GROUPS of villagers in Vanua Levu have found a new way of earning income through the Fiji Roads Authority capacity-building program.
The villagers of Lomaloma in Macuata have earned more than $2000 for a two-week contract work with the department to clean up an area of 24kilometres along the Savusavu-Labasa highway, beginning with their village.
The villagers labelled the offer by the authority as an excellent move.
Village headman Mikaele Leweniqila said they had earned $2148 for the clean-up work.
"It's a good idea and a brilliant move by the authority to pay us villagers to clean up certain areas along the highway near our villages," he said.
"This is one way we earn good money to help our families, the church and the vanua, particularly when markets to sell our crops to are not always available."
He said the payment would be used on development projects.
"We have a few projects we need to get done in the village like footpaths, education for our children and church obligations," Mr Leweniqila said.
"When we earn this kind of money from cleaning the roadside, we are greatly assisted by improving our living standard in the village."
Fiji Road Authority spokesman Iliesa Sokia said the program had been ongoing for rural people.
"That is part of our capacity-building program and mainly focuses on communities in rural areas where the people clean-up a certain area along the highway and are paid for it," he said.