Under this project, Fiji organized 4 training workshops, gathering 113 participants, half of them being women.
Case studies presented by local practitioners as well as a panel discussion enriched the workshop on the implementation of the Convention (September 2015). This set-up allowed this first workshop to be well grounded in the reality of Fiji and encouraged the active participation of stakeholders. Several members of chiefdom status attended the event and reiterated the need to include ICH safeguarding on the permanent agenda of high-level meetings in each district and province.
The workshop on community-based inventory (February 2016) analysed and built up on successful past initiatives such as the inventorying and mapping projects carried out in the past in Fiji. Staff from the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs co-facilitated sessions on the technical aspects of ICH inventorying (e.g. taking photos and videos). Participants documented 5 elements during a field trip to Nabukaluka village: eel fishing method, traditional chants, food preparation, house construction techniques, and oral history. In preparation, the community was consulted as early as December 2015 following a locally accepted process and authorized the participants to come to their village to contribute to the documentation of the local ICH.
The workshop on developing safeguarding plans for ICH (October 2017) complemented the theoretical role-play with the analysis of 3 Fijian elements: Vakamalolo tradition sitting meke (dance) of the Tui Lawa people of Yanuya; salt making traditions from Lomawi village, and the making of traditional fishing nets of the Sawau people of Beqa. Several practitioners shared their knowledge of selected elements so that participants could practice developing safeguarding plans. The practical value of this exercise was a strong motivating factor for participants. The capacity-building cycle was completed with the workshop on the preparation of nominations to the lists of the Convention (February 2017).
Finally, the Fijian team consolidated its learning by undertaking the pilot community-based documentation of the meke dance.