Read about the man behind the project- Peter Drysdale. (Fiji Times 2 Feb 2015)
A Rotary World Community Service (RAWCS) supported project,
Number 23 / 2008-2009.
Project Mission and Aim:-
To give impoverished families an opportunity to break free from the cycle of poverty and provide an improved quality of life for them and their children, by designing and developing fully serviced subdivisions, with affordable and durable housing, supporting their education and providing long term development programmes for self-sustainable communities.
The Koroipita Project is best summed up by a Rotaract Volunteer who has worked with fellow club members and the community people on the project a number of times – “It’s a project that gets right under your skin, and once you’ve spent a couple of weeks with the crew on-site, you’ll have made friends for life!”
The Rotahomes project is an on-going project to built low cost housing to alleviate subhuman living conditions for impoverished families. Volunteers working with community residents have built 712 homes in country areas and 231 homes at Koroipita community, Lautoka Fiji. Around 3600 people have been housed.
The first town (K1) has 85 homes. K2 involved the construction of around 150 simple, timber framed and steel clad homes each with a kitchen/shower and toilet block. K3 is approaching construction phase.
Following the cyclone in early 2016, massive destruction has been reported in north and east Viti Levu.
In the hills and cane belt area near Lautoka are 943 Rotahomes (231 at Koroipita ) and from observations and reports there is zero damage. There is no structural damage at Koroipita only minor scouring of roads due to torrential rain. The hurricane proof building design works.
The project has two distinct areas of focus:-
- Providing cyclone proof homes
- Providing a comprehensive community development program.
Update February 2016
This update is based on information supplied by Peter Drysdale immediately after cyclone Winston.
The Stage 1 (K1) houses were not built to K2 standards. Prior to the hurricane in 2012 we strengthened the roof on 25 exposed houses there. The Stage 3 plan includes a programme to strengthen all K1 houses.
Emphasis is on completing the Sewerage Treatment System (STATS) for the Northern end of K2 which will enable us to bring in 33 more families and by- pass the temporary systems we had in place- to link to the new system. That will avoid disease.
Progress is now on many different fronts besides home building. One of Rotary’s project partners, NZAP (New Zealand Aid Projects) are continuing their budgeted funding through their agent Habitat for Humanity Fiji on house materials, staff and community wages, septic/sewerage, roads and a major focus on community development.
The third funding partner, the Fiji Government has given an indication to the Project Manager, PP Peter Drysdale that they anticipate the finalization of the lease agreement for “K3” so that this area can be developed. This area will be utilized for the siting of septic/sewerage, buffer zones from the septic/sewerage, further land available for expanded agriculture and timber for firewood and possibly another 60 homes to take the total number of homes to approximately 300.
The Board has made a decision to continue infrastructure, but make community Development progress a major focus
The importance of Community Development is summed up in this quote from Susan Naidu, the Community development Manager, “Community Development is the heart of the project”!
Achieving a sustainable outcome
It would be simpler, cheaper and quicker to simply build roads and houses; however is that a sustainable outcome? The funding partners of Rotary, NZAP and the Fiji Government, believe that to achieve a sustainable outcome it is essential these fragile families are given a hand up to ensure their children are educated, the parents learn to generate sufficient income to create a better and healthier life for their families and ultimately feel confident that they can manage their own affairs.
The Rotary 3H grant #59642 team when submitting the original “Community Development Assessment” stressed it was committed to a sustainable project outcome and we have been indeed been fortunate to find funding partners that totally support the Rotary ethos! Under the terms and conditions of 3H grants, the original 3H grant committed to remain on the committee for the life of the project.
Community Development cannot happen as quickly as house building however Susan Naidu is a hardworking, dedicated and highly educated, caring young woman who has been successful in progressing the 5 year community development plan at a rapid rate along with her fellow team members, the equally enthusiastic Enterprise Supervisor, Jone Nawaikula and C.D Assistant Mei Mili Tokio. Rotary is fortunate that through the NZAP funding, they have the services of such committed community development people so it is important that any assistance which Rotarians wish to give in regard to community development needs to be discussed with the team prior to volunteering so as not to interrupt CD team existing plans and programs. By contacting the team prior to volunteering your proposal can be considered by the team within their extremely tight schedule.
As families join the community they are interviewed, attend community conferences on establishing home vegetable gardens, health, education and job creation and training programs on a variety of other critical topics.
The Community Development team (funded by NZAP) are only three in number, so it has been necessary to house the families in manageable groups of about 25-30 to allow each new family to gain thorough orientation training. Each new group have mentors enlisted from longer term residents living at “K1” to assist them to learn of the community facilities and training programs that are now available to them.
Building Continues to Stage 3
Onto Stage 3, another 10 acres, 25 more houses and a sports field, light industrial park and income generating projects such as the Boutique factory and food production.
The Project Manager and the team are currently still investigating possible plans for a second kindergarten building (funded by alternative sources from the current Project funding partners) and/or health clinic. Most house building will be done by the community building teams to ensure income for their families, however Rotary and some other volunteer teams will be utilized on a variety of home maintenance, some sub-project designed to enhance the community and much needed tasks.
The Stage 1 (K1) houses were not built to K2 standards. The Stage 3 plan includes a programme to strengthen all K1 houses.
The Model Towns Community Trust (MTCT) charitable trust established to assume oversight of the project after funding partners funds are expended continues to be schooled on all aspects of the project through its representatives on the Governance Board and the Project manager being involved in all MTCT meetings.
The model town provides a solution to this endless cycle of destruction. Fiji now needs 20 model towns. We have 1400+ applications from families (6300 people) on file prior to the hurricane. in February 2016 Imagine the pressure on us soon.
We are not in a position to host further teams of volunteers or even individuals during 2016. This is because we are not building houses and that will not be the case until Stage 3 in say late 2017. Isolated technical help may be requested .