DDC Update (2017)

Dravuni Development Committee 

Extent of coverage to date

 Three previous posts covered the following: (i) a description of what DDC is, its membership and a reference to its then five year development plan: 2007-2011; (ii) a brief note on the two components of DDC comprising DDC Dravuni (members resident in the village) and DDC Suva (members resident on Viti Levu); reference to a project with the USP and the prospect of a new landing pontoon for tourists when cruise ships visit Dravuni; and (iii) DDC Update 2009.

Current status of DDC

DDC, as the constituted body, has lapsed since then. Its various sub-committees are still operational however and they are really the bodies that are managing and implementing the vision, mission and projects of the DDC. It can be said that DDC’s function is being executed through delegation to its sub-committees.

A number of factors have contributed to this situation, viz:

  1. The change of chairmanship referred to in DDC Update 2009 did not work out as expected;
  2. The resultant lethargy that befell DDC Dravuni infected DDC Suva; and
  3. The onset of economic activities – the construction of the Kokomo Resorts on adjacent Yaukuve Levu Island, brought diversion and division amongst the villagers. Diversion in the sense that people sought paid employment there on Yaukuve Levu. Division in the sense that members of the Mataqali Natusara, one of the two mataqali in Dravuni, are co-owners of the project and necessarily had to devote much time and effort to that project.

 

Current status of its development projects

As mentioned earlier, a great number of DDC projects enumerated in DDC Update 2009 has progressed and got implemented. Quite a number of boxes can thus be ticked. The Blog, ‘New Dravuni Pontoon,’ published on 27.06.10, e.g. covered the construction of the new pontoon. There is however no new development plan apart from the 2007-2011 Plan.

Credit of course can be attributed to the sub-committees concerned and other personnel who have facilitated the progress we have seen.

It is my intention to post more regular reports on the progress of these projects in future rather than attending to an overall assessment here and now. I did attempt an overall situational analysis report in ‘Dravuni – Rural Village Economy.’

The various sub-committees and their leadership of course have to be commended for the work they have carried out. Credit should be directed to the chairpersons of these sub-committees. It has to be acknowledged that it is their singular drive and commitment that have motivated their persistent engagement notwithstanding the lack of animated recognition from DDC.

Other factors have also contributed to the development progress we have seen, viz:

  1. The villagers themselves, as a whole, have to be commended for the pursuit of these development projects. Whilst one or two individuals have stood out over the years as kingpins, it is really the collective ethos of the villagers that have kept the development flame flickering over these years;
  2. The collaboration from agencies outside Dravuni, e.g. those involved in the cruise ships industry have played their roles in assisting and facilitating the work of the DDC sub-committee concerned;
  3. The Bose Vakoro, village council, has stepped up its administrative and organizational role, thus filling the void created by DDC’s lethargy;
  4. New groups of economically-empowered individuals have also hopped into the development arena and played their part in executing projects. In ‘ Dravuni – Rural Village Economy’, e.g. I referred to Dravuni males working in Kokomo Resorts contributing to the budget for the provision of solar energy to the church and to the residence of the catechist;
  5. In addition to their own family improvement projects, Mataqali Navusalevu (second mataqali in Dravuni) members have also opted to implement the rain water catchment system that feeds the concrete water tank that serves the village;
  6. The discussions on the water system on Dravuni have necessitated wider discussions with government on the prospect of a village sewerage system; and
  7. The Soqosoqo Vakamarama, women’s group, and not forgetting the children themselves, participated actively in the ‘Dravuni – Sivia yani na Vunilagi: Beyond the Horizon Exhibition’ and the benefits have continued to flow to the school and to the kindergarten (see Exhibition).

 

Way Forward?

The question that inevitably arises is what to do with DDC. In ‘Dravuni – Rural Village Economy’ I concluded that given the costs and benefits of this rural village economy that has evolved, and given especially the externalities that need to be effectively managed, I had suggested that DDC has to quit being on the sideline and return to the center to play its directional and leadership role. It would make sense now that future consideration of DDC has got to be made in the context of the parameters identified under Dravuni – Rural Village Economy.

 

The question then becomes what form should DDC now take. Its form before it lapsed evidently is no longer suitable. The prospect of the Bose Vakoro taking up the gauntlet is a possibility; and that council can be empowered appropriately in terms of technical inputs, including further empowering of the subcommittee chairpersons. The leadership of the council by the Turaga ni Koro will become very critical.

 

The other option is to use the conduit of the Dravuni Day to be the apex of Dravuni development. It can be envisaged that chairpersons of sub-committees, who should be suitably empowered, can submit their reports on the day and also obtain further collective proposals from the gathering. This will mean of course having to consider Dravuni Day, its format and utility more seriously than we have had to date. The frequency of the Day needs also to be rationalized.

 

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