Australia is helping Kiribati to build a skilled workforce through scholarships.
The Australia Awards provide opportunities for I-Kiribati students to study at tertiary institutions in Australia and the Pacific. The awards enable students to gain the skills and knowledge needed to contribute to their and Kiribati's development.
In 2018, Australia offered 55 university scholarships to I-Kiribati women and men to study in Australia and the region.
Profile: Naomi Biribo
Naomi Biribo from Kiribati is a recipient of a Prime Minister’s Pacific-Australia Award. These prestigious scholarships are offered to exceptional students across the region who are leaders or potential leaders in their country.
Naomi is a postgraduate student at the University of Wollongong. Her doctoral thesis on the coastal vulnerability of Kiribati has been recognised for its promise to lead the development of the Pacific region into the future. Looking at the effect of rising sea levels, it is the first research of its kind that specifically addresses the challenges the Tarawa reef islands may face.
“The coast is a significant part of everyday life for the people of Kiribati and my research has implications for a wide cross-section of the community.”
The Prime Minister’s Pacific-Australia Awards aim to build the capacity of high-achieving postgraduate students through a series of leadership development programs and placement opportunities in Australian Government departments. Naomi hopes to use the placement experience to learn how scientific recommendations can effectively influence public policy.
“I really want to enrich my understanding of the process and strategies used by Australian organisations to manage coastal areas, and learn how research information can help inform policy decisions.”
Part of Naomi’s research explores the historical changes to the Kiribati shoreline and the rates and trends of sediment deposition over the past 4,000 years. Through the development of island coastal management, she hopes her research might transform entrenched community attitudes.
“Part of the challenge for my country is getting people to understand that every small action has implications. For example, one person who takes a sack of sand away from a beach must realise that, over time, there are significant cumulative effects,” she said.
How to apply
More information, including applicant eligibility criteria can be found at: