Community Outreach in Niue with Children’s School Holiday Program
17 January 2022
Niue’s Research Community Officer (RCO) Fiafia Rex was privileged once again to engage with the Aliutu Conservation community group and their 2021-2022 school holiday program for children ages 6 to 12. The RCO dedicated several hours over the course of 4 weeks getting creative devising activities premised on disaster risk reduction and water security, the latter being Niue’s key result area for the SUPA project.
Having been involved the year prior Fiafia was certainly delighted to be a part of the program especially, to capitalize on educating children about disaster risk reduction themes such as cyclones given November to April is the cyclone season for the Pacific region but changed now of course due to climate change. Fortunately, it is around this time of the year primary outputs under the RCO’s SUPA project generally comes to a halt with the office headquarters and local campuses closing for the Christmas holidays. Fiafia found it very opportunistic to continue with community outreach noting education is key to raising awareness and to educate at an early age would certainly be beneficial. Fiafia credits the group for instilling water skills for life to enhance children’s knowledge of hazards in and around coastlines, and empowering them with water skills further building their swimming confidence and capabilities.
The two funding agencies for the program is the Community Affairs Department and the Niue Development Bank backed by the volunteers (parents and visiting friends and families) supporting the program. Given the two groups struggle for both financial and human resources it is also an incentive to further help in this regard.
The most recent activity by the RCO was the creation of paper volcanoes with the children to simulate the volcanic eruption in Tonga as with going over tsunami preparedness. This week ends the RCO’s engagement with the program resuming outputs such as assisting villages with development of their disaster plans. Fiafia has aided the Alofi Village with development of their DRAFT Aliluki Adaptation Action Plan in 2021 guided by colleagues from the Australian National University. The latter done with greater involvement from ANU given Fiji was forced into lockdown due to COVID putting huge restrictions with colleagues in Fiji, with majority working from home. It is in such instances and Niue being very fortunate to be COVID free still that activities and support from partner agencies can be achieved to enable such accomplishments and demonstrate our Pacific resilience and regionalism to continue to thrive and strive in the most difficult of situations.