Battling Land Degradation

April 2019


Training at the community level in Samoa

Ten communities of Samoa were participants of the 2010 innovative programme, ‘Taiala’ developed by Matuaileoo Environment Trust Inc. (METI) and in joint partnership with the Government of Samoa.

Taiala or Path-Breakers, was formed for Samoans to effectively adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change including soil erosion and rising sea levels affecting the livelihoods of communities.

The one year project focused on delivering agricultural training around food production, food security, soil quality, problem-solving skills, and organic farming.

Senior Training Officer + Programme Coordinator for METI, Aloema Leaupepe, says the objectives of the Taiala programme enabled METI to ensure that informed decision-making remained at a local level.

‘The overall aim was to improve the capacity of the 10 communities to live sustainably and we began the project by consulting with the community members where the objectives was laid out, and it was successful in both its implementation and outcome’.

Despite positive results, the Taiala programme still faced some challenges that hindered the training process, ‘Some community members were still relying upon chemical pesticides whilst they were learning about organic farming. As a solution to the issue, during permaculture training, the importance of using natural pesticides was reiterated and the communities began to implement what they had learned. As one of the farmers told us – You made us think’.

The ten communities who participated in the Taiala programme and received agriculture training from METI were; Lealalii, Maninoa, Nofoalii, Sapulu and Sapunaoa in small Upolu, and Malae, Patamea, Satufia, Sagone and Vaipu’a on the island of Savaii.

Due to the success of the Taiala programme, METI has expanded the project to the rest of Samoa.

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