Source: Government of Western Samoa
PRESS RELEASE; Australian High Commission, Samoa
Today the community of Fatuvalu Safune was in celebration mode as the village launched phase one of Fatuvalu Safune Eco-tours project, supported by Australia’s Direct Aid Program.
Funding provided through the DAP will support this community-based tourism project by developing signage, promotion and marketing materials, eco-tourism training and standards, mangrove planting, and strengthening community engagement with the environment and tourism sectors.
The Australian High Commissioner Her Excellency Sara Moriarty delivered the keynote address to the village council, community leaders, and Samoa Tourism representatives including Fonoifafo Nancy Mcfarland current Miss Samoa, and Miss Pacific Islands 2020.
Introducing the DAP program, Ms Moriarty explained “The DAP is exactly what the name implies – it is a program that provides ‘direct’ support to communities to implement new sustainable, innovative and creative projects, or build on existing initiatives, with the intention that communities will take ownership of the projects and continue to grow them.”
Ms Moriarty said there were many great proposals submitted in the first round of DAP for 2019-20, such as the project from Fatuvalu Safune.
“I understand the mangrove ecosystem here will be preserved through DAP support and with rising sea levels being a real threat to island nations, mangroves are essential to protecting coastlines.”
Ms Moriarty was also impressed with Fatuvalu’s proactiveness and innovative proposal when they sought assistance from the Australian High Commission.
“I read with interest the initiatives being implemented in Fatuvalu such as the nursery, the apiary and, I am happy to say, women in leadership training through a separate Australian supported program, Civil Society Support Program,”
“Community support and ownership is evident in Fatuvalu and it is therefore timely that DAP is able to build on these initiatives as a community-based program focussing on tourism,” Ms Moriarty said.
Strengthening and maintaining partnerships for development is a priority under DAP, and for the Australian Government, as evidenced in this project.
“I congratulate the village council for your vision and persistence. I must also acknowledge Government agencies – Samoa Tourism Authority and Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, our donor partners – UNDP and any future partners that have and will contribute to this initiative,” Ms Moriarty concluded.