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Building confidence through training

Wednesday 10 February 2021 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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Building confidence through training
Representatives from the Pa Enua completed the two-week Geoportal Training Workshop last Friday. 21020901.

The Geoportal Training Workshop successfully ended last week with praise from the facilitators for participants from the southern group islands.

The participants from Aitutaki, Atiu, Mauke, Mitiaro and Mauke were hand picked to attend the training.

Timoti Tangiruaine, a Rarotonga-based geographic information system (GIS) specialist, saw their confidence grow during the workshop.

“In the two weeks they were very confident and capable and understood what they have been taught, so selecting the right people was good. For those in the Pa Enua it can be hard for them to get confidence built to a level to this kind of work,” Tangiruaine said.

Geographic information system is used for gathering, managing, and analysing data.

Trainers emphasised the importance of understanding the structure and the cycle of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in order for the participants to appreciate the data work collection that they do.

“We are not only helping them understand the process but also encouraging themselves in their communities,” said Tangiruaine. “Their grasp of what we taught especially in technology, they were quick to align it to their line of work, not just for DRM but also Covid-19.”

“Application of technology to your work place is always an important factor, so you have to be confident in deciding on those things, making decisions to see how useful it is.”

Atiu representative Maui Matakino said course was beneficial. “Seeing the geoportal online, actually seeing it, is was the most interesting and makes it easier to understand.”

The participants are expected pass on their knowledge to the Island Government, “so we can improve data collection on our island rather than depending on Rarotonga,” adds Matakino.

Charles Carlson, the director of Emergency Management Cook Islands, spoke of the importance and value of geographic information system.

“When it comes to any emergency and disaster response, it is important to actually understand what we have in place and that we have the resources that we can tap into,” Carlson said.

“Information is powerful, it helps with the response and helps with the planning too, hence why the data is important to us.”

Carlson said they learned a lesson from Cyclone Pat that struck Aitutaki in 2010.

“Arriving on the island at that time we had no idea what the population was, or household details and their conditions as there was no data.

“So what we learned was that we needed a baseline data for every island including Rarotonga so in the case of a response, we are much more prepared.

“Looking at data can paint a picture, show what’s on the island and how we can respond better; it is also important that the island councils understand this project.”

The household surveys provide vital information on the status of vulnerable communities and provides the necessary information to help the islands respond quickly and recover from natural disasters.

Planning and development proposals will also benefit from the data collection.

The survey identifies occupied and unoccupied houses, the vulnerable and people with a disability, and is expected to be included on the geoportal map.

“Like here in Rarotonga, we have to move with and utilise technology so we can be more effective and efficient in our response,” Carlson added.

The Geoportal Training Workshop is funded by PEARL - Pa Enua Action for Resilient Livelihoods.