Beacon of hope: Silana Village leads the way in promoting recycling of materials

Silana villagers in Tailevu North with members of the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee’s Athletes and Communities Engagement (ACE) Program at their village hall last week. Picture: FASANOC

We never refuse to reuse was the word from Dawasamu district advisor, Sanaila Rokotuivuna during a week-long outreach organised by the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee’s Athletes and Communities Engagement (ACE) Program held last week in Tailevu North.

The Silana villager said he was grateful that the program reinforced the villagers’ commitment to their ‘Go Green’ program.

“Here in Silana there is nothing that we put to waste,” Rokotuivuna said.

“We try our best to put into action the five ‘R’ which are Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle. We have a saying here in the village that “we will never refuse to reuse”.

Sanaila said everything that was bought from the village shop that could be recycled, was used again in some form.

“An example is when we buy tin goods from the village shop, we use the tinned items as building materials for walls or turning them into ashtrays and other things. We have also used discarded or broken plates, cups and other crockery into floor designs.”

He said there was a trickle-down effect when the village started its ‘Go Green’ program.

“We have noticed that villagers are mindful of discarding rubbish and are eating more healthy foods. Because of this, there has been less to almost no rubbish in the village and our villagers are looking healthier.”

He said the village started the ‘Go Green’ program a few years ago after a visit from an overseas non-governmental organisation called the Global Vision International.

It was after this visit that Rokotuivuna was part of a 2016 trip to South Korea for an international conference on Community-NGO Partnerships.

He said the trip was an opportunity to gain knowledge about how small communities from all over the world engaged with NGOs such as Global Vision International to achieve developments for their village.

He was one of two people in Fiji who was chosen to represent rural villages.

“They showed us what we could achieve and how much we could save by fulfilling the five R. Now our villagers are not only saving a lot of money, but are also looking and feeling a lot healthier.”

He said he noticed that men and women in the village were working more closely together when it came to village work.

“One of the topics shared by the ACE program was gender equality and here in Silana, you will notice that men and women share the workload in the village.”

When the ACE Program, along with its partners visited Silana Village, teenage boys and girls were mixing cement together to extend the village walkway.

“Even during huge functions, it is usually the men who cook and serve so we try to ensure that both sexes can perform the duties of the other when one is missing.”

ACE champion Kinisimere Ravai said it was very encouraging to see that a village such as Silana was being proactive in its approach to ‘Go Green.’

“It was nice to see that Silana Village was taking steps to ensure that cleanliness was almost second nature to the villagers,” Ravai said.

“Their commitment to the village, keeping it clean and seeing both men and women sharing the workload is encouraging and a bright example of what could be achieved if everyone worked together.”

Silana Village was one of 16 villages and communities between Veicorocoro and Nasinu in Tailevu that was part of FASANOC’s ACE Programme in partnership with Fiji National Sports Commission (FNSC), Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) and Fiji Football’s Just Play Program outreach.

‘Go Green’ was one of three messages delivered during the outreach program which also included the prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCD) and gender-based violence.

The outreach program involved ACE champions Matelita Vuakoso, Laisani Mataele, Kinisimere Ravai, Sekoula Waqanidrola, Selevasio Stino and Olympian Vaciseva Tavaga.

They were supported by Just Play’s Meli Yasawa and FNSC’s Josaia Tuinamata and Vilisoni Rarasea.

The ACE Program serves FA- SANOC’s vision to ‘Inspire the People of Fiji through sporting excellence’ through its aim to encourage, engage and empower athlete leaders and communities in Fiji through the advocacy of the Olympic values, true spirit of sport and social messages.

The ACE Program is supported by the IOC Olympic Solidarity, the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) and Commonwealth Sports.

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