Pacific Islands Association of NGOs Interim Executive Director Emele Duituturaga is challenged by the new wave of activism she believes was coming to bring about needed changes in the region.
“A new wave is building up after the huge activism which peaked in the 70s which brought a lot of liberalization but also resulted in a lot of disillusionment,” she said.
Ms Duituturaga said this new wave would make a bigger positive impact on the region because NGOs were strategically positioned to absorb the needed new developments.
Ms Duituturaga has a wealth of experience in social work and activism which has given her a high profile being invited as a globe-trotting conference speaker, panelist and chairing regional and global meetings.
She is currently doing her thesis for a postgraduate degree in governance at the University of the South Pacific after amassing several degrees in social work and management in New Zealand where she resided for 15 years.
PIANGO was one of the casualties in the last activism movement which saw the regional head running into a quarter million dollar debt after global funding which poured in for leadership training for NGO staff ran afoul.
“In its heydays in 2006-8 we had a cadre of training for trainer of trainers for NGO staff who were cut out for management,” Ms Duituturaga said.
She said PIANGO acquired the services of UNITEC New Zealand who carried out most of the training but the funds for the raising up of new leaders was not managed well resulting in the financial debacle.
“The board asked me to step in after PIANGO, with a quarter million debt, didn’t know what to do,” she said.
Ms Duituturaga had to step into a management crisis role which she has been trying to cope with for the past three years.
“We have gone back to the drawing board asking basic questions like who are we and what are we doing and a paradigm shift on development which I believe has allowed us to become stronger,” she said.
“But very important for a better resolve and pulling together our resources and strength for the challenging times ahead for the Pacific,” she said.
She said even though PIANGO had partially lost grip of the mantle to head NGOs because of this failure but it had the resolve to come back to the fore and take on the role to lead NGOs to the next level.