As part of its commitment to environmental stewardship, the Methodist Church in Fiji is partnering with the 4FJ campaign to conduct outreach on the new four-month ban on kawakawa and donu, to communities across Fiji.
cChange, the organization that created the 4FJ campaign, is providing outreach training today for the church’s divisional communications officers, who are attending annual training at the Methodist Church Headquarters in Suva.
“This campaign is more than a campaign to us. This is about meeting our responsibilities of being good stewards of God’s creation,” said Rev. Wilfred Regunamada, the Secretary for Communications and Overseas Mission for the Methodist Church in Fiji. “So we want to empower our people to engage their congregations and give them a chance to do what’s right.”
cChange developed the 4FJ campaign for the Ministry of Fisheries in 2014, in response to studies that found that around 80 percent of Fiji’s known kawakawa and donu breeding grounds were rapidly declining or have been lost. The A-grade fish are critical to meeting communities' food and income needs in Fiji.
Over the past four years, close to 16,000 individuals have publicly pledged not to catch, sell or eat kawakawa and donu during their peak breeding months, to allow the fish to recover. This year, supported by the wide public support for the campaign, the Ministry of Fisheries implemented a legal ban on kawakawa and donu from June through September.
“The Methodist Church in Fiji was one of the first institutional champions of the campaign, supporting it since 2014. Its backing helped mainstream the issue of overfishing of these fish and the need for action,” said Scott Radway, founder of cChange. “That’s why we know the church’s additional support now on outreach on the legal ban is a tremendous development for the recovery of these fisheries.”
The Methodist Church is the largest religious organization in Fiji.
cChange provided a video documentary, fact sheets, and guide on all 27 species of kawakawa and donu, to help the officers conduct outreach to communities and to train additional members of the church at the district and village level to engage their respective communities.