Women in Fisheries – Fiji (WiFN-Fiji) Governance Structure
WiFN-Fiji is incorporated under the Charitable Trusts Act (Cap. 67). The Governance structure comprises of a Board of Trustees and an Executive Board.
The Board of Trustees is responsible for ensuring the Network’s compliance with the requirements of the Charitable Trusts Act. The Board of Trustees has three venerable members who are Ms Suliana Siwatibau, Ms Mereia Volavola and Mr Garry Wiseman.
The Executive Board is responsible for the management and control of the affairs of the Network. It’s members are: Ms Cherie Morris (Chairperson), Ms Mereseini Bower, Ms Mereseini Senioli and Ms Kristyn Lobendahn.
Board of Trustees
Suliana Siwatibau is a trained Botanist with special interest in plant genetics. Her previous work experience includes teaching, research, public service (national and international), and work for a Pacific based development NGO. She has been involved in rice breeding, herbarium, maintenance, biology teaching, project management, energy policy and planning, environment conservation, and community development.
Currently, Ms Siwatibau works as a freelance consultant on issues of resource management and community development and volunteers for general community service through membership of governing and advisory bodies of several national, regional and international NGOs as well as intergovernmental bodies. She has a long term interest in issues of gender in development, and environmental conservation. Importantly, she maintain traditional village linkage for promotion of sustainable development at local level.
Garry Wiseman has over 32 years’ experience working in the development effectiveness field, concentrating on development economics, governance, planning and aid delivery, primarily in the island countries of the Pacific. He has undertaken a number of short-term assignments in Asia with a focus on HIV/AIDS and development. Since his retirement as the manager of United Nations Development Programme Pacific Centre in 2013 he has undertaken a number of short-term assignments for a range of development partners.
Garry has a Masters in International Relations from the University of New South Wales and a degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of New England in Australia. He was pleased to be invited to be on the Board of Trustees for the Network because he believes there is a need to give greater recognition and support to the valuable role women play in Fiji’s fisheries sector.
Mereia Volavola has been the Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) since 2010. She has vast knowledge and experience in the area of Finance and Banking.
Prior to joining PIPSO, Ms Volavola held the position of CEO of the Capital Markets Development Authority in Fiji. She has also worked for the Reserve Bank of Fiji, HFC Finance Ltd and Housing Authority.
Mereia Volavola holds an MBA in Banking and Finance with a Distinction from the University of Wales, UK and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of the South Pacific in Economics and Business Management. She is also a Board Member of Merchant Finance.
Cherie Morris (Chair)
Cherie Whippy-Morris is a Fellow at the Institute of Marine Resources, University of the South Pacific. She is a qualified marine-biologist with 30 years of project management and science experience from the Pacific and has a diverse set of skills in fisheries and aquaculture. Cherie has a keen interest in women and fisheries issues and is a certified advanced open water diver.
Being an Executive Board member of the Women in Fisheries Network- Fiji is another way of teaching others what she have learnt to achieve sustainability of the marine environment for those that rely on it for their livelihood. Ms. Morris has conducted research on coastal & marine ecosystems, tilapia, seagrapes, and has authored various publications including a chapter on Fiji: Coastal and marine ecosystems (2019). In C. Sheppard (Ed.) World Seas: An Environmental Evaluation Volume II: The Indian Ocean to the Pacific; Sustainable financing of a national Marine Protected Area network in Fiji. Ocean and Coastal Management, 163 (2018) 352–363; Supply chain and marketing of sea grapes Caulerpa racemosa (Forsskål) J. Agardh (Chlorophyta, Caulerpaceae) in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, Journal of Applied Phycology, April 2014, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 783-789.
She holds a Masters Degree in Marine Studies from the University of the South Pacific.
Mereseini Nagatalevu-Seniloli has 30 years of professional work in agricultural research and extension, botany and weed science, community participation and development and gender/agricultural development. She is a skilled researcher, facilitator and trainer and a practitioner in gender and participatory methods. She worked as Fiji’s Weeds Specialist at the Research Division of the Ministry of Agriculture for 17 years. Mereseini then worked as the Gender Analyst/Trainer for the Pacific Foundation for the Advancement of Women serving the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. She has also worked at the Land Resources Division of the Pacific Community based at its Pohnpei North Pacific Regional Office serving the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, and Saipan.
