School Being Set Up On Cicia Island To Train Youths In Traditional Skills

A new training school is being set up on Cicia Island in Lau to teach young people traditional skills such as weaving, creating virgin coconut oil, and various other items.

The construction of this training school is one of three activities in a sustainable development project funded by the International Fund For Agriculture Development’s (IFAD) Indigenous People’s Assistance Facility (IPAF) program.

Using traditional resources such as magimagi and wood from native trees and support from IFAD, a traditional bure is built to hold lessons and practical exercises.

Loving Islands, a leading social enterprise in Fiji and the Pacific, is also collaborating with IFAD and Cicia Island residents Susana Yalikanacea and Epeli Draunidalo to implement this project.

Ms. Yalikanacea, 62, and her husband have been actively producing high-quality organic products and traditional Fijian handicrafts on Cicia Island.

Mrs. Yalikanacea had conducted training for virgin coconut oil producers in Matuku Island from 2017 to 2018, which was how the partnership originated.

Loving Islands founding director Litia Kirwin said while construction officially commenced in September 2019, activities have unfortunately been put on hold since April 2020, due to the impact of COVID-19.

Mrs. Yalikanacea happens to be a former civil servant, who now hopes to share her knowledge of making virgin coconut oil with youngsters in order to preserve its knowledge.

“My husband and I are getting old so we hope that this training school will help share our knowledge so that the younger generation can utilize it to start a business or do something good to earn a living,” she said.

She said Fiji had abundance in natural resources, however, people were not well-versed with how to use them.

“So this training school will accommodate those interested in learning. The skills will be taught on how to make virgin coconut oil from scratch as well as making other traditional handicrafts using magimagi and weaving,” she said.

Construction of the training school is expected to be completed before the end of this year.