
Ms. Nadya Va’a, Communications Officer, UNDP, E. nadya.vaa@undp.org Ph. +685 23670 Ext.34
Jordanna Mareko, Communications Officer, CSSP, E jordanna.mareko@cssp.gov.ws Ph. +685 24617 Ext 16

Last Updated: 28 Aug 2017