28 Vanuatu Students Graduate with the Pacific’s First Qualification in Climate Change & Disaster Risk Reduction

Port Vila - On 3 August, the Ministry of Education and Training, in partnership with the Ministry of Climate Change and through the Vanuatu Institute of Technology (VIT) produced its first graduates in the newly introduced Climate Change & Disaster Risk Reduction CCDRR course at the Certificate I Level. A first of its kind in the region (and the entire world) the group of graduates was selected from all provinces throughout the country went through very intense 6 months of theory and practical learning. The course is especially designed for men and women in rural areas who have a passion to help their communities adapt to climate change and reduce the impacts of disasters. Participants come from a wide range of backgrounds - officers of NDMO; employees of the Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development, Fisheries, Livestock and Forestry; people working for civil society organisations; graduates of rural training centres; secondary school leavers; those following undergraduate programmes; and people with practical experience in conservation and environmental management.

Charles Pierce, the course writer and principal facilitator/teacher, former teacher at Malapoa College and tutor at the Vanuatu Institute of Teacher Education and Emalus Campus, explained that “Nowadays everyone is talking about climate change.  A lot of information is available but is not always easy to obtain for people living in rural areas of Vanuatu.  This course is designed to help participants understand more about climatic changes and disasters that have affected us in the past and at present, and are likely to affect us in the future.  Many people say that we cannot do much about these changes and disasters, but this is not true.  We can do a great deal to reduce the impacts of climate change and natural hazards, both as individuals and in our local communities, and to adapt to these changes in the future”.   Jill Hinge, teacher at VIT and co-facilitator of the course explained that “…course participants have done a lot of practical work upgrading their skills in interpreting and drawing maps and graphs and in processing statistical information, learning how to demonstrate a number of adaptation measures to others and how to assess a community’s level of risk to hazards and climate change…”

Director of Education, Roy Obed congratulated the students and reiterated the Government’s commitment to continue supporting the integration of this course into the national education system. These sentiments were also echoed by the Minister of Climate Change, Honourable Ham Lini Vanuaroroa who presented the graduates with their certificates. Dr Tess Martin representing the SPC EU-PacTvet expressed similar sentiments congratulating the students for their achievement and encouraged them to continue as effective agents of change. Henry Vira of GIZ congratulated the Ministry of Education & Training and Ministry of Climate Change for their support in ensuring that this program, which took more than 4 years to put together, came into fruition.

The course has received financial and technical assistance from GIZ, the German Agency for International Cooperation, the Pacific Community (SPC), the University of the South Pacific (SPC) in association with, the European Union’s Pacific Technical and Vocational Educational and Training (PacTVET) programme.