Fifteen human rights trainers from the Pacific region have graduated with greater capacity in imparting knowledge and skills through professional training after an intensive two week training course conducted by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Regional Rights Resource Team (SPC-RRRT) in Suva, Fiji.

The training of trainers (ToT) course, facilitated by Trevor Kliese from Training Australia Unlimited, was an empowering experience, as the trainers increased their training skills in line with international standards. The ToT programme will assist not only trainers, but all others working in the area of capacity building, where the transfer of knowledge, skills and information is critical. This training was unique in that the skills component was complemented by the use of human rights topics.

The RRRT trainers who graduated from the course provide human rights training for government departments and civil society organisations throughout the Pacific region. This ToT training provides graduates with enhanced skills and techniques, leading to improved services and outcomes in SPC member countries.

‘I now have a better perspective on how to conduct this training and I feel better equipped than before to perform as a Senior Trainer,’ said Lionel Aingimea, SPC-RRRT’s Senior Legal Trainer.

Matakina Simii, a disability advocate in Tuvalu, is optimistic that she will put the knowledge she acquired from the ToT training to good use. One of her first priorities when she returns home will be to advocate through her training for the ratification of the Convention for the Rights of People with Disability, so that more children with disability can access education.

Commenting on the course, RRRT Country Focal Officer in Kiribati, Amberoti Nikora, who was previously a Member of Parliament in Kiribati, said he would have done better as a human rights advocate in Parliament if he had received this training during his time as MP.

‘However, with the knowledge acquired from the training, I am in a strong position still and empowered to conduct training and work with MPs to support human rights in my country,’ Nikora said.

Lepolo Taunila, RRRT Country Focal Officer in Tonga and a former Tongan Member of Parliament, expressed a similar sentiment, saying that the training has taught her the importance of good training preparation, sourcing the right facts to support her training and understanding adult learning principles in order to tailor training to meet the needs of her learners.

‘It has been a very helpful training for me and I look forward to going back as a more effective trainer. As soon as I get back, I will be working on a training request from the government and another from the NGO sector and this ToT training has just prepared me well to take them on without hesitation,’ She added.

As part of the training, the recipients discussed contemporary human rights issues affecting Pacific Island nations, including violence against women, children’s rights to education and health services, refugee rights, corruption and media freedom.

The ToT course was conducted from January 28 to February 8 and included participants from Fiji, Nauru, Tuvalu, Tonga, Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia. The training was generously supported by AusAID.