The Alumni Grant Scheme recipient, Telstar Jimmy, will soon roll out her innovative project that was highly commended for its originality by her Excellency, Australian High Commissioner Heidi Bootle, at the Australia Awards Wrap-up Event in December 2023.
Telstar Jimmy is an Australia Awards graduate with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Journalism and Language and Literature. As Program Administrator for the Australian Government-funded project ‘Balance of Power’ (BOP), Telstar’s work contributes to countries in the Pacific achieving their objectives of inclusive and effective leadership in line with national policy frameworks. With this career trajectory in mind, Telstar’s AGS project has followed suit by providing training workshops for women on Motalava Island, in the Torba province, on how to build cyclone-proof concrete houses while their spouses are away on labour mobility travel.
Telstar explains the concept behind this project titled TORBA Women Builders: Cyclone Proof Housing, ‘We appreciate that more men from the outer islands are being given the opportunity to be a part of the labour mobility scheme, as this brings in the financial support that our families need, and the farming knowledge that they can integrate with traditional farming systems upon their return. But even in their absence, our disaster-prone country still faces cyclones that are intensifying and becoming more frequent due to climate change effects‘.
Telstar’s objectives for this project are to create long-term meaningful change through knowledge that can be passed on from generation to generation. Telstar further explains ‘It my hope that that the resources we create for this project, including guide books, will be taken back to the villages and communities of these women where the knowledge may be passed on to their families and children, whilst simultaneously working with construction builders.
It is also my dream that this rippling effect will cross the waters of TORBA to other islands in that province, and they can also find it useful when building their own houses. In this way, we are fulfilling the African proverb that says, “If you educate a woman, you educate a nation”.‘
The Australia Awards Vanuatu (AAV) Alumni Grant Scheme (AGS) offers seed funding for initiatives that create impact in the professional field, organisation and community of the AAV alumnus. The objectives of the AGS include providing alumni with opportunities to enhance and capitalise on their knowledge and skills, to improve practice in their professional fields and communities; to develop, maintain and strengthen professional linkages and partnerships between alumni and the Australian government.