As mentioned in the June Issue of the CLGF Pacific quarterly newsletter, a scoping mission to Kiribati was conducted in May 2013 to explore the potential of establishing a Good Practice Scheme partnership between the Hunter Group of Councils and councils in Kiribati.
Doris Hajszan an ICT Infrastructure Coordinator at Mt.Barker, who was part of the scoping team shares her experience of her time in Kiribati:
Most of our time we were based in South Tarawa, working with MISA (Ministry of Internal and Social Affairs) and meeting with the Urban Councils of Betio and Teinano, Kiribati Institute of Technology and Ministry of Communications.
South Tarawa consists of 3 small islands of Betio, Bairiki and Bikenibeu joined by causeways with a population of 50,000,there is only one bitumen road that runs the length of South Tarawa and land is an absolute premium here! The remaining population of 50,000 are dispersed across another 20 islands, predominantly in the eastern Gilbert island group.
The lack of qualified IT technicians is an issue across the Pacific in general but particularly so in Kiribati. Cloud technology is a platform that would enable moving well-structured LG financial systems and business processes into an electronic format and providing an information sharing portal across 3 urban and 20 rural councils.
The highlight of the trip was Amina’s adventure for us over the weekend. Late Friday afternoon we headed north and after a short canoe trip across to Abatoa Island we quickly found ourselves in a rural island setting. We stayed in traditional native huts at TabonTeKeekee, and were treated to beautiful fresh local foods and a beautiful island paradise to relax in and experience.
On Saturday the adventure continued with Amina, Peter and myself walking an hour north to Broken Bridge Picnic ground and retreat (and yes the place name is descriptive!), whilst Roger and the others came by boat. Soon Amina, Peter, Roger and myself then continued on by boat an hour further north to visit the North Tarawa rural council. The environment and issues council faces in the rural setting were completely different to those of the urban councils and it was important to see and have this experience.
The people are relaxed and happy and I felt very safe at all times. It was an amazing experience!