Su’a Julia Wallwork, who heads up the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Samoa, was awarded first place for her paper and presentation at an international climate change symposium hosted by the University of Fiji and University of Hamburg.
I still can’t believe it. I was up against all these scientists/professors from Germany, Hawaii, the Pacific, Australia and Fiji. Another notch up for ADRA. God be praised!
“I still can’t believe it,” Ms Wallwork said. “I was up against all these scientists/professors from Germany, Hawaii, the Pacific, Australia and Fiji. Another notch up for ADRA. God be praised!”
Ms Wallwork’s paper described ADRA’s work with communities vulnerable to tsunamis and rising sea levels—projects that make use of traditional Samoan social structures and the widespread Christian faith that is part of Samoan culture as well as up-to-date scientific data and best practice approaches that boost community resilience and preparedness for disasters.
Drawing from ADRA’s 30 years of experience in Samoa, Ms Wallwork’s paper emphasised ADRA workers’ local knowledge: “We know the traditions, and understand the needs,” the introduction to her paper reads. “We look through the same lens at the changes in land, sea and sky. We understand—we have been part of this journey through life—through centuries of migration and navigation, guided by the sun, moon and stars. We know about the beliefs in Bible prophecies being fulfilled that [our communities] talk about with reverence. We are Samoa. We are people of the Pacific, and our heritage lives on.”