Empowering adolescent girls in Tonga

Thirty-nine-year-old Vanessa Heleta has been a women’s rights activist in Tonga for more than a decade. As a young woman herself, she has made it her mission to empower adolescent girls through learning and awareness raising. Vanessa is the founder and Director of the Talitha Project, which runs a ‘drop-in centre’ for young women and girls in Tonga, providing security, counselling, training, income generation skills … Continue reading Empowering adolescent girls in Tonga

She fights for the LGBT community in the Pacific

As a transgender woman herself, Joey Joleen Mataele knows firsthand the struggles that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) communities face in her native Tonga and the greater Pacific region. As a singer and entertainer, she also understands the importance of oral culture and the role of song, humour and dance in Pacific cultures, which she has been using to elicit support … Continue reading She fights for the LGBT community in the Pacific

This ecological economist helped save the mangroves of Fiji

Dr Padma Narsey Lal is a Fijian ecological economist known for her pioneering work in interdisciplinary research in the Pacific, integrating ecology and environmental economics, helping Pacific Island nations with the challenges of sustainable development and environment management for over 40 years. Her ground breaking work in the Pacific has covered a wide range of sectors and thematic areas including cost-benefit analysis, market and non-market … Continue reading This ecological economist helped save the mangroves of Fiji

She promotes sexual and reproductive health and rights in Kiribati

Norma Yeeting is a sexual and reproductive health and rights champion in Kiribati, whose work has resulted in improvements in the lives of many I-Kiribati men and women. Norma is the executive director of Kiribati Family Health Association (KFHA), the leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) NGO in Kiribati, where she heads up a team of 15, including clinical and professional staff. Under … Continue reading She promotes sexual and reproductive health and rights in Kiribati

A Chinese boat arrested with illegal cargo of 6600 sharks

Two weeks ago, a Chinese ship named « Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 » was arrested transporting more than 6600 sharks, some of endangered and even near-extinct species, in the Galapagos Islands. The authorities seized the illegal cargo and arrested the 20 Chinese sailors on board. They risk a 3 years jail sentence for offense against flora and fauna. The ship was caught near the island of … Continue reading A Chinese boat arrested with illegal cargo of 6600 sharks

‘Utoikamanu is the highest ranking Pacific Island person at the UN

In April, Tonga’s Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu was appointed the United Nations’ High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States and Under Secretary General, making her the highest ranking Pacific Island person at the UN. Ms. ‘Utoikamanu has a wealth of national, regional and international experience in various senior leadership positions. Prior to her latest appointment, she was Chief … Continue reading ‘Utoikamanu is the highest ranking Pacific Island person at the UN

Meet Andra Samoa, environmentalist from American Samoa

American Samoan environmentalist Andra Samoa walks the talk. “You will always find her cleaning the wetlands or picking up trash along the road and beaches in Leone,” says her friend and colleague Ginger Porter of the Pacific International Training Desk in Hawaii. “Andra is foremost a community organiser, educator and volunteer in her village of Leone on Tutuila, the main island in American Samoa,” says … Continue reading Meet Andra Samoa, environmentalist from American Samoa

Rosa Koian: fighting for village people against mining corporations in PNG

“There can be no sustainable development when rural women in their communities are frequently held under threat of displacement, or physical and sexual abuse.” Rosa Koian, Activist, Papua New Guinea Fifty-two-year-old Rosa Koian is a pioneering environmental and human rights activist in Papua New Guinea, where she’s been unafraid to fight for the rights of women and village people against exploitation by transnational corporations or extractive … Continue reading Rosa Koian: fighting for village people against mining corporations in PNG

She created the Savings Clubs of Solomon Islands: savings and lending with no banks

“We must not underestimate the cash earnings of rural women. Even though they do not earn a fortnightly salary, they earn a little money every day or every week. Through their earnings they feed and manage family livelihoods. Savings clubs recognize rural women’s earning power and help assist them to save little by little and watch their money grow”. Dr. Alice Pollard Dr Alice Pollard is … Continue reading She created the Savings Clubs of Solomon Islands: savings and lending with no banks

The woman who made Palau the only nuclear-free country in the world

The late Gabriela Ngirmang, Mirair of Koror, was instrumental in giving the world its first nuclear-free constitution. As  Mirair (leading woman for the eastern side of the state of Koror), Gabriela Ngirmang was the leader of Otil A Beluad (the Anchor of the Land) women’s organisation for 50 years. When she died at the age of 84 in 2007, she had been a central figure … Continue reading The woman who made Palau the only nuclear-free country in the world