Build forward better: community members to benefit from training for TC Harold recovery

November 18, 2020

Villagers from Nabukelevu-i-ra launch the theme “Building Resilience in Kadavu” during the launch of the FNU training (Photo: UNDP/Andrea Waqa-Montu)

Kadavu, Fiji
 – In an effort to upskill the capacity of villagers in Kadavu affected by Tropical Cyclone (TC) Harold and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fiji National University (FNU) will convene a Sustainable Livelihood Technical Training in Kadavu this month, which will benefit at least 100 community members.

An alternative learning course was launched in Nabukelevu-i-ra village by the United Nations (UN) in the Pacific Resident Coordinator, Sanaka Samarasinha, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji then Officer-in-Charge, Nasantuya Chuluun and FNU Project Coordinator, Setareki Valenitabua during the joint United Nations and Fiji Government visit to Kadavu in September.

The four courses will focus on Domestic Electrical Installation; Sanitary and Household Plumbing; Wooden House Construction; and Small Engine Repairs and will assist in rehabilitation and reconstruction work currently underway in Kadavu, which is scheduled to take place in the chiefly village of Tavuki.

Kadavu, located south of main island of Viti Levu, felt the full brunt of TC Harold that severely affected villages, destroyed communication infrastructure, homes and damaged food crops.

UNDP TC Harold recovery support includes debris management, rehabilitation and reconstruction, and livelihoods recovery, in Kadavu (Photo: Luis Gamarra)

The UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji in collaboration with the Government of Fiji, iTaukei Affairs Board and the Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA Fiji) assisted the 76 communities in Kadavu with cash assistance to strengthen livelihood and provided nine sets of equipment and power tools to assist in debris management and reconstruction of homes.

FNU was brought onboard to provide training on how to utilise existing resources in Kadavu to rebuild homes. The 100 community members will be trained in the mentioned modules, from the nine tikinas in Kadavu province.  

Valenitabua said “We will train participants on how to use and maintain the power tools that has already been donated so they can last long to continue the rehabilitation work in Kadavu. This training is practical based and will teach participants self-sufficiency, contextualized in the Kadavu environment using the resources that they have. Participants from each tikina (district) can use this new skill upon their return to their districts to mobilise their team for rehabilitation work.”

He added the initiative would also provide the opportunity for participants to further their studies, “If they want to further their education, they can also use this Certificate of Attainment to gain entry into Fiji’s National Training and Productivity Centre or higher education at FNU, so this is their leeway.”

Noud Leenders, Project Manager for the Disaster Resilience for Pacific Small Islands Developing States (RESPAC) project at UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji said “rebuilding has already commenced with some villages taking lead in recovery and reconstruction, the skills obtain from the training will boost, solidify, add value  to the already existing cultural practice of “solesolevaki” where villagers rally together to address a need.”

Leenders added “We welcome the inclusion of FNU to provide this training for the people of Kadavu. At the end of the training, amongst other benefits, participants will be able to carry out basic household plumbing and installation, construct and test simple electrical circuits, use hand and power tools safely and efficiently and apply the theory and operation of the electrical and mechanical systems of small engines.”

UN in the Pacific Resident Coordinator, Sanaka Samarasinha; the UN Development Programme Pacific Office in Fiji then Officer-in-Charge, Nasantuya Chuluun; Director Fiji National Disaster Management Office, Vasiti Soko; Permanent Secretary, David Kolitagane; the Roving Ambassador/High Commissioner of the Republic of Fiji (a.i), Mr Amena Yauvoli; Permanent Secretary Infrastructure and Transport, David Kolitaangane; Officer in Charge for UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett; along with Deputy Chief Executive Office, Josefa Toganivalu; Director World Food Programme Pacific Multi-Country Office, Jo Pilgrim at the cake cutting ceremony to officially launch the theme – Building a Resilient Kadavu 2020 (Photo: UNDP/Andrea Waqa-Montu)

“We firmly believe this training will help Kadavu as we head into the 2020 cyclone season, families, women and children who still recall the fear that engulfed when TC Harold hit, will have the peace of mind and confidence knowing homes have been built to standard and is compliant with occupational and health regulations,” said Leenders.  

Leenders echoed the UNDP Administrators sentiments address, at the second regular session of UNDP Executive Board meeting 2020, “collectively with all stakeholders, government, UN agencies, churches, youth groups, women’s organisations, representatives of peoples with a disability - we can prepare, respond and build forward better, beyond TC Harold recovery and COVID-19.”

The training is designed to equip rural maritime dwellers with trade and life skills that will promote sustainable living and create opportunities for men, women and youths. It will be of particular interest as many in Kadavu that were employed in hotels and resorts are now unemployed due to COVID-19. The training will offer an alternative livelihood for those unemployed. Each course is expected to have 25 participants that will end up with amazing accredited skills.”

The TC Harold support in Fiji is administered by UNDP through the Disaster Resilience for Pacific Small Island Developing States project with funding support from the Australian Government, the Russian Federation, UNDP core funds and the Government of Fiji.

For more information contact:

UNDP Disaster Risk Management Advisor and RESPAC Project Manager, Noud Leenders, email:

RESPAC Communications Specialist, Andrea Waqa–Montu, email: