Cakaudrove Women’s Resource Centre (A I Tatadra – Dreaming Project)
Architectural Commercial and Residential
Emma Healy, Lucia Wellington,
Derek Chin, Miemie Ohn,
Ameera Mahmood, Emily Simpson,
Leeanne Marshall, James Harley
SVTC (Soqosoqo Vakamarama ni Cakaudrove)
Represented by: Adi Kavu Fong & Elenoa Kaisau
The Cakaudrove Women’s Resource Centre (CWRC) or A I Taadra – Dreaming project comprises the design and construction of a Hall building in the town of Savusavu, Vanua Levu, Fiji. It is a collaborative project between the rural women of Cakaudrove-Soqosoqo Vakamarama i Taukei ni Cakaudrove (SVTC)—DFAT and Architects Without Frontiers.
The intention for the CWRC was to create a place benefiting the entire province, most significantly women from the rural villages. These women travel to Savusavu to sell local craft and crops, bring children to school and meet with women from other parts of Cakaudrove. The building’s primary function is to support rural women in transit with accommodation and gathering facilities. The facility also provides socio-cultural benefits including the dissemination of traditional craft techniques and a meeting place for the Cakaudrove Women’s group to discuss matters of relevance to the entire community such as education, health and village maintenance.
The core design idea was adapted from a traditional bure form as seen in a 'skeletal' ruined bure building in Yasawa village. The CWRC building is located prominently on the site. It's a timber building based with a thatched roof, but is a contemporary interpretation of the form with a hidden corrugated iron roof to collect rainwater.
The community was deeply involved in the realisation of the project and traditional techniques were incorporated such as the woven ceiling mats. These mats are only found in local villages and embody their stories. Elements like this give the building additional significance.
The project's most powerful contribution is that it has centred the agenda of indigenous rural women in the heart of the province. The project is highly visible and the form of the structure references traditional bures that were the cultural heart of all rural villages. The project enhances Indigenous women's voices within a patrilineal, hierarchical, context in the Vanua and develops Indigenous women's agency within regional and country contexts. The women of Cakaudrove are custodians of sacred knowledge and now have a space where they can discuss their issues , preserve culture, make a livelihood and feel safe within the community.
This project is self contained but a future stage is planned which will include purpose designed accommodation and office space.
DFAT have noted that this project is the first centre of its kind in Fiji. Key community benefits include:
- Increased community resilience - through the realisation of a space for women to gather and work together
- Increased net incomes for people living in poverty - through provision of facilities for utilising traditional skills and crafts for commercial gain
- Improved utilisation of financial services - through provision of a venue for meeting, training and community education