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AMU PROJECT KIRIBATI RESOURCE CENTRE FOR THE VILLAGE OF BUOTA – TARAWA ISLAND KIRIBATI


Description of the Project environment: Kiribati Geographical: The Republic of Kiribati consists of 21 inhabited Coral atolls (33 atolls in all), stretching across 5,000,000 square kms of the ocean in the Central Pacific. The atolls lie north and south of the Equator and east and west of the International Date Line. Political: The Republic has a Westminster style of government that is representative and stable. Formerly the Gilbert, Phoenix and Line Islands, Kiribati was a British Protectorate until 1979, when Independence from Britain was gained. Economic: People are Micronesian. Most live a subsistence style of life. Tarawa, the main island is the seat of Government and the centre for education and medical help; it is grossly overpopulated with 60 – 70 percent of the country’s total population. Approximately 10% of the people have paid employment. The Republic of Kiribati is listed as one of the 10 poorest countries in the world. Socio-cultural: I-Kiribati live in family groups (extended family) in villages most often in make-shift huts, providing for their needs from the sea, for example fish, shell fish, worms, octopus tortoise etc. Coconut trees contribute to the livelihood of many I-Kiribati. The native crops are threatened by the rising sea level. People in Kiribati usually have enough food. However, many, especially children, suffer chronic diarrhoea from unsafe handling of food. Very few families have a refrigerator. Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B and Diabetes are rife. Life expectancy is set in the mid-fifties. Domestic abuse, alcoholism and lack of education are among the most urgent social problems to be addressed. Climate Change: Kiribati is one of five countries, because of the low-lying coral islands, most exposed to coastal hazards (therefore most at risk) in the context of global warming created climate change causing rising sea level.

Activity Summary Situations of extreme poverty in Kiribati require action on several fronts: early education, training, health, improved social relationships, work. This activity aims to build community solidarity, health and well-being, and positive social relationships by providing a service to the youngest, most numerous and vulnerable of the population of Buota – the children. Buota is one of the poorest and most neglected villages of the Island of Tarawa, Kiribati. The project will target families, primarily children (35), through pre-school education leading to primary school, and provide training in self-help skills and safety, and positive social behaviour. It will also complementary target mothers (25 -35) for training in health, sanitation, and nutrition and sewing skills. The project is for an initial period of 3 years and then will be assessed for a longer term.

Goal To improve the living and social conditions of the Community of Buota, one of the poorest and most isolated villages on Tarawa, through targeted initiatives for women and children using an appropriate and functional existing structure and through local government and community input and services.

Description of Project Activity Pre-school: 35 children, ages 3 – 6 years (divided into 2 learning groups), will attend for two hours per day a programme that would include practical language skills and basic numeracy, physical education, expressive art and/or design, oral health hygiene, practical self-care and safety. The basic curriculum is to be developed by state-certified local teachers. Basic pedagogical tool used in the pre-school will be the “Cube of Love” (The Cube of Love: Instructional Guide, copyright 2008 Focolare Movement). A cube (made by the students), on which there is written a point of the “art of loving” on each face, focuses the children on caring for others. The points contain the Gospel message of love: love everyone, be the first to love, love the presence of God in the other,


share the other’s joy or hurt, love your enemy, love one another. The points are relevant as well for groups of different faith traditions. Each morning the Cube of Love is rolled in class and both students and teachers take the commitment to live the phrase selected for the day. The children spontaneously share their experiences of living the point chosen during the day, as these words become part of the child’s life. This lifestyle of ‘loving the other,’ imparted to the children through this tool, permeates all their activities and peer and adult relationships. (see www.livingcitymagazine.com/cubeoflove).

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Certified pre-school instructors with additional people from the local community providing assistance and are well experienced in using the “Cube of Love” in the classroom. The families of the children attending the pre-school will be asked to contribute $1.00 weekly per child or whatever is possible taking into consideration their level of income.

Mother’s Group: will consist of a target group of 25 -35 mothers who will attend 2 times a month training sessions on sanitation, hygiene, nutrition and child rearing skills. The classes will be conducted by instructors from the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services. • The women will also engage in crafts and sewing that will be taught by two women of the community (Buota). The purpose is to engage the women in a group activity with positive social interaction and would ultimately lend itself to some revenue.

