Sustainably managing island transport

At the closing ceremony recognizing the four boat builder graduates, from left: Phil Philippo, Kanchi Hosia, Berlin Philippo, Raffael Held, Janina-Marie Laurent, Suewellyn Johannes, Roger Kanel, Sandy Langbata, Alson Kelen, Fredrick Jobba Botta, Jerry Kramer, Hilda Heine, Elmi Samuel, Carlos Domnick, David Paul, Fred Bukida, Laitia Tamata and Sana Tarbwijen. Photo: Wilmer Joel.

Waan Aelon in Majel (WAM) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (the German international development agency known as GIZ) organized a closing ceremony of the Low Carbon Sea Transport Inside-Lagoon Boat Workshop last week at WAM compound.

For the workshop WAM and GIZ partnered up with the local governments of Kwajalein, Ujae, Lae, and Aur. The ceremony recognized the participants in this three month workshop: Roger Kanel Kwajaein Atoll, Sandy Langbata Lae Atoll, Frederick Jobba Botta Aur Atoll, and Elmi Samuel Ujae Atoll.

Those in attendance for this ceremony included Nitijela Members David Paul, Thomas Heine, Hilda Heine and Atbi Riklon, as well as Australian Ambassador to the Marshall Islands Brek Batley, Pacific International Inc CEO Jerry Kramer, WAM board member Carlos Domnick, WAM Director Alson Kelen, PSS Commissioner Kanchi Hosia, Reverend Tim Mea, representatives of GIZ, WAM staff, and the families of the four participants.

GIZ has implemented the Low Carbon Sea Transport Project with its efforts to pursue a transition towards a fleet of vessels for the Marshall Islands that focuses on sustainable and renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions.

The workshop just ended is the second in a series that is focused on working with boat builders from the outer islands to build locally-designed canoes and other boats that those in the workshops can operate and maintain going forward. Four outrigger canoes were built by the participants along with WAM’s boat building team, and each of the canoes will be shipped to the outer atolls for ongoing use.

“This is not something new,” said WAM Director Kelen of canoe building and sailing culture of the Marshall Islands. “This has been part of our culture but we didn’t utilize it very well.” He added: “It took commitment by these four men to complete this program, now they will teach our young Marshallese trainers to elevate their understanding of sea transport.”

The third in this series of three-month training sessions is scheduled to start early in 2022, said Kelen.


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