Story | 01 May, 2024

Empowering local communities for sustainable-use of natural resources through the Kiwa Initiative

In a bid to promote sustainable natural resource management, KGWan Eco-Habitat Inc. Kiwa Initiative project aimed at educating local communities has made progress in the Bismarck Forest Corridor in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. Despite facing challenges, the project has achieved significant successes, highlighting the dedication of the local communities and the project team.

One of the primary goals was to educate at least 1,000 local communities on sustainable natural resource management, with a focus on raising awareness about climate-induced risks. Although the target number was not fully met due to time constraints, the project successfully reached 800 individuals across five communities. The participation of women exceeded 40%, showing that the Kiwa Initiative includes everyone.

A milestone was achieved when five clans of the target communities signed a Conservation Deed on 4 August 2023, dedicating over 20,000 hectares of montane forest area for conservation. This deed symbolises the collective efforts of the communities in preserving their natural environment for future generations.

The KGWan Kiwa Initiative project also taught communities about dealing with disasters and making changes to reduce their impact, in addition to promoting awareness about taking care of nature. This shows how the project is dedicated to helping with different environmental problems and giving power to the communities.

Throughout the project period, the nursery's capacity was improved and operational. Hardware materials were mobilised, and the site was prepared for extension, but more materials and time are needed for full maintenance. Additionally, 600 Eucalyptus seedlings were mobilised and planted out.

Moreover, 1,157 seedlings were raised in the nursery as well as 240 seedlings, mainly Halesia and Podocarp, were raised in the nursery, with the flowering and seed season for key native tree species not fully known yet.

In conservation zone three, 240 seedlings were planted, with more than 1,000 seedlings distributed to the community during the Conservation Deed Signing. The community's demand for tree seedlings for both woodlots and gardening areas is very high. In conservation zones two and three, 250 native Casuarina seedlings were planted as part of climate-smart farming, with exceptionally high demand from the community for Casuarina seedlings. Finally, 10 nothofagus seedlings were planted in the watershed area, with challenges related to the unknown seed collection technique and the scarcity of wildings, which are scattered and disturbed by unsustainable human use.

The KGWan Kiwa Initiative was established by the three rival clans in a tribe with a mission statement of “To encourage and promote 20,000 hectares of Inaugl’s terrestrial biodiversity conservation in Simbu Province, whilst addressing livelihoods and socio-economic needs”. To complement the given statement, the organisation has carried out the following programmes with some activities to address the needs of communities who benefited from the forest resources for the past 18 years; Natural resource management (sustainable forest management, reforestation, eco-forestry, eco homes).

The KGWan project titled “Improving Livelihoods through Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Climate Systems” is a local project under the Kiwa Initiative. The initiative is funded by the European Union (EU), Agence Française de Développement (AFD), 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