The Mana Scholarship for Environmetnal Studies
“For me was a honor get the scholarship during 2015”
In collaboration with the Easter Island Foundation (publisher of the Rapa Nui Journal) and Susie Stephen ( founder of Longrunergy), Pacific Aid Australia is committed to helping Easter Island develop an army of skilled environmental practitioners with a dream of one day seeing a sustainable Easter Island. To this end we have jointly created the Mana Scholarship for Environmental Studies
The scholarship started as a result of the Retracing Routledge project initiated by Susie Stephen who learnt that Anthropologist Katherine Routledge, who sailed to Rapa Nui in 1914 as part of the official Mana Expedition to Easter Island, came from her own home town of Darlington, United Kingdom. Pacific Aid Australia supported Susie's efforts with the aim of raising awareness of Easter Island’s environmental issues. In 2014 Susie retraced the steps of Katherine Routledge, travelling from Darlington to Easter Island via South Hampton, Argentina and Chile.
A condition of the scholarship is that the beneficiary must be Rapa Nui, with the intention to apply his or her knowledge to improve environmental conditions in Easter Island.
Our first beneficiary ( $2,000 US) is 21 year old Francisca Martinez Pakarati. She is now in her fourth year of environmental engineering at the Institute Profesional DUOC UC in Valparaíso and is very close to completing her degree. Her goal is to improve local knowledge using new technologies. She would like to participate in multidisciplinary teams with local institutions, adapting technical knowledge to the special conditions of Rapa Nui. Her future projects will focus on recycling, seawater pollution, and teaching the island’s children how to care for their environment. She believes the greatest challenge to Rapa Nui today is to develop a sustainable tourism industry, because tourism is the most important economic resource in Easter Island. The number of visitors is unbalanced with the local resources, and for that reason, environmental impacts are greater than the internal capacity of the island. Francisca believes the key to this problem is education.
“Each day I feel more committed to apply my knowledge to island development and to be a community support.”
During the past year of her scholarship she achieved certification in the following topics:
• Sustainable processes
• Territorial and municipal planning
• Treatment of environmental variables
• Environmental sampling
• Environmental control techniques
“Honestly, I think these are all skills I can use to benefit the development of Easter Island”, Francesca told us, “Easter Island is facing important challenges related to the environment: migration of people, energy development, water treatment and waste recycling, among others. Currently local authorities are designing policies to improve the quality of life of people. In this sense, it is very important to develop projects that are easy to apply for individuals, institutions and companies. So I feel I am acquiring knowledge at the University allow me to design and assess projects that are applicable to the reality of the island, especially in a close and friendly language. In the short term, I would create my own consulting firm in environment, since there are no such organizations in the island, and I think are really important for the future”.
Fransisca Martinez Pakarati