Sunday, 23 September 2012

Youth unemployme​nt big challenge for Vanuatu

This news article was circulated in our email. It is a growing concern not only for Vanuatu but also for all the Pacific Island Countries. AGRICULTURE IS THE ANSWER!! 

Posted at 22:51 on 23 September, 2012 UTC

The Vanuatu Rural Development and Training Centres Association says one of the biggest challenges is youth unable to find employment once they have graduated. There are 34 VRDTCA Training Centres around Vanuatu, focusing on addressing youth skill shortages in rural areas.Its director, Kathy Solomon, says more and more students are returning to their communities with very limited skills. She says they teach carpentry, construction, agriculture, hospitality and tourism but training is only part of the challenge.“After them graduating, what next? that’s our biggest challenge. Because you know in Vanuatu, there’s not enough job for everyone. And them getting certificates from rural areas coming to the city, there’s no job for them. I would say 20 percent of them would be able to find jobs, the rest it’s still a challenge.”Kathy Solomon says in response, they have begun an employment fund which gives young people who want to start their own business a thousand dollars to kick start it.

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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Call for Applications: 2013 Conservation Leadership Programme Awards

Pacific Youths!! Come on.... Get working! Get motivated!!! Partake in this great opportunity!! 
Doesn't hurt to give it a try!! 

Deadline: 9th November 2012

The Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) aims to contribute to long-term conservation in priority areas by encouraging and engaging potential leaders in biodiversity conservation and providing opportunities for individuals to gain practical skills and experience. This partnership initiative, including BirdLife International, Conservation International, Fauna & Flora International, and Wildlife Conservation Society, has been helping young conservationists across the world to achieve their goals for over 25 years. The Programme currently works toward its aims by offering awards, training and mentoring support.

CLP invites applications from early-career conservationists living and working in Africa, Asia, East/South-East Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean. Countries designated by the World Bank as high-income economies are not eligible for CLP support. Exceptions to these criteria include high-income economies located in tropical areas of high biological diversity, including Pacific and Caribbean Islands and the Middle East. Please see the attached call for more details. There are three awards categories:

•       Future Conservationist Awards: Approximately 20 awards of up to $15,000 each
•       Conservation Follow-up Awards: Approximately 6 awards of up to $25,000 each (available only to previous CLP award winners)
•       Conservation Leadership Awards: 1 award of $50,000 each (available only to previous CLP award winners)

The application deadline for full proposals is 9th November 2012 for ALL applications. Those applying for a Conservation Follow-up or Conservation Leadership Award must submit a logical framework to the CLP by Monday, 1st October 2012. CLP will provide feedback on all logical frameworks by 16th October and, based on this review, will either invite applicants to submit a full proposal or not. Awards will be announced in April 2013. Please visit the CLP website (<>) for detailed eligibility criteria, guidelines and an application form. Please forward this announcement to other potentially interested individuals, organizations or academic institutions.

Successful applicants will: 1.) Develop the knowledge, skills and abilities of team members; 2.) Implement a focused, high-priority conservation project combining research and action; and 3.) Contribute to the long-term success of local conservation efforts. All applicants whose proposals meet the eligibility criteria and undergo review will receive feedback from expert reviewers. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact a member of the CLP team up to two weeks before the application deadline for advice on project eligibility, methods and project activities. The CLP can also put teams in touch with local partner offices or other experts who can provide additional advice.

A representative from each award-winning team will be invited to attend an international training event in June/July 2013 organized by the CLP to share ideas and develop skills, knowledge and contacts. Additionally, winning teams are able to network with experts from within each of the partner organisations and past winners. CLP team members are available to help with project implementation.

Have additional questions or seeking advice? Email<> for more information.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Coconut oil fights tooth decay: research

An interesting piece i read today on yahoo news!

Picture: Michael O'Brien/The West Australian
Picture: Michael O'Brien/The West Australian
Coconut oil fights tooth decay and could find its way into toothpaste and mouthwash, research suggests.

Scientist found that when the oil was treated with digestive enzymes it became a powerful killer of mouth bugs.

The bacteria it attacked included Streptococcus mutans, an acid-producing microbe that is a major cause of tooth decay.

Researchers were following up earlier work which showed that partially digested milk made S.mutans less likely to stick to the tooth enamel.

Further studies will look at how coconut oil interacts with the bacteria at the molecular level, and what other microbe strains and yeasts it may combat.

Tests already suggest that enzyme-treated coconut oil is harmful to the yeast Canadian albicans, the cause of thrush. Lead researcher Dr Damien Brady, from the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland, said: "Dental caries is a commonly overlooked health problem affecting 60 percent to 90 percent of children and the majority of adults in industrialised countries. 

"Incorporating enzyme-modified coconut oil into dental hygiene products would be an attractive alternative to chemical additives, particularly as it works at relatively low concentrations. Also, with increasing antibiotics resistance, it is important that we turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection.

"Our data suggests that products of human digestion show antimicrobial activity. This could have implications for how bacteria colonise the cells lining the digestive tract and for overall gut health."

Monday, 3 September 2012

Work Updates with AH&P at SPC

Okay time to update you all on my status. I know its been a while! Sometimes i need motivation to keep this blog updated... "don't we all"!!  

I'am now with the Animal Health and Production (AH&P) Unit at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Nabua. Its been a month now since i moved to AH&P. I love the working environment and the staff that i work with (also miss the CETC staff), it has been a great experience learning from them and learning new things.

The work i do here involves a lot of things. From crops, climate change and web tool etc etc. All this in some way is related to Animal Science. Say for instance for the crops. At the moment we are conducting a Biogas Digester Effluent Trial at the Koronivia Research Station (KRS) Field on Mustard Cabbage. Instead of  using Urea as the fertilizer we have applied the "biogas digester effluent" as the fertilizer. 

For more information on "biogas digester effluent" please visit:

Here are some pictures taken on our last visit to the KRS field. ENJOY
Treatments A-E

Biogas digester Effluent

Taking effluent measurements
Effluent carefully applied around the cabbage

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Cabbage garden. In memory of Ben Saqata. R.I.P Ben

On 19th August, 2012.. our family lost a dear brother, 23 year old Ben Saqata who was my brothers (Ponipate) best friend. He became part of the family and would always be hanging around at home when ever he could. Ben and Tuks would be out in the garden in the weekends lost in their world of "talanoa" (story-telling)  sessions and enjoying the sun, cool breeze and the view of nature whilst farming. Tuks had shown me their vegetable garden once. They had just planted Chinese cabbage and were inquiring on the transplanting dates. I was actually surprised and overwhelmed at how much interest they showed for their garden (mind you, at that time i had not even planted a single thing lol). 

Ben had been part of the Fiji Rugby team (Barbarians) that played in S. Africa and sustained a head injury whilst playing. He stopped playing then as the pain got worse. He lost hes battle on 19th of August, 2012. It was a sad time for the whole family. On the day of hes funeral, my sister (Titilia) and i transplanted the boys cabbage. The day was perfect. The sun was out and the cool breeze was felt. It was just the perfect day as Ben had always talked about! 

Here are some photos of their plots before the cabbage was being transplanted!

Stakes for the plot
Chinese Cabbage Plot
Ready for transplanting
The cabbage were transplanted on 25th August, same day as Ben's funeral. Ponipate went for Ben's funeral while Titilia and I stayed home and transplanted their cabbages on the "PERFECT DAY" in memory of Ben!! R.I.P Ben!!

Transplanting into new plot

Measured spacing 
Transplanting Complete
My sister Titilia helped in transplanting 

End of the day!