Women leading and influencing



WLI prepares Nanise & Karee to drive change in Pacific maritime sector

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) alumni Nanise Kabakoro (Fiji) and Karee Ioane (Kiribati) are working to build a safe, secure and efficient maritime and shipping sector in the Pacific. 

Nanise (left) works as an Assistant Port Construction Engineer and the first female Site Superintendent on the US$90 million Aiwo Port Redevelopment Project in Nauru, funded by the Department of Foreigh Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and others.

Nanise Kabakoro and Karee Ioane

This new international port will be a vital asset for Nauru, which relies on 95 per cent of its essential imports such as food, medical supplies and fuel to be delivered by sea.

Before commencing her Australia Award, Karee (right) worked for seven years with the Kiribati Maritime Institute’s Maritime Training Centre, where she taught English to cadets, stewards and hospitality students.

English language skills are crucial for young Kiribati people to secure employment in the maritime and other sectors, both in Kiribati and overseas.

WLI prepared Nanise and Karee to thrive male-dominated maritime sector

Both Nanise and Karee credit their Australia Awards experience, and participation in WLI’s Leadership and Mentoring program, with giving them the skills, confidence and networks to thrive in the male-dominated maritime sector – and lead positive development change in the Pacific region.

“As women, we are often under-represented [in many sectors] and leadership roles within the Pacific,” Nanise says, “To be on an Australia Award and to be in the WLI program is a step in the direction to minimise the gap [and] overcome this tradition of gender disparity.”

For Karee, the WLI experience has confirmed the importance of working in partnership with men in the maritime and other sectors, to “sail together as equal and positive contributors to our people’s future”.

Find out more about how the WLI Leadership and Mentoring program is supporting Nanise, Karee and other Pacific Australia Awards scholars and alumni to lead change: www.womensleadershipinitiative.org.au/leadership-and-mentoring