Home' Partners : Partners: Building resilience in the Pacific Islands Contents PARTNERS ISSUE TWO 2015
WHAT’ S NEW
Volunteers set sail
with Scope Global
n May 2015, ACIAR and Scope Global mobilised our first three
volunteers under our strategic alliance. The volunteers are part of
the Australian Volunteers for International Development program, an
Australian Government initiative.
Two volunteers, Luke Barron and Alex Basford, will be working on the
‘From Fishing Village to Aquarium’ project with MARS Symbioscience
in Indonesia. The volunteers will establish a network of sustainable fish
production units, small enough to manage at home, to supply the global
aquarium market with ornamental fish. This will provide economic
opportunities to local communities, while reducing pressure on native
stocks, ameliorating the devastating effects of cyanide fishing and
allowing coral reef rehabilitation to take place.
Randal Toonen will be heading to Kiribati on the ‘Healthy Gardens in
the Pacific’ project. Randall will be working with local communities and
looking for opportunities to pilot agricultural innovations to improve the
health of both soils and people in Kiribati. Through projects such as home
and school gardens, and linked awareness-raising programs to promote
the production and consumption of leafy vegetables, Randal and future
volunteers on this project will have the opportunity to make a huge
impact on health in Kiribati.
ACIAR and Scope Global wish our volunteers successful and enjoyable
experiences through their placements.
Information about international volunteering with Scope Global can be found
through its website: www.volunteering.scopeglobal.com/assignments
ACIAR provides complimentary copies of its publications to developing-
country libraries, institutions, researchers and administrators with
involvement in agriculture in developing countries in ACIAR’s operating
areas, and to scientists involved in ACIAR projects. For enquiries about
complimentary copies, please contact ACIAR’s Communications Unit,
For other customers, please use our online ordering facility at
aciar.gov.au or direct enquiries to our distributors, Canprint
Communications, PO Box 7472, Canberra BC, ACT 2610, Australia,
phone +61 2 6295 4422, fax +61 2 6295 4473, email@example.com.
Copies of most publications are available as free downloads from the
ACIAR website aciar.gov.au.
Partnerships for food solutions in Kiribati:
volunteering in action
BY RANDAL TOONEN
Kiribati is a small, remote island state in the Pacific region that is doing it tough. In
particular, poor soil quality associated with dramatic climatic events such as droughts
and increasing salination of groundwater have led to meagre food production in
much of Kiribati.
My partner and I have been posted here with the Australian Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade for the past eight months. As a trailing spouse, I have had the time to
pursue my personal interests in community-based agriculture. Numerous people have
warmly invited me to view their small garden plots, hidden gems among the densely
populated communities of the capital Tarawa. Their crops are generally sold, rather than
consumed, to generate what is at times their sole source of income. This can further
impact on an often already poor diet, when processed goods are bought to replace
the fresh produce. In the outer communities, land is more abundant but subject to
harsh growing conditions, which has a direct negative impact on families’ health and
wellbeing. This cemented my resolve to become involved.
I am passionate about working with families at the community level to help
bring about positive, lasting changes. I am volunteering with Australian Volunteers
for International Development (AVID) in a joint venture with ACIAR to assist the
host organisation, Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agriculture Development
(MELAD), to address food security. The initial part of my assignment at MELAD will be
to identify organisational strengths and limitations in developing and implementing
food-security strategies to best feed hungry families and build the host organisation’s
capacity. While I am the first volunteer working on this project, it is likely to be a
longer-term partnership between AVID, MELAD and ACIAR, with the possibility of
future volunteer positions.
I look forward to the challenges ahead and working with a team of people
motivated in supporting others towards a positive change.
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The three volunteers: (from left) Alex Basford, Luke
Barron and Randal Toonen.
Hydroponic garden in Kiribati Islands using hollowed out pandanas trunks and a
liquid solution made from compost. (Right) Sekoia prepares coconut on the island
of Onotoa, southern Kiribati islands.
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