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Developing resilience through professionals

PRFRP members (Fiji) based participants.jpg

In the Pacific, communities are prone to climate shifts and disaster risks, and there is a need for expert-led innovation to strengthen vulnerable communities against the impacts of climate change. The Pacific Regional Federation for Resilience Professionals (PRFRP), a coalition of individuals who work in different spaces of resilience, have come together to elevate climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction in the region.

Established in 2017, PRFRP was conceived through the Pacific Technical and Vocational Education and Training project (EU-PacTVET). Since 2019, the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) project has supported the federation with its activities.

PRFRP has been deeply committed to supporting the development, review, and delivery of the Resilience Qualifications, ensuring the development of resilience across communities. Through collaborative efforts, PRFRP, through the PACRES project, has worked closely with training institutions to ensure that these qualifications align with the region’s evolving needs, fostering a workforce equipped to tackle climate change and disaster risks effectively.

PRFRP member Mr Mesake Volau assisted in the Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop on the Resilience Qualifications conducted in Fiji, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. This event ensured a pathway to offer the qualifications in the Pacific and this qualified trainers and teachers to deliver the articulated Resilience Certificate Levels 2 and 4.

The best way to be resilient in this ever-changing climate is to create awareness by teaching the trainers who will implement these practices in the communities. This will develop resilience through interactive sharing of knowledge, both traditional and modern, which is to be integrated and implemented into our own communities and effect change,” said Mr Volau.

Similarly, PRFRP member, Ms Karishma Mani was involved in the review of the Certificates in Resilience and the development of the Diploma levels 5 and 6.

“I am glad that these qualifications are available to be offered in training institutions. The qualifications are relevant as they provide a career pathway for interested students in the fields of resilience, climate change and risk reduction,” said Ms Mani.

Consequently, PACRES has supported PRFRP with capacity building for its members in the past four years. Four of its members were provided with capacity-building interventions during the height of Covid 19 in 2021, where they completed online training programs on Monitoring and Evaluation.

Additionally, five members joined three different cohorts of the Benchmarking Study Tour held in Fiji, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

The study tour focused on experiential learning, where participants shared information and learnt from each other’s best practices.

PRFRP member and SPC’s Earth Observation Officer, Mr Nicholas  Metherall, was part of the Fiji Benchmarking trip. He had the opportunity to conduct a training on the use of the Kobo Toolbox, an app that supports post-disaster work and efforts.

Nicholas Metherall during the benchmarking study tour, teaching partcipants the use of the Kobo Tool box_0.JPG


Mr Metherall said it was important to prepare and respond effectively to environmental changes as his work at SPC is concerned with assessing the risk of natural hazards and the exposure of communities and economic assets. 

My takeaway from the benchmarking study tour with PACRES is that Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is a valuable sector but one that has not received as much attention in national and international frameworks like the historic MDGs, SDGs and other frameworks".

There is some emphasis through goal SDG Target 4.7, however, this is still marginal, and a focus on TVET and lifelong learning will hopefully be reinforced in the future,” added Mr Metherall.

The PACRES project has also supported PRFRP  by facilitating its Annual General Meetings, Conventions, exit strategy meetings, two-yearly General Elections and networking events.

The conventions provided the platform for networking and coordination with members from different sectors and expertise.

The PRFRP convention in January 2024, provided experts like Alani Tuivucilevu from the Women in Fisheries Network with the opportunity to discuss their work in boatbuilding and how Fijian women across the country have been trained to build sustainable boats that use renewable energy.

Similarly, Mr Zhiyad Khan, Communication Officer with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), shared his work on the Pacific Ocean Litter project and how single-use plastic affects the environment.

PRFRP members visit to Fiji Meteorological Office.jpg

The convention also included site visits to flooding communities in Nadi, the Fiji Meteorological Office, and Koroipita Model town- a sustainable set-up that supports impoverished people.  These initiatives strategically enhance knowledge sharing, collaborations, and discussions on other ways PRFRP can support resilience work.

PRFRP president, Mr Apenisa Tamani, also echoed that networking with other resilience professionals ensures that they continue to contribute to the region by enhancing knowledge and capacity development in Pacific Island communities, making PRFRP the guardians of resilience in the process.

PACRES is a 2.5 million Euro project, with the European Union GCCA+ as its donor. Its implementation ended on January 31st, 2024.