|Sereseini Dikalouniwai Vakawaletabua
|Project Manager Environment
|Water Authority of Fiji
How has the Ridge to Reef Sustainable Development graduate program with James Cook University changed your life – personally, and professionally?
The R2R Sustainable Development graduate program with JCU professionally provided me with the opportunity to explore and develop a number of highly convenient skills. Studying the Ridge to Reef Sustainable Development also provided me with numerous opportunities, not only because of the many of degree routes available, but because of the wide range of skills I was able to develop during the 4 years journey. During the study journey with other class mates from 12 different pacific countries there was an emphasis on project and group work, as well as extensive presentation, data analysis and report writing practice. These are skills which are valuable in any career and are a key focus of many job applications and interview questions in which I am fortunate enough for undertaking this studies. My four years of study at JCU has provided me with more experiences to draw from which is extremely useful for successful job seeking and especially to my current role as a Project Manager Safeguards at Water Authority of Fiji. The flexibility has allowed me to focus my study on the areas in which I am most interested, as well as equipping me for a variety of professional roles, both within and out-with scientific fields.
Tell us the keys to your successful completion?
- Work Hard
- Always be prepared
- Always make a plan
- Trust your gut and never let your thoughts get in your own way.
Why is R2R Sustainable Development vital for your country, and for the world?
Understanding the concept of R2R sustainable development is vital in my country as most of us are having minimum of understanding on the major impacts of our very own activities to the upper stream and lower stream of the existing drinking water catchments. As an employee of Water Authority of Fiji which provide safe and clean drinking water to Fijians in Urban and Peri-Urban areas, the combination of agricultural practices and developments along the catchments boundaries has had considerable implications and consequences for sustainable land and water management, biodiversity conservation (including marine ecosystem), and the possible effects of climate change. Henceforth, understanding and gaining knowledge on the R2R Sustainable Development could be one of the important tool in safeguarding the drinking water catchments in my country and in the world as a whole.
What is next for you, and how will you continue to champion R2R?
At the moment I don’t have any other plan in furthering my studies as am part of the team that are currently playing a key roles in overlooking at one of the Water Authority of Fiji’s major project that is the Rewa River Water Supply Scheme Plan - which will benefit the population of almost 300,000 in Greater Suva Area. Now am looking forward to apply what I learn from JCU to the Catchment Management Plan of Viria which will be one of the major & largest catchment in Fiji. This is under the Rewa River Water Supply Scheme which is under construction at the moment and it is planned to be completed next year. This Catchment Management Plan program will includes public consultations to various identified villagers that are within the Viria catchment boundaries with the support of the relevant government stakeholders, also includes social survey studies, environmental studies and economic studies.