My Kiribati Experience

12 August 2011

Pelenise Alofa
Kiribati Climate Action Network

The Kiribati Climate Action Network (KiriCAN), which is comprised of many youth and women groups in Kiribati, is the first CC NGO established in Kiribati. KiriCAN was originally organized by the Pacific Calling Partnership based in Sydney, who is our working partner today. For the last three years, we have been busy doing awareness-raising, adaptation, negotiation and conference participation. We believe that CC is cross-cutting and does not have boundaries, so we work together with governments and opposition leaders. I do most of the international campaigns and negotiations while my colleagues do the national ones.  Our ground team is wonderful and enthusiastic. Every month we have an international media team visiting Kiribati to report our stories. All media is welcome because we believe that our voices should be heard far and wide and must reach the whole world. We also learned that not all media is to be trusted!

KiriCAN has had the privilege to attend LDC, CommonWealth, Pacific Forum and regional meetings speaking on behalf of the Pacific people on CC issues and has attended three UN Climate Talks (COPs). Furthermore, KiriCAN has also had the privilege to participate international campaigns. The first international campaign was done in Australia and NZ (our closest neighbours) and the message was  “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  We also went on a tour of Europe: Belgium, Spain and Austria and spent a short time in the US.

One of the highlights of the KiriCAN activities in Kiribati was our involvement with the Tarawa Climate Change Conference held November 2010 organised by the government.  KiriCAN organized a two days workshop prior to the conference and organized a rally/march in support of the Kiribati government during the conference. More than 1000 people from NGOs and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) turned up to support this rally. This was funded by WWF, and PIANGO (Pacific Islands Association of NGOs).
Today, the KiriCAN Youth participating doing the Water Harvesting Awareness (Adaptation) programs around Tarawa being funded by NZAid and we continue to visit the outer islands to conduct CC Awareness. It’s been great and satisfying working with grassroots and seeing the joy when you show that you care for their wellbeing and development. I could never trade this occupation for something else.

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