Income and wellness in community

Namatakula youths after a clean-up at the beach. Picture: SUPPLIED.

Namatakula youths after a clean-up at the beach. Picture: SUPPLIED.

PROMOTING wellness, having a clean environment, empowering youth and having sustainable income for villagers are some of the areas the Kai ni Cola Organisation has focused its attention on this year.

From simple backyard gardening to empowering youth to build a stronger foundation for future generations, the organisation with the support of its Namatakula community, is becoming one of the leading villages to see positive change through simple rural development.

Kai ni Cola director Samuela Kuridrani said they could do something small in the community to bring about change that would inspire young people in the future.

“One of the main objectives for the organisation is income-generation activities in our community through poverty alleviation,” he said.

One way in which the villagers have started their income-generating program is through a market day event that’s held every four months in the village of Namatakula.

“We have our market day which happens every four months and our next village market day is scheduled for next (this) month,” he said.

“We encourage our local villagers to bring their local produce, handicraft and we set up big tents from the hotels in the centre of the village ground so people can sell their wares throughout the day.

“The last market day we did was in October last year and it was a big success where we raised $2000 which was done by the villagers themselves and we didn’t have any visitors participating in the program.”

On wellness, the organisation works closely with the Ministry of Health in getting the message of tuberculosis across to its neighbouring communities.

“We work closely with the Ministry of Health where we are the tuberculosis agent for the provinces of Nadroga and Navosa. As an agent, we create awareness on the infectious disease and we get funding from Global Fund through the Ministry of Health.”

He said the village had an upcoming project where they hoped to build their village market up on the hill for income generating purposes and they hoped to build their own village bus stop too.

“We have been awarded the cleanest village in the province of Nadroga and Navosa and we even won an award once in the past for being the cleanliest village in Fiji and we hope to do it again,” he said.

“For wellness at home we are promoting home gardening. If you go around the village you will notice that families in the village plant vegetables beside their home because we’re trying to get people to rely less on processed food on a daily basis and to eat more healthy homegrown vegetables.

“NCDs is one of the biggest killers in Fiji and when we look at health issues, diabetes is one disease that affects most Fijians today and so we’re trying to overcome that with promoting wellness with the food we eat.

“We were so fortunate to have all these achieved and even having our village headman as the best turaga ni koro (village headman) was another accomplishment.

“It’s good to see that other communities are not just seeing us as a village that breeds or produces rugby players, but see us as a village that can achieve more through other aspects.”