WLI prepares Nanise Kabakoro & Karee Ioane to drive change in Pacific maritime sector

Wednesday, September 29, 2021
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[Pictured: Nanise Kabakoro (L) and Karee Ioane (R)]

Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) alumni, Nanise Kabakoro (Fiji) and Karee Ioane (Kiribati), are working to build a safe, secure and efficient maritime and shipping sector in the Pacific.

Nanise (left) works as an Assistant Port Construction Engineer and the first female Site Superintendent on the US$90 million Aiwo Port Redevelopment Project in Nauru, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and others.

This new international port will be a vital asset for Nauru, which relies on 95 percent of its essential imports such as food, medical supplies and fuel to be delivered by sea.

Before commencing her Australia Award, Karee (right) worked for seven years with the Kiribati Maritime Institute’s Maritime Training Centre, where she taught English to cadets, stewards and hospitality students.

English language skills are crucial for young Kiribati people to secure employment in the maritime and other sectors, both in Kiribati and overseas.

Both Nanise and Karee credit their Australia Awards experience and participation in WLI’s Leadership and Mentoring program with giving them the skills, confidence and networks to thrive in the male-dominated maritime sector – and lead positive development change in the Pacific region.

“As women, we are often underrepresented [in many sectors] and leadership roles within the Pacific,” Nanise says.

“To be on an Australia Award and to be in the WLI program is a step in the direction to minimise the gap [and] overcome this tradition of gender disparity.”

For Karee, the WLI experience has confirmed the importance of working in partnership with men in the maritime and other sectors, to “sail together as equal and positive contributors to our people’s future”.

[Pictured: Nanise (far right) and colleague in Nauru]


Find out more about how the Women's Developmental Leadership Program is supporting Nanise, Karee and other Pacific Australia Awards scholars and alumni to lead change.