Story | 05 Mar, 2024

C3 Fiji inspires students to protect mangroves

World Wetlands Day reminds us of the vital role the ecosystems play in protecting our communities and improving our planet. Imagine a future where healthy mangroves thrive, protecting coastlines, filtering water, and nurturing marine life.

Organisations like Community Centred Conservation (C3) Fiji is making this dream a reality, one child and one mangrove seed at a time. Their dedication to environmental education empowers the next generation to become guardians of the environment.

On 2 February during World Wetlands Day, C3 Fiji's Kiwa Initiative Project engaged students at Cadranasiga District School (CDS) in Naividamu Macuata in mangrove planting. 

C3 Fiji Programme Coordinator, Mrs. Asena Steiner, expressed that the students of CDS were already familiar with mangrove protection, having participated in planting and potting activities during their school breaks.

While captivating the students, Mrs. Steiner explained how wetlands like the nearby "Drano" lake provided drinking water for coastal villages. But the star of the show were the mangroves, those "bridge builders" between land and sea.

"'These amazing trees filter our water, protect us from waves with their strong roots, and even function as nurseries for baby fish,” she said.

Mrs. Steiner said that mangroves are coastal ecosystems that bridge the gap between land and sea, serving as a protective barrier and providing benefits to both the environment and the communities that depend on them.

By looking after mangroves, Mrs. Steiner noted that they return the favour through protection. Therefore, she urged everyone to help protect these special plants.

She also said that “building our youth's resilience capacity is the best tool to help encounter the challenges brought about by climate change. Mrs. Steiner further added that “by empowering youth with the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources to confront and mitigate the impacts of climate change, they can become lifelong agents of change and contribute significantly to building a more sustainable and resilient future.

Seventy children planted 292 mangrove seeds. They filled up planting bags with the seeds and lined them up with other potted plants. The children were excited to help, and the CDS head teacher thanked the C3 organisers for involving them in this activity. "Inspiring them to grasp the importance of these resources," she said, "is an investment in our future."

The C3 project titled “Restoring mangroves for livelihoods in Fiji” is a local project under the Kiwa Initiative. The initiative is funded by the European Union (EU), Agence Française de Développement, Global Affairs Canada (GAC), Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and (DFAT) and New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

The Kiwa Initiative has established partnerships with the Pacific Community (SPC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Oceania Regional Office of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Kiwa Initiative logo and donors and partners