Azarel Mariner (Samoa)
Climate Change Technical Assistant
Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Samoa
Master of Integrated Water Management
Before commencing the Masters program, Azarel attained a Bachelor of Environmental Science from the University of South Pacific, Fiji. She then worked as a Lab Technician with the Samoa Water Authority.
Since completing the Masters course, she has assisted not only Samoa, but the Pacific region as well, in her new role as a Climate Change Technical Assistant with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
SPREP is a regional organisation with a vision to sustaining the environment, livelihood and natural heritage of the Pacific islands. One of the leading projects, Pacific Adaptation Climate Change (PACC), implements climate change adaptation measures in 14 Pacific Island countries, with priorities on water, food security and coastal management.
In February this year, Azarel helped to facilitate a workshop conducted by SPREP and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) project to assist the 14 countries with adaptation options, including those pertaining to water management.Better ways of engaging
Before commencing the Masters program, Azarel attained a Bachelor of Environmental Science from the University of South Pacific, Fiji.
Work experience with the Samoa Water Authority as a Lab Technician initiated Azarel's interest in furthering her studies. She wanted to learn how to better engage with communities to protect and conserve water resources through an integrated approach.
(left - Woman from Auala mapping village assets and vulnerability areas.)
This interest led Azarel to apply for the Australia Awards Scholarship through the Samoan government circular. "I was drawn to the IWC Masters because of the unique combination of subjects in different disciplines," she said. "There were courses in science, social sciences, law, and of particular interest to me, water planning and economics."
PACC Regional Workshop Feb 2013 with SPREP Director General and Pacific Island Members
"All the courses I studied influence my methods and approaches with this job," Azarel said. "For example, in January this year, a community consultation was implemented in one of the villages in Savaii, in collaboration with a number of donors. Before the Masters degree, I would have taken a different approach and would have never reach the desired outcomes.
"Now my approach to communities has been greatly influenced by the Community, livelihoods, development and water course at IWC with Dr Bruce Missingham, which focused on areas such as mapping with communities, approaches to include marginalised groups, strengthening community-based organisations and so forth. This course was one of the absolute highlights of my study.
Site visit to flooded areas impacted by Tropical Cyclone Evan in Samoa, December 2012 with the participants. The focus was to outlined the concept of IWRMFor those thinking of applying
"For anyone else thinking of applying for an Australia Awards Scholarship to study water management, I would like to encourage you to consider the options given to study different disciplines within the one degree," Azarel said. "Because water is subject to different fields, thus it is vital to gain the knowledge and skills to engage with multiple partners and stakeholders without compromising the others.
"And enjoy your learning," she says, "and take advantage of the resources available to you. In my program, there were about 50 students from 20 different countries – a wealth of culture and experience within one room. Make friends, and learn from each other as well."