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August 22, 2017

Four Young Tongans to Participate in the Master’S Degree and Internship Program for Pacific Leaders Educational Assistance for Development of States 2nd Batch (Pacific-Leads) by Government of Japan

JICA Tonga Office
Alfred Vaka
Program Officer

Photo(From L-R front row; JICA Resident Representative Mr. Shinji Yoshiura, His Excellency Mr. Yukio Numata, Ambassador of Japan to Tonga, Mr. Vainga Palu-President for JICA Alumni Association)
(From L-R back row; Mr. Shoichi Iwata - JICA Assistant Representative & Project Formulation Advisor, Ms. Malia Hola, Ms. Tracy ‘Aisea, Mr. Saimone Manu, Ms. Tilisa Tohi and Mr. Yasuhiko Kamada - Counsellor of Japanese Embassy)

JICA has officially accepted another four participants from Tonga to participate in the 2nd Batch for the Pacific Leader's Educational Assistance for Development of State (Pacific-LEADS Program) as part of Japan's commitment from the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 7) in May 2015.

The successful participants are as follows;

  • Ms. Malia Hola – Principal Assistant Secretary, Prime Minister's Office
  • Ms. Tracy Aisea – Fisheries Officer, Ministry of Fisheries
  • Ms. Tilisa Tohi – Food Auditor, Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Forestry
  • Mr. Saimone Manu – Assistant Research Scientist, Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Forestry

The main objective of this Educational Program is to foster young leaders who are expected to play vital roles towards the resolution of development challenges in Pacific Islands Countries. Furthermore, each participant has proposed research topics anticipated to contribute solve the development agendas of Pacific Island countries such as Disaster Risk Reduction, Climate Change; the Environment; Sustainable Development, Oceans, Maritime issues, and Fisheries; Trade, Investment, Tourism; and the Economic Policy.

During the official function for welcoming the Pacific LEADS Participants, His Excellency Mr. Numata congratulated all participants and expressed his gratitude for the continuous collaboration amongst others which indicated another excellent result of four young Tongans selected to participate in the P-LEADS 2nd batch.

The President of JICA Alumni Association Mr. Vainga Palu conveyed his sincere thanks and appreciation to his Excellency Mr. Numata, for the on-going opportunity being awarded to these four young stars, to be able to learn from the rich experiences and technology in Japan. He also urged the participants to study hard and behave themselves and be a good young ambassador on behalf of the people of Tonga.

Mr. Yoshiura, JICA Resident Representative, acknowledged the participants and believed that these selected participants would be a great benefit for both countries as well as further promoting the closer friendship between people of Tonga and the people of Japan.

Comments from the 2nd Batch Participants;

Ms. Malia Hola - Why did you choose the Pacific LEADS program?

The Pacific LEADS program marks another milestone in Japan's growing partnership with Tonga and the Pacific Islands. This program offers a great opportunity for Pacific countries to strengthen our human capacity in different areas of development, so that we as developing states can be in a better position to resolve challenges and support the development efforts undertaken towards the achievement of our country's national vision and goals.

I am truly grateful to the Government and the people of Japan for granting this opportunity to enhance our knowledge. I know that the understanding I will gain from my program of study will allow me to contribute in a meaningful and effective way to the performance of my duties for the Government of Tonga, for the benefit of our people. I look forward to actively engaging in Japan's rich culture and diverse environment as well as learning from the traditional values and founding principles that make Japan unique.

Ms. Tilisa Tohi - What do you want to contribute from your experience after studying in Japan for the future of Tonga?

Having successfully completed this Masters program, I would be able to help improve the current Food Safety and Quality in Tonga. Vital knowledge and skill obtained will be applied to protect human and animal health from risks arising from residues, contaminants, toxins or disease-causing organisms in food or feedstuffs and protect our country from other damages caused by the entry, establishment or spread of pests. It will also provide a basis for technical dialogues with exporters, importers and stakeholders in Tonga.

Ms. Tracy Aisea – What do you expect in Japan?

The opportunity to gain international experience by studying in Japan is a great way to obtain first-hand knowledge of the country of Japan, its people, culture and expertise. It will also help strengthen Tonga and Japan's good relationship. I will be able to help increase the production, growth and survival of commodities species in Tonga. It will help Tonga develop its small scale aquaculture farming into a commercial scale of production.

Working together with lab technicians and Professors in Japan will also provide me the opportunity to learn how to make use of the specialized equipment currently in Tonga, donated by JICA.

Learning from Professors in Japan's University will be a good opportunity for me to learn how to improve and sustain marine invertebrate production in Tonga. By improving the production of marine species in Tonga we can create a sustainable aquaculture industry that can provide food security, economic growth, help re-stock natural populations and support coastal livelihoods.

Mr. Saimone Manu - What do you want to study in Japan?

With these educational programs I would like to learn and expose to the latest advance sciences in the field of biological control with natural insect predator, sterile insect technology, and the field of biological insecticides in terms of crop protection.

I believe my study and research in Japan will enhance my knowledge and skill on the integrated pest management. Therefore, I'm thankful for the Japanese government and the leaders of the Pacific islands who created the Pacific Leads Programme for the opportunity as it aims to foster young leaders who play important role towards the Pacific island countries. This programme will also provide me with a great opportunity to experience the Japanese cultures as well as learning the language for future enhancing the relationship between Japanese people and the people of Tonga.

All participants have left Tonga to Japan on 14th August for their 3 weeks orientation program in Okinawa Island, before dispatching to each respective University for the commencement of their Masters Program next month until March 2020. JICA has once again congratulated the participants on their new journey and wished them all a very successful study.

Good Luck!

Participant's farewell meetings at the airport with Mr. Iwata, JICA Project Formulation Advisor before depart to Japan.






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