Training empowers communities to protect themselves

Participants from government and non-governmental organisations have welcomed a five-day training to build resilience among communities against the effects of extreme weather.

U.S.AID Deputy Mission Director, Sean Callahan, said the training is to develop skills of participants to design effective and bankable projects in line with their climate adaptation plans. This will improve access to external financing resources that could support their needs.

"The main focus is to help Pacific Island countries deal with a lot of environmental challenges that’s happening whether it be rising seas, drought, floods, typhoons," he said. 

"For us to do that, we feel that the best people to handle that are the Pacific islanders themselves. And one of the steps is to help them become accredited with certain climate financing funds such as the Green Climate Fund, the Resilience Fund and to do that you have be accredited.

"Once your do that, you can apply for funds so you can then, take those funds and implement programmes to address the environmental challenges in your country, rather than having to secure funds from someone else telling you what to do."

The training is about empowering the community to protect themselves.

"If you’re a local N.G.O. and you feel the storms are coming and you want to have a shelter in place, so where do your secure the funds? Maybe we’ll be able to help you write a proposal and then you have to report on it and procure the material and how do you do that," said Mr. Callahan.

"All these rules the people would have for you to get to the funds, you’ll get some of the basic skills to allow you then to build that storm shelter."

Tauvaga Ofoia, from the Land Transport Authority, is among the participants. 

"It’s a tool we can use in the future, to grab a hold of financing in order to develop our country," he said.

"With a lot of us at the moment, our knowledge is very limited in these big projects but the help from USAID, who have had experiences in other countries similar with us, they can also transfer to us."

To date, USAID has strengthened the capacity of more than 800 government and non governmental partners from 10 Pacific Island nations in developing effective adaptation projects to enhance their country's resilience.

Mr. Callahan said they are also working with local governments to help draft and implement certain laws and policies on disasters and the climate as well as the third aspect called the Project Management training.

"So that we work with all sectors of civil society to help them build up their skills and manage projects, so they have their core skills," he said.

USAID's Ready is a five year project working in 11 Pacific Island countries including Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

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