The Food Bank initiative which is designed to assist communities prepare for and recover from disasters, was handed over to the Naviti communities in the Yasawa group of islands in a handover ceremony that was held yesterday in Kese village.
As the name suggests, the Food Bank is the combination of two approaches; food as a basic need for communities to survive on and the bank concept of pooling savings as deposits to prepare for a rainy day.
The initiative was introduced and trialed in Soso and Kese villages by Vinaka Fiji Trust, the charity arm of South Sea Cruises in 2014.
“In the context of the Food Bank initiative in Kese and Soso villages, the approach allows the community members to save or store food crops in preparation for any impending disaster whether it be cyclones or prolonged dry spells”, said Ms. Elenoa Nimacere, Manager Vinaka Fiji Trust.
“Should a disaster pass over without affecting them, the food saved or grown as a result of the food bank is then sold to nearby hotels or markets and the money is deposited in a savings account to then be used for disaster preparedness or recovery.”
Following the interest from the communities and their desire to further develop the food bank, the initiative was then supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through its Pacific Risk Resilience Programme, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Live and Learn Environmental Education (LLEE).