Many coastal communities are facing the problem of coastal erosion but the villagers of Nayavuira in Rakiraki, Ra have taken the initiative to take action and not wait for government assistance. Houses near the beach were also being vulnerable as the coastline started eroding caused by flooding and strong waves. They believed that a stream beside their village was adding more to the problem when it rained heavily because it caused flooding in the village.

The village seawall and mangrove that were initiated by the community

The village seawall and mangrove that were initiated by the community

To solve the issue of flooding, the villagers discussed and agreed at a village meeting that they divert the stream by digging another channel which took them two weeks said the villager and Rakiraki District representative Ilitomasi Vana.

Furthermore, for nearly 20 years they have seen their shoreline eroding but did not think much about it but as time went on, the waves would come in and flood houses near the beach eroding most of it that the watermark was nearly at their doorstep. This was discussed at another village meeting and they agreed they would need a seawall. One of the villagers approached members of the Ra Youth committee who came to their rescue and its members built the seawall.

The community built seawall at Nayavuira village

The community built seawall at Nayavuira village

It was a simple three-foot- high seawall in which the volunteers just piled up stones without any concrete to hold them. Today, more than 10 years later the shoreline on the village side of the seawall that had eroded has moved up to the height of the seawall.

To further protect the village they have also planted mangroves to protect the shoreline and officers from the Fijian Forestry Department are helped the village plan where and how to plant more mangroves. To strengthen the seawalls they have piled bags of sand beside the seawall to weaken the strength of the waves as it crashed on the seawall.

Words & Images by Alumeci Nakeke