Degree: Postgraduate Diploma in Climate Change
Graduated: April 2013.
Current Position: Monitoring and Evaluation Project Assistant for SPC/GIZ CCCPIR and Masters student at the University of the South Pacific
Current Employment/Academic Status?
a) Monitoring and Evaluation Project Assistant for the SPC/GIZ Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Islands Region Programme (CCCPIR)
b) Graduate student studying for a Master of Arts in Diplomacy and International Affairs at the University of the South Pacific (expected to graduate September 2015)
What was your reason for enrolling in a Climate Change Program in PaCe-SD?
I have always made it a point to pursue things in life that I have a great passion and conviction for. It’s difficult to be able to pinpoint the exact moment you decide to actively pursue something but in this case, it came whilst volunteering for an environmental awareness campaign. I tried enlisting the support of a group of Pacific Island students (who were from a PIC highly vulnerable to climate change) but despite my efforts to convince them they bluntly told me no and that the issue had nothing to do with them. Horrified by this, I made a pledge to arm myself with the necessary knowledge and skills, so in the event of a similar situation I would have a more convincing argument. When I heard about the PaCE-SD’S Postgraduate Diploma in Climate Change programme, I instantly knew this was my chance to do just that.
Why choose USP PACE-SD’s programme when other Universities offered climate change courses?
USP PACE-SD had one advantage that trumped any other university and that was its context-positioned in the most vulnerable region to climate change, there is no better place to learn and apply ones knowledge but right here at home.
What does your current career involve? (i.e your main responsibilities)
As a monitoring and evaluation assistant, I provide support to track the results of our adaptation and mitigation activities in 12 pacific island countries and aid in strengthening the programme’s processes and tools that are used in its monitoring and evaluation framework. I also provide technical expertise, including training, on gender and climate change issues.
How has your knowledge and skills gained from your studies assisted you and the organisation that you are working in with their duties related to climate change?
Being a part of a climate change programme, I am fortunate to employed in my area of study and interest. As such, I constantly find myself drawing upon knowledge and experience from the PaCE-SD climate change programme to assist me on a daily basis.
Can you tell us about any success stories in your career after you have graduated that you believe was made possible with your study experience at PaCe-SD ?
I have assisted in the production of a toolkit to help mainstream gender into climate change activities in the Pacific. I have also assisted and conducted awareness trainings on climate change and gender for individuals from communities, government, national civil society groups and regional organisations as well as contributed to a report on an integrated vulnerability assessment for a pacific island community. The Postgraduate Diploma in Climate Change programme has provided me with the tools and knowledge to be able to do this kind of work.
What have you done differently/better now in your job after graduation?
Studying at PACE-SD opened my mind towards a broader view on world affairs. It helped me realise that climate change is not an issue where the science can be considered in isolation but rather where understanding the dynamics of global affairs as a whole is also vital. After graduation, I decided to take a slight diversion and pursue a Masters in Diplomacy and International Affairs instead of pursuing a Master of Science. By studying diplomacy, I hope to merge this school of learning with my science background to better understand climate change diplomacy at the international level. In the future, I aspire to represent the region at climate change negotiations and to contribute towards affecting change at this level.
What ambitions do you have for the future in your career?
I hope to graduate with my Masters degree in 2015 and continue to apply myself to the best of my ability in my current position as an M & E Assistant. From experience, I know that plans can change in ways that I could never imagine but academically, I do hope to pursue a Masters in Environmental Studies or Natural Resource Management so as to strengthen my science base or maybe even pursue a PhD in diplomacy. Professionally, I hope to continue to work in the field of climate change and delve further into the policy-making aspect of it, but whatever positions I do take in the future I hope that it is something where I can positively contribute to the Pacific region
What are you most proud of in your life? (Can be a personal achievement or work related).
I have been fortunate to be given many opportunities in my life but of all of these, I am most proud to be a mother. It may be a cliché but my son is my pride and joy and he motivates me to make a difference (no matter how small) and secure a better future for him.
What inspires you to pursue the type of work that you are in?
Aside from my mum, the friends I made whilst pursuing PaCE-SD’s Post-graduate Diploma, are my source of inspiration. They are an amazing group of young women that are dynamic and passionate about helping our people adapt to the impacts of climate change. Their hopes, words and actions are my everyday source of inspiration.
Who is your role model and why?
I hold my family and friends as role models, each has a quality or qualities such as leadership, perseverance, loyalty, passion for their work and compassion for people, all traits that I admire and strive to attain myself.