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Sotiana Leba Mele

*Name: Sotiana Leba Mele

School: Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development

Faculty: Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development

Degree of Enrolment: Masters in Climate Change

Research Area: The value of Traditional Knowledge to achieve sustainable livelihoods in adaptation strategies to Climate Change. The Case Studies: Narikoso & Vunidogoloa villages in Fiji

Supervisors: Dr Keith Morrison and Dr Eberhard Weber

Current Research Summary: Indigenous people are particularly vulnerable to climate change; however they can also offer valuable contributions as solutions to climate change. The Pacific communities depend heavily on locally and traditionally managed resources for their source of livelihood, and so the safeguarding of the resources to ensure that the current and future generations have means of survival is of utmost importance. The Pacific is known for its traditional knowledge but these facets have not yet been well implemented together into policies and decision making. To date, research data had been collected by SPREP and Ministry of Agriculture but it has not been used to indicate the use of traditional knowledge and how it can be of assistance for climate change adaptation. Once traditional knowledge has been captured by different communities, in this research the two communities are Narikoso (Kadavu) and Vunidagaloa (Vanua Levu) it will then be able to determine how sustainable livelihoods can be maintained in face of climate change through the use of traditional knowledge. The Pacific is very vulnerable to the effects of climate change yet our voices and knowledge of what could help maintain our communities has not been implemented into policies. The research aims to determine the role of local knowledge in climate change adaptation but also prove that traditional knowledge is a good indicator of climate change through the use of an extensive data set of livelihood indicators. Complementing the quantitative study of livelihoods will be qualitative study of how traditional knowledge has been used over the same period. Analysis of how this has occurred in the two selected sites since 2004 and how it correlates to the analysis of livelihoods will be the central focus of the research. The project outputs will potentially enable leaders to make better decisions and to develop better policies, to help protect vulnerable nations through establishing monitoring that incorporates the role of traditional knowledge in order to maintain sustainable livelihood.

Testimonial- Graduate Assistant Scholarship Scheme:

When given such a huge opportunity like been a Graduate Assistant of the University of the South Pacific, is indeed an honor and privilege every researcher and student dreams of to help pursue their studies and dreams. As a recipient, it has formed a platform for me to gain experience, knowledge, face challenges and learn many new aspects of research from expertise in the University. The scholarship has allowed me to work with lecturers, researchers and make new friends in my field of study. For me, personally, been a GA is an eye opener which will contribute to my future career and help achieve my goals. I would highly recommend graduates to take this opportunity offered by the University as a platform which will open many doors for you to achieve greater things in life.