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Masters graduate dedicate achievement to grandparents

A Samoan woman, Amuimuia Elisapeta Areta, who graduated with a Master in Environmental Management from the University of Kitakyushu in Japan, plans to use her new found knowledge and experience to assist with the development of Samoa. 

The 32-year-old is from the villages of Salelologa, Vaiusu, Salamumu and Vailele.

She is also an employee of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.) under the Land Development Division.

Amuimuia dedicated her achievement to her late grandparents from both her father and mother’s side: Leiataualesā Kenneth Paul Ah Kuoi and Talaleu Talaopatina Crawley Ah Kuoi; Reverend Areta Folasa Areta and Elisapeta Ropeti Areta. 

She told the Samoa Observer via email that the most challenging part of her studies was being far away from home especially during the last stretch of the journey due to the pandemic. 

“In terms of academic, the pandemic affected most of the international conferences that I was accepted to participate and to present my research as part of the university requirement for completion,” she said.

Amuimuia also revealed that everything was switched to online mode which was very difficult in completing the paper.

“This is due to the fact that most of the programmes utilised for data analysis was based on campus at our allocated laboratory.

“But, I managed to complete on time with the assistance of my assigned Professor and assistance from lab mates and Associate Professors.”

Furthermore, she is deeply grateful to the Government of Japan through J.I.C.A. Pac-LEADS [now changed to S.D.G. Program] for funding this golden opportunity to study in the Land of the Rising Sun.

“Special thanks to all the respondents from both government ministries and the private sector in Samoa who took time to attempt the online questionnaire, your responses have been tremendous. 

“Finally, I offer my passionate, heartfelt and profound gratitude to my parents and family for their unfailing love, support and continuous prayers that made the completion of this milestone possible.

“Thank you to my friends, office colleagues for all the encouragements that have motivated me to complete this tortuous journey.”

According to media release issued by J.I.C.A., it states that thanks to her two years of study under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (J.I.C.A.) Sustainable Development Goals (S.D.G.) Global Leader Programme she is ready to apply her newfound knowledge in Environmental Management to assist with the development of Samoa. 

She plans to utilise her experience and knowledge to assist in the assessment of different development proposals submitted to the Ministry that requires government lands. 

Furthermore, her knowledge will also employ to review any Environmental Impact Assessment (E.I.A.) referrals from the implementing agency and analyse where Life Cycle Assessment (L.C.A.) principles can be applied to assist in the decision making process. 

L.C.A. is a method that assesses the potential environmental impacts associated with product, process or service throughout its entire life cycle from resource extraction to ultimate disposal. 

Ms. Areta’s research, L.C.A. is not practised in Samoa under the current available legislations and regulations but its application is considered imperative to any development project. 

“The current E.I.A. practice should be upgraded to improve the consideration of cumulative impacts,” she relayed.

“This requires the application of innovative tools and assessments such as LCA to fully implement the polluter pays principles and to strengthen the integrity of EIA practice.”  

The Land Management Division A.C.E.O., Filisita Heather was very proud of Ms. Areta’s accomplishment and said, “What she studied in Japan will benefit the Ministry especially the Land Development Division where she’s currently based under.

The division looks after all government lands in Samoa and is trying to develop a Master Plan to protect our lands and environment from various developments by our business people.

Thus, she strongly supported the incorporation of L.C.A. in the E.I.A. reports as the Ministry is now working on some major projects that needs E.I.A. and this is where Ms. Areta’s knowledge and expertise will be highly regarded.

The J.I.C.A. Samoa Acting Resident Representative, Hitomi Urushihata congratulated Ms. Areta on this milestone and is confident that the knowledge she gained academically and personally will contribute greatly to her work at M.N.R.E. 

Ms. Areta also added that she is grateful for the opportunity to experience living and studying in Japan and acknowledged the assistance of the Government of Japan through J.I.C.A. for the invaluable opportunity. 

Her message to prospective candidates is that “it is an excellent opportunity to excel and broaden your knowledge in your field of expertise from the experts in Japan. 

“To top it off, you will have a great time to experience the life and culture the country will offer that you will not regret”. 

The S.D.G. Global Leader Programme helps promote cooperation for sustainable development in the world, under the framework of J.I.C.A. Development Studies Programme (JICA-DSP). J.I.C.A. had administered the program since 2016 and Ms. Areta is the 5th candidate from Samoa to participate and successfully completed the programme.

The S.D.G. Programme objectives is to develop high-level human resources in order to contribute to appropriate policy decision and its implementation in tackling political and development issues; and to establish and build good relations between Samoa and Japan. 

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