Description of the village of Buota The village of Buota has the lowest socio-economic population of the Island. There are approximately 1469 people residing in the village (the population of Tarawa was 50,182 as of the 2010 census). Most of the inhabitants do not receive the benefits of paid employment and live a subsistence style of life. Approximately forty percent of the population are children, the majority are not in school; many are single mothers. Presently there is 1 pre-school for the village; no community social and health services are available. There is no public transportation to the village which is attached to the mainland of Tarawa by a single, small bridge. There is one primary school and 3 Christian Churches.

Existing infrastructure at the Buota Centre: The site where this project will be developed is where the Diocese of Kiribati has provided the Focolare community of Buota with a small piece of property on which the Diocese has built a manaeba (Kiribati “traditional meeting hall”) that can be used for multiple usages. There is a water tank on the property. This structure accommodates approximately 80 people. A small number of families and youth already gather at this site on weekends for social engagement and community sharing. • Another smaller structure exists with a classroom for a pre-school, a small kitchen, a toilet and 2 bedrooms. The Diocese has subsidized the building of two more toilets and showers. Two small portable stoves are available to provide meals for a relatively small number of people. • A couple live permanently at the Centre to manage the site and provide security. • There is the ground space to create a small sport’s area; an area that can be cleared by the local community. However without funds to support specific activities (as outlined in the project summery) the Centre cannot serve the villagers concretely with much needed services.

Main Stakeholders (who will supervise the project) •

Diocese of Kiribati, led by Bishop Paul Mea Kaiuea, co-sponsor the project to improve the living situation and well-being of the Catholic community. The Diocese will provide staff to oversee and monitor the project locally. The Diocese staff will ensure that the goals of the project are met and the funds are allocated appropriately for the needs of the local community of Buota. Focolare Movement of Australia and New Zealand, to support and improve the living conditions and spiritual and material needs and outlook of the community. The Focolare Project Head will comonitor the project, provide continual input, educational and recreational materials and visit the


project on-site to assess the continuity and goal achievements of the Centre and its staff. Regular reports will be submitted to Caritas New Zealand Associazione Mondo Unito, (AMU) an NGO of the Focolare Movement that works in underdeveloped countries, located in Rome, Italy, have approved funding for the project for 3 years when it will be re-evaluated for its continuance. They will visit the project on site to support, advise and monitor. (see below)

Funds will be administered by the Diocese of Kiribati and the Focolare Movement in Australia and will go for purchasing materials for the school, salaries for the teachers, children’s school fees and uniforms, building a play area for the children and sports equipment (as balls), and costs to feed the children one nutritious meal a day.

Brief Description of Focolare Movement The Focolare Movement is a worldwide movement of more than 3 million people of all ages, religions, and backgrounds. It was founded by Chiara Lubich ( a woman whom the New York Times defined as “one of the most influential women in the Roman Catholic Church”) in 1943, in Trent, northern Italy, and has now spread with its spirituality of unity to over 182 countries. This international Movement works collaboratively with all people of goodwill for peace, unity, social development, and justice in the world. Focolare carries on local and global initiatives in the world’s neediest countries, fostering social, educational and cultural development. It encourages universal brotherhood and collaboration in all areas of life: family, youth, education, health issues, politics, economics, communications and more. For more information see: www.focolare.org/en . For local contact: Mary V. Cass Email: mvcass@focolare.org Within Australia Phone: 03 9800 4957 Mobile: 0450749975 International Phone: 0011 613 9800 4957 Cell: 0011 613 4507 9975


Brief Description of AMU (Associazione per un Mondo Unito NGO) AMU is an NGO founded in 1986 and recognized as suitable by the Italian Department of Foreign Affairs for the realization of projects of development and for activities of formation and education for development both in Italy and in developing countries. AMU draws its inspiration from the spirituality of the Focolare Movement and intends to spread the culture of dialogue and unity among peoples. It is comitted to bringing forth activities of sustainable cooperation able to set the premises for an effective development, respecting the social, cultural, and economic local reality, together with the involved populations. The sectors of intervention activated thus far in several countries of Latin America, Africa, Asia, South Pacific and Eastern Europe, concern the support for the primary needs (shelter, food, and health) as well as the development in agriculture and cottage industries, basic and professional education, and other activities of human and social development. The AMU is accredited also with Italian Department of Education, University and Research for training of school staff on themes of cross-cultural acceptance and human rights. It is also associated with CIPSI (Coordination of Grass-Roots Initiatives of International Solidarity) and with the Italian National Association of NGOs.


Project Kiribati