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Pacific Islanders in part of historical graduation for a seafood business course
01:42 am GMT+12, 29/06/2020, Fiji

 15 regional scholarship recipients of the University of the South Pacific (USP) Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Project have created history, as they became the first in the world to graduate with a micro-qualification in Establishing and Operating a Small Seafood Business in the Pacific.
 
University of the South Pacific Vice Chancellor, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, in presenting the certification told the graduates, “You have made history in the Pacific – infact the world, as you are the first to have attained this micro-qualification. Despite the border closures as a result of the global pandemic COVID-19, we have managed to have representation as one region of #PacificOceanCustodians.”
 
Nine of the fifteen graduates were women – two from Kiribati, one each from Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
 
One of the recipients of the scholarship was the Director of the Catholic Women’s League (Teitoiningaina) for the Diocese of Tarawa and Nauru, Ioanna Nabura who said it was the setting up of a seafood business which was the gap of knowledge that Teitoiningaina needed.
 
“Seafood is our livelihood, our food and economy. I was transiting Fiji when the borders closed but now it dawns on me as to my purpose of being here. I will take all these learning’s and somehow replicate this into our existing trainings which includes nutrition and food security for close to 33,000 members of the Teitoiningaina who are females - eighteen years and over.”
 
For Solomon Islander, Pastor Linray Tutuo growing up in Western Province the ocean was his protein provider and they would also sell their catch so they could make a living.
 
“As a theologian my role is to ensure that at every opportunity, I remain a sustainable steward of Earth. I want to be able to ensure the sea remains teeming with food and ocean life,” he said.
 
Loveinia Philemon from Malekula in Vanuatu, reflecting back on my dad’s sacrifices of a fishermen and how it was the main income to sustain their daily meals to education up to university level said it was gift of learning that was given and she would go back and share the knowledge learnt to have more sustainable small seafood businesses.
 
Fijian seafood entrepreneur and President of the Ra Women’s Disabled Association, Rosemary McIndoe, who followed her father’s footsteps with her sister, said she would use the knowledge to educate the disabled community in Ra.
 
“Today I sell nama (Pacific seagrapes) and I had been diving for seafood for most of my life which I used to sell. I also work with the disabled community in Ra. It is very hard for the especially abled to get employment. We now have a new market in Ra where there is space to sell but not enough vendors. I want to use these learning’s to teach the disabled community in Ra on how to start a seafood business as during this current hardship, seafood is not only a cheap option but a healthy one.”
 
The scholarship was advertised by the USP PEUMP Project earlier this year and was funded by the European Union and the Swedish Government. The recipients included ocean artisans, seafood entrepreneurs, and seaweed and aquaculture farmers.


SOURCE: PACNEWS

 


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