Abija Lometo was April’s GEF trainee of the month. He has lived in Majuro for the last three years with his wife and daughter. Before living in Majuro he along with his family resided in the Mili atoll where is family is from. Abija’s goal from attending the WAM GEF program is to be self-employed doing custom carving projects for clients. Congratulations Abija!
Jerryann Harkey was WAM’s trainee of the month for the 2017 NTC program. She lives here in Majuro with her two sisters and her Bubu (Grandmother). From her participation in the WAM program Jerryann’s goal is to attend job core. Congratulations Jerryann for being the trainee of the month.
The WAM 2017 Vocational Program has an added feature this year with establishing a Youth Reference Group (YRG) from among the 2017 NTC trainees. The aim of the (YRG) is for the trainees to actively contribute to the evaluation of the program, increase their self-esteem, and increase their confidence. The YRG in particular will assist in the planning and organization of the Open House Event and the Graduation. This years YRG trainees are pictured below.
WAM’s 2017 Vocational Program started on April 3rd with 25 enthusiastic trainees. A pre evaluation was completed by each trainee identifying their personal goals from participating in the WAM program. To be employed was 60% of the trainees goal and 28% wanted to get their GED. Advanced education such as a trade or vocational school was the remaining 12% goal.
In weeks one to four the trainees were guided to look towards themselves. The theme was “Self Identity”. These weeks of the curriculum involved the life-skills counselors assisting the trainees in the process of obtaining social security numbers, birth certificates, bank accounts, health clearances and ID cards. The trainees were also introduced to the substance abuse counseling program and advised on time management and money management strategies. The trainees were informed on the knowledge about migrating through participating in a presentation by Internal Organization for Migration (IOM). The counselors have conducted completed Behavioral Health Screenings for 60% of the trainees. The remaining 40% will be completed in the next few weeks.
In weeks five to ten the theme was “Health”. This is where all the trainees learned about the importance of a healthy life style. The topics covered were suicide prevention, substances, inhalants and drugs and STI’s/HIVs. The focus of these weeks were an introduction for the trainees in independent living skills by working on the garden and having guests such as the Wellness Center teach trainees how to cook healthy meals using local foods. There were guest speakers from CMI Peer to Peer Educators, Youth to Youth in Health, Kumit Bobrae, and Jerry Nii to extend trainees knowledge of local services. Also, the Youth Reference Group (YRG) started their preparation for the open house. Starting the week of June 5th trainees will be introduced to basic computer skills that will help them in their employment search and continuing education after the completion of the WAM program.
Enjoy the pictures of these events.
Its busy times for WAM as the GEF trainees learn valuable skills in advanced carpentry and carving. Their first few weeks in February involved logging large Lukwej trees, and then milling them. This beautiful local wood was cut into slabs and some was seasoned in the salt water right outside WAM. The trainees of the GEF program started with making their own wood mallets in preparation for their training in carving. They also did carpentry work for the WAM office giving it a much needed upgrade.
large carving of the RMI Governments Logo. In the days ahead they will being given small business start-up training enabling them to be self-employed upon graduation.
Whats happening at WAM these days?
A new Apprenticeship Project has begin funded by the Global Environment Facility/Small Grants Program. This new program at WAM will focus on Advanced Carpentry/Furniture Building Skills and Entrepreneurial Training.
The program will have a broad and long-reaching impact on the trainees and the community. With the skills acquired in carpentry the trainees will be made aware of the use and availability of locally sourced wood products to create such things as furniture, cabinets, caskets, cultural tools etc. This will reduce the need for such items to be imported. At the same time the trainees will be made aware of the environmental need of replantation of food trees. Training will be provided in such areas as basic business practices and financial planning so that each trainee can be empowered to have the goal of self-employment.
We are excited to be able to provide such training in these areas and can foresee the benefits of such training having a positive effect on the trainees and the community for years to come.
After many stormy day’s for weeks the sun came out and shined, as did the Vocational/Lifeskills 2016 Trainee Graduates! There was approximately 120 in attendance made up of family, friends and community leaders to see 14 young men and 4 young women receive their graduation certificates for completing the WAM program. The graduating Class of 2016 wore a t-shirt they personnel designed for just this day.
In just 6 months these trainees became more self-confident, improved their decision making, learned how to work together as a team and acquired many vocational skills. On display for family and community to see were the two sailing canoes built by the trainees as well as the many other woodworking crafts they had made. The trainees are provided with a Literacy course and they displayed their achievements in this area by presenting opening and closing speeches both in English and Marshallese. We are sure that these skills will help them in their future endeavors whether that be further education or employment.
After certificates of achievement were awarded all enjoyed a good lunch under the tree at the Marshall Islands Resort, and then some fun in the sun with the canoes. We congratulate them on their achievements at present and wish them many more to come in the future.
