22 August 2018
“The key challenge that I see every day in my line of work is effectively translating government policies to local community needs and understandings, especially the fisherfolk communities who do not receive tangible benefits at their level such as credit facilities, to start up a business,” says Willie Kerenga an advisor at the Coastal Fisheries Development Agency (CFDA).
Australia Awards Fellowships recipient, Willie graduated from the University of Queensland in 2017 with a Graduate Certificate in International Relations.
He is now an attaché to the 2018 APEC Summit in Port Moresby.
“I hope to provide an effective and practical toolkit to our local fisherfolk communities to harness the opportunities provided by our government.”
Having worked in the fisheries sector for several years, Willie quickly realised the need for fishing communities to understand how activities can contribute to a sustainable livelihood. He sees the importance of coordinating the activities of stakeholders and commercial institutions to achieve positive outcomes in the lives of fisherfolk. An idealist with confidence in Papua New Guinea’s fishing future he takes his role seriously. Willie is grateful for the opportunity to further his studies through Australia Awards and knows the course prepared him for APEC, and for future global projects.
“The course was great. It covered not only theoretical techniques but also practical applications. Coordination issues among stakeholders is a big challenge in my sector, and this course has given me a foothold. I understand the different players: international organisations, states, big multinational corporations, and individuals like myself. I can play a significant role in shaping foreign policies,” he says.
Studying international relations at a world-class institution, broadened Willie’s understanding; taught him look at domestic issues through a global lens; to be an international advocate; and how local initiatives can shape global politics and economic policies.
Since completing his studies, Willie has effectively used his new skill set to begin creating a manual to assist business development and artisanal fishers. The manual covers international activities, conventions, domestic regulations on conducting business in Papua New Guinea, and how communities can avail themselves of existing programmes to maximise business and small-scale fishing activities. “I hope to provide an effective and practical toolkit to our local fisherfolk communities to harness opportunities provided by the government,” states Willie.
As a part of CFDA‘s participation in APEC, Willie and his team will be addressing and implementing policies related to illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing, as well as developing a global value chain framework for micro- small- and medium-sized fisheries.
Willie says the Fellowship gave him new insights into policy implementation and the interplay between policy and politics in global governance and relations. “The program has doubled my progress; it is extraordinary to participate at APEC.”