Pacific Students Take the Lead

East Asia and Pacific
02 April 2019

In late 2018, the Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance Program launched its latest e-learning course, Disaster Risk Finance in the Pacific. We spoke to the first two people to complete the course – both students at the University of the South Pacific - to find out what motivated them to enrol and what they have learnt about disaster risk finance. 

Alick Bebeu Suimae is from Malaita province in the Solomon Islands is currently completing his Bachelor of Commerce degree. During his childhood, Alick’s home was washed away by King Tides – an experience which influenced his interest in disaster risk finance “those memories of my childhood prompted me to take the course. It’s a disaster that took the island away from me so that’s one of the things that motivated me.”

Fellow Bachelor of Commerce student, Milika Kuruvakadua from Naitasiri province in Fiji, enrolled in the course after it was recommended by lecturer, Dr Elena Demidova. Milika explained that the course highlighted the importance of disaster risk finance in the region “Disaster Risk Finance is important in the Pacific because the region is very prone to natural disasters. Its important that we learn how to easily cover the losses that we incur during the natural disaster so that we can quickly get back on par with other developing countries around the world.” 
Alick agreed, observing that “in the Pacific, we experience natural disasters almost our entire lives. This is one of the reasons that our economies in the Pacific become stagnant and are not experiencing economic growth at a faster rate due to these unexpected calamities pushing us back, but taking the course will help to financially manage and mitigate risk that is associated with that.” 

Acknowledging the progress that has been made to increase financial resilience across the region, Milika noted “Pacific Island countries still have a long way to go in developing their financial instruments and then implementing them to find solutions to overcome the losses they face almost every year from natural disasters. The key thing is that we still need to educate other students or leaders in disaster risk finance."

Milika recommended the course to others in the Pacific “You should try it out because its really relevant to our region. It gives you an insight into what the government of your own country is doing in order to cover for the losses that we incur almost every year due to natural disasters. It’s a really interesting course."

Now that he has completed the course Alick plans to share the knowledge he gained with communities in the Solomon Islands “I’m hoping that we can reach out to our communities and villages and raise awareness about this. We, as those who do training at places like USP, can give our communities knowledge on how to manage funds that may be accessed when natural disasters strike.”

The World Bank has been working with the University of the South Pacific (USP) since 2017 to bring disaster risk finance to the classroom. To date over 100 students from USP have completed e-learning courses in disaster risk finance.  

Want to take the Disaster Risk Finance in the Pacific course yourself? Its FREE and available via the World Bank’s Open Learning Campus:  

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