Ms. Seniloli has authored 7 publications, co-authored 16 publications and editor of 10 publications. One of the highlights of her work was the opportunity to present a paper on “Gender Dimensions of Science and Technology in Agriculture and Climate Change” at the United Nations for the Advancement of Women (UNDAW) Conference in 2010 in Paris, France. Two years prior she presented a paper on “The Pacific: Women Planning Sustainable Agriculture, Gender Perspectives: Integrating Disaster Risk Reduction into Climate Change Adaptation, Good Practices and Lessons Learned” at the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) Conference, in Beijing, China.
She is one of the first i-Taukei women to graduate with a Bachelor in Agriculture from the University of the South Pacific in 1981. She also has a Post Graduate Diploma (Sociology) from the same academic institution. She now works as a Consultant for Third Day Consultancy which she founded in 2004. She sees her role as an Executive Board Member for the Women in Fisheries Network-Fiji exciting and rewarding as she contributes towards the achievement of the Network’s goals and objectives. Most importantly is working with the local women fishers, hearing their stories and seeing their identified issues addressed by the Network, its partners and stakeholders.
Mereseini Bower has more than twenty years of extensive professional work experience in both the public and private sector (banking and energy). She has co-led corporate leadership transformation journeys and introduced sustainable energy and value-based corporate brand management. In the last ten years she has provided evidence-based policy advice and programme support across the areas of economic, social and environmental development at country, sub-regional and regional level in the Asia-Pacific region. In particular, helping developing countries consider coherent policies to reduce poverty, increase trade benefits, achieve sustainable development, rethink development cooperation and integrate development financing. She has a long-term interest in how economic and financial benefits from sustainable economic growth and trade including in the fisheries sector are managed and steered for better development outcomes for women and girls – especially those most vulnerable.
She has co-authored a number of publications including: ‘Technological Change and the Future of Jobs’ (2018); Asia Pacific Development Cooperation Report (2014); High-Value Goods, Distance and Trade Volume: the Case of Fiji (2008); and she has written a published paper titled Fiji’s Debate on State Capitalism: Is a Game Change in Sight? (2013).
Ms Bower was a Fiji delegate to the Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue (2010). She was also an ANU Fellow to the Global Emerging Voices Programme (2012), where a community of leading young Asia-Pacific and European scholars and professionals committed to bilateral dialogue and a nuanced understanding of the changing perspectives on global governance in light of China’s reemergence, came together to share their perspectives in major cities in Europe. As an invited speaker at the “Global Trends and China in the Next Decade Conference”, hosted by the China Centre for Contemporary Studies (CCP International Department in-house think-tank) in 2013, she contributed to thought leadership on “Seeking Win-Win Development, China’s Potential Role in a Broader and More Complex Asia-Pacific Development and Financing Landscape”.
She holds a Master of International and Development Economics from the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia and a Bachelor of Banking & Finance from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
Kristyn Lobendahn is the Communications Officer for the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO). She has over 15 years of professional work experience in Media, marketing and Communications. She is committed to effectively plan, develop, implement and evaluate communication strategies and tactics that would contribute to stakeholder’s awareness and understanding of a WiFN’s initiatives, polices and decision.
Ms. Lobendahn is a Past President for the Rotaract Club of Suva and was an Awardee of the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards in New Zealand. She was selected as a Private Sector delegate to present at the Research for Development Institute in Sydney, Australia and part of the Fiji Delegation to the Business Development Forum in Tahiti in 2018 where she represented PIPSO.
She is a Qualified Graphic Designer, with a keen interest in language studies having completed Level 4 of the Chinese Language and is currently pursuing a Journalism/International Business and Marketing Degree from the University of the South Pacific to align with her work experience in the same fields. Kristyn enjoys reading and writing and has a keen interest in the space of Women’s economic empowerment and youth entrepreneurship.