Five women of Beqa Island are the first in the Pacific to learn and practice traditional canoe building and sailing through the University of the South Pacific, Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership Programme and Uto Ni Yalo Trust.
The Turaga Tui Sawau, Ratu Timoci Matanitobua says they appreciate the programme being gender-inclusive where 5 of their women have broken traditional barriers to practice traditional canoe building and sailing.
Matanitobua says they are grateful to the programme for helping them build 10 canoes and for gifting the island with a canoe building workshop to continue this traditional practice.
European Union Ambassador to Fiji, Sujiro Seam says this training is part of their commitment to sustainable traditional marine practices and it will help these villagers' role in the fight against climate change.
Seam says this traditional practice will be a cost-effective way for these villagers to make a better living to provide for their families.
He says he has hope and faith in these villagers to pass on and continue the traditional practice of canoe building and sailing in future.
One of the women, Senimalia Narimo says the canoe building and sailing knowledge she has acquired will help her and other women in her village to earn for their families and contribute to environmental protection.
Narimo says this training indicates women's role are appreciated in the society.
A total of 25 villagers graduated from this training which is part of PEUMP's EU$45 million project to carry out capacity building through education, training, research and development in fisheries and marine resources management.
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