In these last few weeks of our National Training Council Program the trainees had the opportunity to experience what it is like to be in the workforce. Local businesses opened their doors to the trainees giving them the chance to see just what its like to have a job. There were lots of smiles when we visited the various businesses to see how they were doing. Below are just a few pictures of some our trainees during their work on the job training. All trainees expressed that it was a great experience! They found working with other people, pricing inventory, and working in carpentry to be the most interesting part of the experience. The only thing they would change would be to have a longer time with the on the job training.
WAM trainees and staff had a great time at Eneko Island July 22-25th. They shared responsibilities and the things learned made for a fun weekend.
Each day of the retreat began with trainees cleaning up the area before starting the daily activities. Trainees were taught about the importance of keeping the coral and fish alive.
They also were taught how to source local resources for there lunch and evening meals. In doing so they learned how to make coconut pudding, rice balls, ‘beru’ and different dishes that could be made from breadfruit. The trainees were also introduced to the cultural skills of throw net fishing. They enjoyed learning this skill and were able to use this new skill to catch and serve fish as a part of the evening meals.
The trainees also engaged in fun activities to help them build their decision making and team building skills. They participated in the egg throwing competition; tug – a – war competition; wet dress relay and a volley ball competition.
Here are quotes from the trainees about how they felt about the retreat:
‘Working together makes everything possible’
‘To learn about life’
‘Learn about what’s right and wrong’
‘Strengthen their skills and knowledge’
‘Learn about the culture’
‘Getting to know more of each other’
‘Making the right decision’
‘Learning how to cook traditional food’
‘Respecting each other’
All participants in Eneko Retreat weekend felt it was a huge success!
Eyes were popping and a reluctant attitude abounded as the 19 Waan Aelon in Majel (WAM) trainees were asked to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on one of their colleagues.
“Many aspects of first aid is not really appropriate culturally,” WAM Director Alson Kelen explained. “Asking a young man to ‘kiss’ his mom is, well, just not done.”
But Majuro Red Cross (MRCS) instructors were working hard to dispell this thinking during a two-day, “full on” first aid course designed to give people the hands-on skills need to save people’s lives.
“This is the first time the Red Cross has done this type of training for WAM and, I believe, for any organization here. It came about after the Red Cross’ Paul Alee contacted me and said they were thinking of doing some first aid training.
“I said great! What can I do to facilitate it,” said Alson, knowing that this was just exactly the sort of training that boosted the skill base for the WAM trainees.
Understanding Alson’s eagerness, the MIRCS team put together a successful proposal to the RMI National Training Council for funding for the course.
Two part-time Red Cross instructors, Richard Anta and Kennedy Kaneko, and First Aid Course Coordinator Harry Herming led the WAM program, which is a certificate level course. Assisting them was Telbi Jason, who is the MIRCS Administrator.
“They brought a ton of equipment and were very serious in their approach, which the students got,” Alson said. “The only slight issue was that the training material was all in English, but the instructors managed the translations very well.”
The trainees were split into three groups for the mainly hands-on program. “For example, they’d brought along baby dolls to show how to press in the right area to restart their breathing. That was really great because all of these folks will have families one day and every bit of information like this will help. It will help them in their workplaces too.”
The trainees learned CPR, treatment of choking, management of emergency medical conditions and general first aid skills (including treatment of muscular and bony injuries, bleeding, burns, and poisoning).
A huge benefit to WAM is that the program’s instructors also took part, so they will be certified first aid workers for ongoing programs.
Lead coordinator Harry said: “First aid training was totally new for these trainees. This was the first time they had learnt anything about first aid. But by the second day of the training the trainees were asking more questions, and were wanting to know more, showing they had become more and more interested in first aid as the training progressed.”
Harry believes the training was definitely successful: “The group of 19 young trainees who passed the course are now able to literally save a life. As well, Red Cross would of course like to repeat the first aid training to the next group of WAM trainees next year.”
He added that MIRCS can provide training to any other interested organizations. “We are just about to start training all the (100 odd) MALGov Local Police over the months of August and September.”
On the cultural side of things, Alson the instructors stressed to the trainees that it’s their obligation to put those feelings aside and do what was required. “its a difficult thing to do, but that’s part of our education on the first aid courses. “On this topic, Harry said: “For people who don’t understand, its a difficult thing (the idea of putting your mouth on your sister or mother), but once you have learned that it can really help someone and actually save their life this makes it easier. “Basically, he said, once you know why you must do something, it becomes easier.
“The trainees seemed to be completely into the course and I believe got a lot out of it,” Alson said. And this will be proven at the upcoming WAM graduation, scheduled for the end of September. “The Red Cross will be there to hand out their certificates of completion.”
Footnote: This article and photos first appeared in the Marshall Islands Journal’s August 5, 2016 issue. To subscribe to the Journal, check their website at www.marshallislandsjournal.com.