Bridge at Korolevu, Fiji

Back in November 2019, Jerry Cole, Capacity Building and Partnerships Manager with USAID’s Climate Ready project in the Pacific, contacted IPWEA NZ’s Training & Marketing Manager Jodie O’Doherty to explore training opportunities. But then two extremely unfortunate events took place – first a measles outbreak, then Cyclone Harold… necessitating a refocus on immediate disaster management. Over that period the conversation continued and it became clear that IPWEA NZ’s Four Foundation Asset Management Digital Badges were the answer to their training needs, and, unlike face to face training, deliver an industry-recognised micro-credential upon passing the badge.

USAID’s Climate Ready Project spans 5-years and 10 Pacific Island countries, working with them to become more resilient to climate change and disaster risks by supporting them as they develop and implement country-driven, coordinated, inclusive, and equitable climate action policies, plans, and adaptation interventions.

IPWEA NZ’s Communications Manager Freda Wells recently caught up with Ravulo Naulumatua – the first graduate to be awarded a digital badge for the Fiji cohort of the USAID Climate Ready Project.

Working as a Senior Climate Change Disaster Risk Management Officer at the Ministry for Women, Children & Poverty Alleviation, Ravulo has a Bachelor of Science Majoring in Engineering and Environmental Physics, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Climate Change from the University of the South Pacific. He has worked for the Fijian Government for 7 years

Ravulo has found the badge very helpful with his current work – managing a FJD$4.6million project to establish a Solar Training Centre for Rural Women in Fiji. These women will become trained solar engineers, returning to their villages to establish solar electricity generation.

Benefits of the badges that Ravulo mentions include, enhancing his confidence in asset management, being able to apply his new knowledge immediately, and gaining , given me a wider understanding of his work in implementing and monitoring Capital Projects, as well as an appreciation of the far-reaching importance of asset management in infrastructure development.

Ravulo Naulumatua

The online format, “… is effective in gaining a qualification since we can assess anytime, anywhere, virtually”.

Ravulo found AM 101 (An Introduction to Asset Management), encouraged thinking outside of the comfort zone of his own deliverables, to see the bigger picture for Government, for the benefit of the end user. Ravulo believes that this better understanding of the ‘why’ of asset management’ within staff in USAID’s Fiji cohort currently completing the badges, will assist with the nations economic recovery following COVID-19 and Topical Cyclone Harold, and with the already challenging context of climate change adaptation in the nation. From the current COVID-19 pandemic and its negative impact to the Economic it is necessary that, efficient, effective and resilience management systems needs to be incorporated in all aspects of managing capital projects.

To close, Ravulo, said that badges that would most benefit what Fiji is currently facing would be in the areas of Gender & Social Inclusion, Climate Change, and Disaster Risk Management.

As Jerry Cole states, “Resilience and mitigation is key. “We must learn to be prepared and be climate ready,” said Mr Cole.

The challenges being faced in the Pacific due to climate change are the responsibility of us all to address, and IPWEA NZ looks forward to continuing to develop our relationship with our Pacific family, to strengthen their own asset management, to assist them to support sustainable communities.