Falease’ela Environment Protection Society are a group of matai, men, women and youth from the village of Falease’ela who work together on conservation projects to protect and conserve the natural and cultural heritage of Falease’ela. Originally established by Olsen and Jane Va’afusuaga seventeen years ago, the organisation has grown through numerous projects and the establishment of eco-tourist business, with profits being returned to the community.
Key to the success of the organisation is the engagement of all of Falease’ela through a diverse committee, established to help engage families and guide the projects. The committee is chaired by a well respected chief, and has a strong representation of women and youth, ensuring equity of discussion, project development, involvement and benefits.
FEPS is focussed on ‘Ridge to Reef’ projects, and has three main committee groups that lead projects or businesses in these areas – one group focussed on the Ridge, one on the Rainforest, and one on the Reef. Existing projects include a Marine Reserve, a project to protect the Manumea (endangered, national bird), and increase the area of Rainforest by replanting large areas of family plantations to forest.
Funding and partnerships have come from UNDP, Auckland Zoo, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Samoan Conservation Society. They have hosted UN and government events, in recognition of the community led conservation occurring in the area.
With such a large amount of projects on, and potential to keep expanding growing, the founding partners are looking at ways they can sustainably grow the capacity of the organisation. This is in the form of the business itself, as well as growing the capacity of individuals to ‘step up’ through enhanced computer skills, reporting abilities and small business acumen.
Check them out: https://www.facebook.com/FaleaseelaEnvironmentProtectionSociety/