Focal group discussion with Kiribati female leaders and the German Ambassador

Beate Grzeski, German Special Envoy to the Pacific Islands, supports The Ball in Kiribati!

One June 28th, Ms Grzeski joined our focal group discussion with female and male leaders and representatives in Kiribati to talk about the power of (women’s) football and climate action. The session was also joined by the Deputy High Commissioners of Australia and New Zealand as well as the Kiribati Minister of Employment, Ms. Taabeta Teakai.

In terms of climate change effects, we heard a lot about drought, floods and food insecurity, water salination as well as rubbish pollution. Specifically, Kiribati suffers from loss of land because of the rising sea levels, drinking water contamination and limited availability of land. Coping mechanisms include land reclamation and water desalination.

Regarding gender equality, it was said that Kiribati traditional society, especially in outer islands, is very patriarchal, but recently there have been some positive developments. National ministries as well as institutions like UN Women are supporting women’s rights and are fighting gender based violence. For example, it was said that girls and women are being encouraged to enter male dominated sectors and equal pay is being pursued.

After the obligatory round of headers, many of the leaders present stepped up to make various pledges.

The German Special Envoy, Ms Grzeski’s pledge:

I’m here Kiribati today, together with women and men that support the force and power of football. I pledge to support (young) girls, to play football and become role models for others and become stronger and support their community.

Kiribati Minister of Employment, Ms Teakai (center with The SDG Ball) pledged to empower women, sits next to German Special Envoy, Ms Grzeski (right).

Ms. Banita Semilota, climate justice activist and Law student at the University of the South Pacific, said:

I pledge to empower and educate our youth to be change makers to be advocates for climate action for climate justice and gender equality.

Mariajosita Timo, coach at the Kiribati Islands Football Association  and OFC Just Play Programme, pledged:

I pledge to support gender equality, empower women to play soccer and to support women and men to hate violence.

First Secretary of the Australian High Commission to Kiribati said:

I pledge to support Gender equality women’s empowerment and involvement in sports. It is a really important aim and goal to achieve and Australia stands with the people and the government of Kiribati to try to make it happen…

Thank you to the German Embassy in Wellington that has supported The Ball’s activities in Fiji and Kiribati.

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