An exciting and innovative new project is underway in Fiji that asks communities, teachers and media to share their thoughts on climate change. The project is also pioneering a ground-breaking mobile survey run on both Digicel (with technology provided by Mobimedia) and Vodafone networks that allows people to share their ideas and opinions on responding to climate change.
The project “SPARCK” Sharing Perceptions of Adaptation, Resilience and Climate Knowledge has already launched in Samoa and Fiji, and will run in Vanuatu in June. Understanding local opinions on the challenges of climate change is an important part of the project, and will help in identifying how people in the Pacific understand and respond to climate change. In Fiji, the project has been supported by key partners including the Ministry of Information, Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Education.
Ultimately, SPARCK hopes to foster local solutions to climate change, and collaborate with teachers, media and communities to build capacity. Dr. Denis Chang Seng, UNESCO’s science programme specialist for the Pacific States, says that: “SPARCK is showing us that through better understanding and consideration of local perceptions in climate change adaption, we can increase resilience against climate change impacts.”
The mobile survey has received a positive response so far, and Ms. Joelle Auffray, Apidae Development Innovations Co-Founder and Director, said that using a mobile survey is creating a new way of seeking input of local voices: “Using mobile phones to communicate with people allows information to come from a wider range of communities so we can get a more accurate picture of climate perceptions.”
SPARCK held discussions with teachers and media in Suva last week and also visited the community of Navutulevu to hear their ideas on challenges and solutions to climate change. Dr. Adam Bumpus, Co-Founder of Apidae Development Innovations and Assistant Professor at the University of Melbourne said: “the combination of mobile technology and in-person meetings is allowing us to get a better understanding of local solutions that can then be shared.”
The SPARCK project has also created a Pacific-wide community discussion on Facebook where information, pictures and videos on climate change are being shared. Since launching in March, the page has quickly grown, reaching people across the Pacific, the UK, USA and Canada.
A final report will be disseminated at the end of the project sharing the perceptions of Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu to help build capacity for local solutions in fostering climate knowledge and resilience. For more information on the project, please visit the SPARCK Facebook page: “Sparck: Pacific Climate Change Project”.