CBM youths unite online

Vude Queen Laisa Vulakoro will perform in a high definition online recording produced by Sky Productions and Stage Tech Fiji and livestreamed across Twitter Spaces and Facebook Live. Picture: ISIREI MAINAVUKEA

With everyone working from home over the last two years, a growing community of Fijians gathered online too, some mostly to pass the time.

In what has been referred to as the #TeamFiji space, young people from all over the country and in the diasporic communities abroad have found ways to stay connected and entertained.

As social media tech giants Twitter, Facebook and TikTok have worked to innovate to cater to the growing interest to work better in cyberspace, many groups have formed to use technology to do good.

Starting with the Bula Ko Lau initiative which used facebook to raise awareness on the difficult technical subjects around COVID19, vanua based initiatives have spread across the provinces of Nadroga, Ba, Kadavu, Lomaiviti, Naitasiri and Tailevu.

Two months ago, seventy young people from the provinces of Cakaudrove, Bua and Macuata have united under one banner to prepare to support relief and development projects in their rural homes.

Founded by airline crew, Iliesa Lesianawai the CBM United network was formed on twitter and is working to formalise as a charitable foundation.

Commonly known as Lesaa, Iliesa is a recording artist.

“When the pandemic occurred, my workmates gathered to mobilise their resources to help communities who were affected by the pandemic. I could see the potential for a larger network of people, especially the younger generation, who are online and who are mobile, to help more people,” he said.

He reached out to fellow recording artist and foodpreneur Isireli Tua Mainavukea who at the time was finding success with his online food business and online concerts on the popular Twitter Space Jams.

Run by a group of local and overseas based creatives, Twitter Space Jams used the ‘solesolevaki’ concept to keep Fijian recording artists in business during the COVID19 lockdown.

“I realised that we could do more with our global network to use the creative performing artists to help our own people back in our villages,” Tua said.

Cue a few weeks and CBM United attracted more active online Fijians who are linked to the three Vanua Levu provinces.

Using the slogan ‘Domo Dua’, a concept of leading with one voice and one purpose, CBM United have set out simple objectives of strengthening traditional bonds using cyberspace to mobile resources and support projects to help rural communities in the friendly north.

Largely based on twitter, CBMUnited is volunteer led and a committee of media, commerce, academic, admin and events professionals have committed to position themselves to send help back home.

Starting with a CBM United Solesolevaki concert which takes place on October 15, the network is working on a timeline of being ready by the start of the cyclone season.

Mainavukea who is the events coordinator said music seems the obvious way to accumulate resources.

On October 15, eight artists headlined by Vude Queen Laisa Vulakoro will perform in a high definition online recording produced by Sky Productions and Stage Tech Fiji and livestreamed across Twitter Spaces and Facebook Live on multi profiles and pages.

The free concert, modelled on the ‘Solesolevaki’ approach calls on anyone withs links to or love for Cakaudrove, Bua and Macuata to enjoy the music and give a ‘soli’ towards the financial establishment of CBM United.

“We looked within us to see what our strengths are and we realised some of the biggest names in the music industry were from CBM. It was obvious that music was the way to start our fundraising drive,” Mainavukea said.

“Solesolevaki seemed the obvious way to create this community and accumulate our resources so the musicians of CBM are starting it off by doing this for the provinces for free.”

Solesolevaki is an itaukei concept where members of the community work together for a common good goal and get no individual payment in return. The concept has proven useful (Movono, 2017) as a way for communities to respond to internal and external disruptions.

“We are largely itaukei based because our work aims to support existing vanua structures but we are a safe space for all our vasu whether they be from itaukei origins or not because we want to strengthen our members’ links to their vanua. It is a win-win for us because while we will be working together, we will have programmes to support language lessons, cultural exposure while our common goal is to help communities back on Vanua Levu,” Lesianawai said.

“We would like to invite everyone to join us and help us to help our communities.”

CBM Solesolevaki will include performances from Savuto, Ilisavani Cava, Elena Baravilala, Tua, Marika Nakete, Paulini Bautani and Sai Bakeinadakai.

  • Lice Movono is a freelance journalist and public relations consultant from Cakaudrove.


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