With 12 years’ experience in the Pacific region, specialising in social development and climate change planning, Kate was keen to work with the Tuvalu government to coordinate and track the progress of the cyclone recovery.
“I was really ready for a challenge,” she says. “It was an excellent opportunity to combine my previous experience but also work on disaster risk management which is an area I had some experience in.”
Kate’s role involved setting up island disaster committees and helping them get back on their feet after Cyclone Pam, as well as following up on donor-funded recovery projects, ensuring that core services like health and education were back up and running.
She also worked on the country’s climate change policy and helped to operationalise the Tuvalu Survival Fund, a financial mechanism to help deal with climate change and disaster impacts.
What she has enjoyed most about PACTAM2 is the focus on partner government engagement and the people-to-people links.
“The role of PACTAM advisers is to build capacity and support the local institutions and staff in being able to do the job,” Kate says.
“It’s really satisfying to know that I’ve done this work not on my own but with my colleagues here in Tuvalu and being able to support them so they’re proud of what they’ve achieved.”
During her time working as a PACTAM2 adviser, Kate and her husband welcomed their first child. They flew back to Australia for the birth but returned to Tuvalu shortly after, with Kate returning to work when their daughter was eight weeks old. While the early days with a newborn were not easy, especially without close family nearby, Kate says she felt very supported by her colleagues and the local community.
Kate feels that while she has shared many of her skills, building capacity in the government department in which she works, she’s also learnt so much from the people she’s come to know in Tuvalu.
“You quickly realise that although you’re here as an adviser, there’s so much more to life that your colleagues show you. It makes you reassess your own life priorities and appreciate all the good things that you have.”
Kate is one of the youngest PACTAM2 advisers. While she was initially unsure whether her qualifications and experience were an exact fit for the job, she says that anyone considering applying for a PACTAM2 role should go for it.
“Don’t shy away from applying because you think that you might not have enough experience and you might be up against other people who have a lot more experience than you. You might be perfect for the role and this is why I encourage people, especially younger professionals, to apply.”
“You feel like you can really make a contribution, because you really are part of the institution in the host country,” Kate says.
Kate’s determination to take on a new challenge and fully pursue her passions is palpable. The women that participate in our programs are all unique, but bound by a few common threads – diverse, dedicated to helping others and love the work they do.
Image: Kate Morioka (centre) with her colleagues.
Scope Global manages the Pacific Technical Assistance Mechanism Phase 2 (PACTAM2) on behalf of the Australian Government.
For the original article by PACTAM2, please click here.