Unchartered Waters

“If you can dream it, work hard at it, you will surely be able to achieve it. If I can do it, anyone who is determined can do it too.”

While it is important to acknowledge that COVID-19 has brought about a health crisis, it also presents an economic crisis. Closure of international borders, the limitation and stringent protocols on international travel has never affected any other workforce than it has had on maritime workers and seafarers, the very channels for international trade - Maritime's Key and Essential workers.

The one certainty is, that the current pandemic has significantly altered the way we live and do business. Our response, as a global community, will be to exercise vigilance and a high degree of resilience. As we gradually find opportunities to navigate through this current crisis and the uncertainties.

For 30-year-old Nanise Domonatani Kabakoro, a former Trainee Port Engineer with the Fiji Ports Corporation Limited and an Executive Committee member of the Fiji Women In Maritime Association (FIJI WIMA), that journey began when she was selected to receive a Fellowship from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to attend the Port Senior Management Programme at the Galilee International Management Institute in Israel from the 14th – 28th November 2018.This training opportunity is testament to the importance of working together with established and functioning regional networks supported by the Pacific Community (SPC) through training opportunities and mentorship and development partners such as IMO partnering with global institutions to promote training opportunities for women. 

The experience gained from the programme was a steppingstone for Nanise’s career in a male dominated sector. In 2019 Nanise went on to study at the University of Adelaide completing her Master of Engineering – Civil Structural on a two-year programme under the Australia Awards Scholarship.

In the Pacific, it is estimated that there are some 16,000 persons working in the maritime sector and less then 10% of these are women.

“I am one of two I-taukei women in Fiji to hold a Master’s in Civil & Structural Engineering. I find this a huge honour, women in Fiji and the Pacific are finally breaking that glass ceiling”

On this journey throughout her career, Nanise learned so much about herself, and how to create the career and life of her dreams. The first lesson is recognizing that there are no straight lines in the universe. There are always going to be obstacles and roadblocks that take us off the path we choose; these are our greatest learning opportunities. Pay attention to what you are meant to learn in these moments and embrace being uncomfortable, because that is where growth happens.

Nanise is now the Assistant Port Construction for Cardno (an international company delivering consulting, engineering and design services) and is one of four engineers in the role of superintendent works to the Nauru Sustainable and Climate Resilient Connectivity Project - A Nauru Ports project, making a difference in the Pacific and paving the way for future women leaders in the Maritime sector.

The IMO and SPC continues to support PacWIMA and State WIMAs as part of its gender mainstreaming efforts and ensuring the role of women in the sector is visible and recognised.

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