Pacific technical assistance

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Pacific Technical Assistance Mechanism Phase 2 (PACTAM2)

PACTAM2 advisers work in collaboration with partner organisations across Pacific island countries. Drawing on their specific expertise, advisers provide technical advice to enhance capacity within partner governments and organisations.

Adviser contributions support the achievement of partner government development outcomes and reflect the priorities of Australia’s aid investment plan in each country. This long-running investment enhances people-to-people links in the Pacific by sharing ideas between PACTAM2 advisers, their partner organisations, counterparts and the Australian Government.

Our team supported 45 PACTAM2 advisers in 8 Pacific island countries in 2017–18. PACTAM2 partners were present in 100% of recruitment and performance assessment of PACTAM2 advisers. This ongoing partnership plays a pivotal role in shaping positive development in each country and the region.

Adviser inputs – highlights 2017–18

  • Education advisers across five PACTAM2 countries worked in collaboration to share lessons and experiences to enhance their technical inputs in their respective countries.
  • The Chief Executive Officer of the Nauru Utilities Corporation successfully commissioned two new generators to provide a secure electricity supply to Nauru.
  • PACTAM2 advisers in Tuvalu worked collaboratively and pooled resources to enhance the implementation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s cross-cutting issues, including gender equality, disability, child protection and disaster risk reduction.
  • A new mobile app (Tupaia) was implemented to improve health outcomes in Tonga. The app allows staff to collect data on services, medical supplies and equipment, which provides real-time aggregated data on the status of health services in Tonga. The data can then be used for planning, reporting and monitoring and is a core component of a comprehensive country-wide health service delivery.

Adviser profile: Improving electricity and water services in Nauru

Fijian-born  electrical  engineer  Abraham  Simpson  was  deployed  to  Nauru  in  2013  as  a  PACTAM2  adviser  to  improve  the  country’s  electricity  services.  In  2014  he  took  up  the  role  of  Chief  Executive  Officer  at  the  Nauru  Utilities  Corporation.

Having  previously  carried  out  a  benchmarking  project  for  the  Asian  Development  Bank  and  Pacific  Power  Association,  he  knew  that  Nauru,  the  smallest  island  nation  in  the  world,  was  one  of  the  lowest  performing  countries  in  terms  of  its  utilities.

“That’s  what  attracted  me  to  the  role,”  he  says.  “When  the  job  came  up  I  thought:  I  would  love  to  take  up  the  opportunity.”

Abraham’s  role  involves  designing  and  implementing  the  overall  strategy  for  the  organisation,  incorporating  local  knowledge  and  contexts.

In  the  five  years  since  he’s  been  in  the  position,  he  has  seen  a  number  of  improvements.

“When  I  first  arrived,  each  customer  on  average  experienced  almost  47  days  of  power  outage  in  a  year;  that  reduced  to  about  2.7  days  in  a  year  and  it’s  still  going  down,”  he  says.

“That  epitomises  the  kind  of  progress  we’re  making,  not  just  in  power  outages  but  in  all  other  aspects  of  performance.”

He  says  the  main  thing  he’s  learnt  from  the  position  has  been  patience.  He  has  found  that  while  change  is  not  swift,  it  does  happen  eventually.