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Increasing climate resilience in Kiribati

Kiribati is a remote Pacific Island nation comprised of 32 coral atolls. It is extremely vulnerable to climate change, with saltwater intrusion, erratic weather events, and declining fish supplies having a dramatic impact on vulnerable communities.

Kaai lives on Marakei Island and has been struggling to deal with the fish shortage – a staple food for many families in Kiribati. She turned to vegetables to supplement family meals, but they are extremely difficult to grow due to the poor soil conditions and lack of fresh water for irrigation.

Kaai also faced an additional struggle – because of her remote location and her gender, she was never able to share her ideas on how to address these issues in community forums.

“Quite often, we have been left out in community development programs, especially as I am a woman,” Kaai said. “Only men or elders from my village are the ones to meet with project officers.”

Women lead food and water project

With support from our local partner, the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific Kiribati (FSPK), Kaai and her community dug freshwater wells and established kitchen gardens. The project specifically targeted women and young people – some of the most vulnerable in the community.

Kaai learned gardening techniques and attended cooking demonstrations, where she learned how to prepare nutritious meals using her own produce. The new well also meant she no longer had to waste time fetching water for irrigation, drinking, and cooking.

“I am happy to say that the project has given me an opportunity to learn how to cook nutritious dishes,” said Kaai. “Having different kinds of vegetables to eat supplements the loss of fish in times of bad storms.”

Kaai’s community has also been earning extra income by selling their surplus vegetables at market.

With access to fresh water and more ways to produce food, Kaai’s remote island community is more resilient to climate shocks.

This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

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I am happy to say that the project has given me an opportunity to learn how to cook nutritious dishes. Having different kinds of vegetables to eat supplements the loss of fish in times of bad storms.

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