C3 Fiji began in 2010 on Kia island, located on the Great Sea Reef off the north coast of Vanua Levu.

The challenges faced by Kia islanders are representative of communities in remote tropical coastal regions today: deforestation, lack of reliable electricity and water, overfishing, exploitation of endangered species for international trade, coral bleaching, and an increase in storm surges and coastal erosion. In the face of this, C3 Fiji partnered with the Kian community to build awareness, capacity, and inspiration for environmental stewardship.

Today, the majority of houses have solar energy and fuel-efficient stoves. The community is also knowledgeable in habitat and fisheries monitoring, and MPA regulations. Furthermore, sustainable livelihoods have been successful, thanks to great input by local women. Screen printing, apiculture, handicrafts, and the establishment of village stores are all businesses that supplement incomes previously wholly dependent on fisheries.

Following the success on Kia, we extended our efforts to ten other communities across Macuata province. C3 Fiji is currently hard-pressed to keep up with demand, as more new communities request support for rural enterprise development, and MPA establishment and management.

C3 Fiji is truly community centred as its name implies. We’re not a NGO which comes and goes to rural communities in order to implement top-down projects conceived in costly offices in cities by development personnel. We’re grassroots, located in the community and all of our ideas come from the community and complement the country’s overarching sustainable development goals.

We have developed successful environmental stewardship models with proven impact. Our job is to adapt, replicate and upscale what we do to reach more and more communities and areas of critical biological importance.

We only promise to deliver effective, sustainable and impactful conservation and development at the best possible price. C3 Fiji can deliver at much lower cost than most NGOs because we are locally-based, locally-run and have hundreds of community volunteers, well-researched suppliers, and a policy of zero or minimal waste.

The international community must admit that conservation has not been successful to date. We are still losing hundreds of species and swathes of habitat each year. With limited funds and time, we must shift our paradigm away from neocolonial conservation approaches and waiting for data to inform decisions. Instead, we need to capacitate communities to manage and monitor key biodiversity areas with their own drive and commitment before it is too late.

It is also time for donors to take a good, hard look at value for money when it comes to future conservation investments. We must move away from an approach that historically supported short-lived outcomes with high administrative cost–one that, unfortunately, led to corruption and the external dependence of local institutions.

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C3 Fiji108 Nasekula Road, Labasa

C3 Fiji (Community Centred Conservation (Fiji) Limited), in accordance with the Companies Act, is registered as a non-profit organization in Fiji under the Registrar of Companies with Company Registration No. RCBS2014G3314.