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International Waters Project Takuvaine Community, Rarotonga Cook Islands South Pacific
Where on earth is the Cook Islands? • 240m2 – total land area • 1.8million m2 - EEZ • 15 islands – Northern Group and Southern Group
Rarotonga – Kia Orana! AVARUA – Main Town of Rarotonga
Background • Tourism – $$$$$$$ • Green Environment, Sun, Sea, Sand! • Extremely vulnerable to changes in the market Images: Cook Island Tourism
Background • Last 50 years seen changes in society! Traditional, subsistence Modern, consumer • Why?? Free association with New Zealand Airport opened – tourism, emigration • Changed community structures & social behaviour; erosion of traditional leadership and sense of communal responsibility • Individualistic goals – no one cares about other people with the same aroa (care, love, etc) as they use to.
Cook Islands IWP Primary Objective: To find cost-effective ways to improve the management of freshwater Pilot community: Takuvaine Community and its water catchment Problem: -No water treatment -Activities contributing to unacceptable levels of contamination to the water supply -No awareness so people don’t know
Goals and Objectives Provide access to good quality drinking water for the Takuvaine community Community Management Plan for the Takuvaine Catchment National Provide access to good quality drinking water for the rest of the Rarotonga Management Plan for the rest of the Rarotonga catchments Beyond – 2006 Improve management of the whole Takuvaine Watershed RESERVATION OF UPPER CATCHMENTS Management Plan for the Takuvaine watershed
Cook Islands IWP • Economic Valuation 2005 - Water pollution to cost millions if nothing is done to address problems now! -Loss of tourism, buying water, increased health bills, loss of fish stocks, etc - Recommendations -Land Use and National Water Policy are some National Coordinator at the Takuvaine Water Intake
Root causes of the problem? - People unaware of fragility of water catchments and how their presence & activities are contributing to contamination - Activities include: -trekking (popular with tourists), -planting/harvesting water taro staple food of Pacific Islanders) and other crops, -bat shooting, -animal grazing, etc
No awareness because? – no resources! • Lack of information for people to help make a decision to change the way they do things, eg research, health statistics, etc It’s not a problem! I drink the water from the tap and I don’t get sick!
Solution? Water treatment – $$$$ - root causes still there! Low-cost, no cost solution?? • Manage the activities Water Catchment Management Plan!! • Need changes, need awareness!
Communications Program • Communications Strategy 2005 • Ultimate goal? To change behaviors of the target audiences so that we will have a much safer drinking water – the ultimate goal of the Cook Islands IWP. Come on!! It Starts With YOU!!!
Communications Program Objectives: • Help the target audiences to understand the objectives, processes and benefits of the project at the community and national level • Promote the adoption of specific plans and behaviors to protect the Takuvaine water catchment – and other catchments
Communications Program • Target audiences: • The water users that are affected by contamination – the Takuvaine community • The users of the water catchment (growers, trekkers, public workers) • The landowners in and outside the site • The national decision-makers responsible for developing a Freshwater Strategy for Rarotonga
Campaign targets: what can we realistically achieve? COMMUNITY: -For 75% of Takuvaine community & landowners to be aware of the main problems affecting the quality of water by March 2006 -For the Takuvaine community & landowners to adopt a Management Plan to help minimize harmful activities in the water catchment by February 2006 -For 75% of the Takuvaine community & landowners to be aware of the rules stipulated by the MP reg’s by March 2006
NATIONAL: -For 75% of Rarotonga’s population to be aware of the main problems affecting the quality of their freshwater by April 2006 -For Rarotonga’s population to support the development of a Freshwater Management Strategy by November 2006 – which may see the reservation of all water catchments!
Challenges The lack of support from the community – distrust in government! The lack of experienced and creative people to produce communications for freshwater AND behavior change! The lack of available resources to develop and implement these communications
Results • Communications strategy a ‘checklist’ • Cooks most significant achievement since the strategy include the queries and feedback from those that have seen some of the activities: - Project documentary - Champion articles - Project posters Wow!! I didn’t know about all these things! Please tell me more!! Continued....
Helping to revive traditional structures so that communities can come together to manage their own resources such as the Koutu Nui • Mama Terii Simpson – Community champion Let us not rely on government all the time. We must do our bit first then government will do there’s! CHAMPION Profiles – a communication tool – showing how these people are helping to protect their own water resource!
Management Plan yet to be implemented but some changes already include: - Prohibited the use of chemicals - Removal of animals - Monitoring of the area (visitor numbers for trekking, etc) - Cease swimming in intake - Boiling drinking water - Spread the message! More than 75% will consider changes if only they knew how??!!
Lessons • Communications must be properly planned, and messages must be SIMPLE, positive, repetitive repetitive and CONSISTENT….. • Long time delays between campaigns means messages are easily forgotten! • Involve the community – make them feel significant & responsible
However, -Still a need to learn how to plan and produce effective communications to influence behaviors and attitudes… -Still a need to evaluate the effectiveness of campaigns in order to plan the next… -Case studies -What's everyone else doing?? -What's working for them??