The Natewa Tunuloa Important Bird Area, located on Fiji’s Natewa Peninsula, contains large tracts of native forest and a diverse array of bird species. In response to illegal logging and the encroachment of plantation-style agriculture and invasive species, community volunteers worked with local stakeholders to establish a 1,500 acre community-protected forest around the Bird Area.
The Sisi Initiative (named after a type of threatened silktail bird found only on the peninsula and one neighboring island) has grown into something much broader: it provides training for the local community in sustainable farming, beekeeping, baking, basketweaving, screen printing, jewelry-making and other handicrafts. Each of these projects is designed not only to build the resilience of the human community of the Natewa Peninsula, but to serve as a reminder of how essential the natural community of the Peninsula is as well: for instance, the bees which form the core of the beekeeping project source their nectar from forest plants which had been under severe threat from loggers.
In 2012, the Sisi Initiative won the Equator Prize, a biennial award given to community-based, rural sustainable development organizations. To learn more about the Sisi Initiative, read their Equator case study.