Nama project thrives

Women of Naviti in Yasawa have a session with Minister for Women Mereseini Vuniwaqa in Yasawa. Picture: SUPPLIED.

THE women of Gunu Village in Naviti, Yasawa are thriving from a nama or organic sea grapes farming project.

According to the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, the Gunu Women’s Club is driven independently, without any support from the Government, by 40 of its members.

“Before venturing into the nama project, these women were independent in sustaining their own livelihoods from the catch they got from the sea or the sales of handicrafts,” a ministry statement said.

In March 2018, the non-profit arm of Awesome Adventures Fiji and Blue Lagoon Cruises called “Vinaka Fiji” approached these women and introduced an initiative to form a women’s group to venture into the nama project, the ministry said.

“The formation of this group had essential elements to target such as to economically empower these women from the income generated from the sales of the nama, develop the livelihoods of the families and the village and, most of all, to conserve their marine ecosystem.”

The ministry confirmed that in the six months of the club’s existence, the women were making $500 per week from the sales of nama alone, as they needed to harvest five bags of nama every week, selling at $100 a bag.

“It was through the initiative of Vinaka Fiji that they managed to link these women to a company called Essence of Fiji that focuses its mission to improving the livelihood of rural women in Fiji.

“This company works very closely with local villagers in the Yasawa region to harvest extracts for value-adding products such as body lotions, insect repellent, skincare products, nama ice-cream and even healthy food products.”

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