Pioneering PNG climate change – Lydia Nenai
Now, she is a pioneering PNG graduate in the field of climate change study at the Australian National University, as well as an active participant in the Australia Awards Women's Leadership Initiative - with great plans for all she is learning.
Setting out on university study in her later years, Lydia brought life experience with her and she cites being part of PNG's Climate Change and Development Authority as hugely inspirational. She says, 'I realised that there were multitudes of people affected by climate change, deteriorating their lives and livelihoods. Hearing peoples' stories about the challenges they faced, but also having that empirical knowledge as an indigenous person prompted me to think about what I should do to help.'
Now, as part of the Women's Leadership Initiative, working with mentor Kushla Munro, who heads up Australia's International Climate Change Branch, Lydia is putting that inspiration to the test. Figuring out how to build links with the Australian government and other practitioners in her field to promote improved collaboration and governance on climate change issues.
Her life experience tells her that change happens at all levels of society, and she plans to: '…apply the knowledge and skills both in my professional work and within my family circle. The networks created through the Women's Leadership Initiative will be useful to expand the scale of work I do professionally. Again, my aim is to assist as many people who are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.'
Upon her return to Papua New Guinea, Lydia intends to use the findings of her research to advocate for gender-sensitive climate change and water policies at both national and local levels. She is keen to develop networks and strengthen partnerships with Australian Government, academic and NGO practitioners in her field, especially with regard to strengthening governance around climate change policy.
This article was first published on Australia Awards Global Alumni.