KAWAKI Women’s Network held its first Annual General Meeting on the 8th – 10th September, last week in Wagina, Choiseul Province. About 45 Women from the respective areas of Katupika, Wagina and Kia attended the first AGM where they adopted their constitution and successfully elected nine Executive members.

Speaking during her farewell speech, co-founder of KAWAKI Mrs. Marilyn Ghedi reflected on the formation of the group.

“KAWAKI is formed from the vision that we the women from the 3 communities that looks after Arnavon Islands should also take part and help out in conservation work in Arnavons and bring the knowledge to the communities.

“We, the KAWAKI are the mothers, we interact more with our children, our families, and our communities and our environment. In this Kawaki platform we learn and educate ourselves, and then we take it back to our sphere of life and influence it.

"It is our responsibility to do the awareness of the important work of our Rangers at the Arnavons and work together to continue the conservation work in it,” Mrs. Marilyn encouraged the group.

The Former Chairlady thanked her board members and welcomed the new executives, reminding them of the important roles they now hold.

Meanwhile, former Secretary and re-elected executive member Ms Dilly Maezama emphasized on the challenge of their work.

“As a leader for this group for the past 4 years, it is not easy making decisions on behalf of 3 communities that are distinctively differs in language & culture. This challenge is ongoing, and we are adapting to over these years.

"We faced a lot of challenge; however, this has not stopped the work. KAWAKI is growing today because our passion for conservation supersedes these differences. We come together because of Arnavon Islands and that the beauty in this.” Ms Dilly stated.

The group finalized and adopted their constitution and elected their new Executives, ending their meetings with conservation awareness, celebrating their different cultures and creating new friendship across each community through food and bonding.

KAWAKI Women’s network is made up of women from Katupika and Wagina in Choiseul Province and Kia in Isabel Province who are dedicated to conservation work. In a response to the call from the women from Katupika, Wagina and Kia communities that look after the Arnavon Marine Park to include them in managing the Arnavon Marine Park, the group was formed in 2016.

These women have been reaching out to communities and schools in the Katupika, Wagina and Kia areas to do conservation awareness which address issues they face in their communities like waste management, logging, mining, and overharvesting. Foremost they continue to advocate for the turtle conservation work in Arnavon Marine Park and leading hospitality for visitors in that place.

The KAWAKI AGM is supported by The Nature Conservancy in partnership with Arnavon Conservation Marine Park and the respective Communities of Katupika, Wagina and Kia.