Apr 8, 2011

Benedict Yamamura

Marshall Islands

What activities have you been working on?

This report will be based on the activities that I incorporate in to my MC work plan, plus extra tasks that I’ve been doing at MIMRA.

- I started my MC internship program right before my work plan was singed and approved by Florence Edwards who’s my current supervisor at the MIMRA. The first activity I did was to work on my MC work plan, which I’d to incorporate to my task at MIMRA. After working with Florence towards the MC work plan, I kind of visit Andy and Joe to seek their help regarding their previous MC activities they did. However I was told that they did only one activity which was the national clean back in 2007 and was done by both. And that gave me a hint to include a beach cleanup in my MC work plan because rarely seen people having coastal cleanup activity. Second activity was the translation of the Worksheets and Sessions in the PIMPAC and the Reimaanlak into Marshallese with the help of government and NGOs officials. Florence and I worked together to get this done by inviting people from government and NGOs officials to help with the translation who are fluent in speaking and writing Marshallese. Therefore, we decided to form a Google Group called Mokade Kajin Majol, roughly translated, fluent in speaking/writing in Marshallese, which contains different terminologies for members to translate as best as they can. This Group still underway but needs more people to participate. It was set by several CMAC, a unique group for the Marshall Islands), members to discuss the translations and standardization of important Climate Change and Biodiversity terminology. The goal of this group is to have standardized Marshallese words/phrases in a glossary to be used by the National Team during community awareness and consultations .
Third one was my MC school presentation and I believe I’ve submitted the report already but I’d like to recall that the activity was basically focused on the roles of Micronesia Challenge and its commitments to the Marshall Islands and other Micronesian states in a PowerPoint Presentation. It started with an introduction of me and whom I working for, and what is MC. I also incorporate Climate Change (CC) in the presentation and its effects to Marshall Islands with photos. The main goal of the school presentation, however, was to help the students develop their skills towards the ongoing challenges Marshalls and other Micronesian States are targeting (i.e. to conserve 10% of terrestrial and marine resources by 2010 and 2012 respectively.) However, I will be going out to school within this month and next month for more presentation. The aim is to keep the cycle going.

- The fourth activity, which was not in my MC work plan, was to shoot some video clips while in a workshop at the CMI. I was temporarily working with the MICS for a whole week during the Resources Management workshop held in the capital city of Marshall Islands. The workshop comprised of all resource people from different atoll in the RMI. The aimed of the workshop was to bring all resource person from each atoll to be certified in underwater survey and water testing. During the workshop I was a participant and a supporter under the supervision of Albon Ishoda, MICS’s director, who assigned me to various task as an intern for the MC, Alex was not yet MC. My tasks were to contribute ideas and take photos and videos at the same time. However, I realized that I have the experience of making short videos, so I thought of creating one. The scene behind this was to create a short video clip as the conclusion of the workshop where each representative is holding a sign saying each atoll’s/island’s name on a cardboard while music is planning.

- There was another activity that I involved with called “World Ocean Day”. The government and NGOs agencies altogether got involved during the cleanup. I was designated to my community where I gathered all my friends and some family member for cleaning up the coastal, other areas were taken care by Florence and her staff, plus extra helped from the participants during the MICS/CMI workshop.

AUGUST-OCTOBER - Next was the 350 or 10/10/10 that I was lack to incorporate in to my MC work plan but I’m sure that will come under my second year as an MC intern. Anyway the 10/10/10 activity was a ‘community planting’ of different species of seedlings donated from various agencies on Majuro. All seedlings were planted in my community in Rita Village where many community members took part in planting.

The final one was supposed to be the back-to-school beach cleanup but I must say that it didn’t take place, and I’m planning to run it before the schools are on Christmas break.

Have you participated in any workshops or related learning activities?
I participated in a workshop organized by MICS and the CMI. This was their second Resource Management workshops they’ve been doing since last year. The purpose of the workshop was to gather all selected or can be said “Local Resource Person” who’s in charge of all activity within his/her jurisdiction – designated MPAs. It brought more than 30 participants from different atoll/island including those who are on Majuro. I was among the 30 participants representing their respective island/atoll that were to participate in the two-week long session from 9am to 4pm everyday excluding Saturdays and Sundays.

The workshop, however, was composed of lectures, study tours, and practical exercises in resource management for conservation within the Marshall Islands.

Other workshop was held in Pohnpei from September 6-10, 2010. The aimed of the workshop was to 1) collect input from regional site managers and climate change experts on key components and content of an ecosystem based community based adaptation guidebook for Micronesian communities. 2) Identify ways to incorporate CC vulnerability assessment and planning tools into existing community based planning processes. 3) Identify key adaptation strategies and indicators of effectiveness to increase the resilience of communities to the impacts of CC in Micronesia, and 4) develop communication tools to share workshop information and support dissemination of the guidebook including identification of pilot sites to
begin testing guidebook tools and strategies. I gained so much from the workshop.

What was your greatest success/achievement?

I’ve done what were in my MC/MIMRA work plan, except the back-to-school beach cleanup project.

What skills would you like to improve?

Improve my communication skills in order to pursue my upcoming MC/MIMRA activities, perhaps be more proactive.

What are your top two goals for your position as a Micronesia Challenge Intern over the next month or two?

• Grasp local and national governments attentions about MCYC upcoming activities. (Incorporate all activities into government level, especially ones that are about climate change (i.e. 350/10.10.10 event))
• Involved my other fellow Young Champ from RMI.
• Get things organized on time according to my work plan.

Do you have any stories that you would like to share from the last month that illustrate your successes?

All I can say is that I’m very happy to be part of the Micronesia Challenge as a young champion. It allows me to communicate and share stories with other Pacific Islanders and do activities in my own jurisdiction.

Do you need any assistance from the co-coordinators?
I think I’ve got everything under control but I just wanted to share that I’m very lucky to have Florence and Doreen as my supervisors. They’re very supportive in many angles.

Watch some of Benedict's work on YouTube here.
Read about Benedict's work at theoceanproject.org here.
Read about Benedict's work with 350.org here.