Press Release, Bairiki, Tarawa 01 November, 2012
“TOXIC waste, toxic waste is lying everywhere in the lagoon,” chanted Class 5B to hundreds of people at the Abaunamou Pri-School Climate Change Skit Competition on Friday.
“Sinking and floating like a balloon,” they continued.
“Fish chase them for food.
“Without knowing that they are no good.
“Don’t throw toxic waste into the lagoon.
“So then the fish won’t die and never go up to the moon.”
The poem, created by Class 5B and their teacher, Mimitaake Aron, signaled the finale of the winning performance of the first-ever skit competition held by the school at St Ioteba Maneaba in Teaoraereke.
The competition featured more than 600 children, aged 6 to 12, who were part of 20 class skits about climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. It was supported by the Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII) and Foundation of the South Pacific Kiribati (FSPK) who judged the competition alongside the Environment Conservation Division (ECD).
The children performed a variety of skits, with songs, dances, plays and poems conveying their English skills as well as important community messages such as why not to pollute, the dangers of coastal erosion and the benefits of recycling. For example, Class 5B’s winning message was: “From now on we will stop throwing toxic waste into the lagoon and we will try our best to make our lagoon the most beautiful lagoon in the world.”
Head Teacher Rabwa Ieremia said the competition not only benefited the children’s English and climate change knowledge, but also their parents who attended the performance as well as the wider community.
“Before the skit, some parents thought climate change was a problem overseas,” Ms Ieremia said.
“After the skit, the community has been asking questions about climate change and come to the realization that it’s a local problem that our community must address.
“They now know that we all contribute to these problems, such as throwing the rubbish into the sea, and they’re passing the message onto the local community and encouraging a change in behaviour.”
“This competition would not have been possible without the support of our parents, community, teachers, judges, Nei Tabera Ni Kai, KAPIII, FSPK and the ECD and we thank you all.”
Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III Project Manager Kautuna Kaitara said KAPIII was proud to support the efforts made by the school to take ownership of issues relating to climate change and their local community.
“The teachers, students and community have done a fantastic job in promoting positive key messages about climate change and relating them to their community,” Mr Kaitara said.
“Change starts at home and the school has taken ownership of changes that need to be made in the community, explained why they are important and provided solutions for change to their parents and friends.
“Children are just effective and sustainable ‘Agents of Change’ and it is hoped they will bring good changes in terms of understanding climate change and climate change adaptation throughout Kiribati.“
“I congratulate all students and teachers who participated in 20 wonderful and educational skits.”
The Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII), Office of Te Beretitenti, aims to increase freshwater supply and coastal infrastructure for the people and future of Kiribati.
KAPIII will achieve this objective under four key components to be achieved from 2012 to 2016:
- Improve water resource use and management;
- Increase coastal resilience;
- Strengthen the capacity to manage the effects of climate change and natural hazards; and
- Project management, monitoring and evaluation.