Oceania Zayed school winner: “We need to do this for our country to have a future”

The Motufoua school is set install a bio-digester, rainwater tank and equip a small piggery with a 3 kW PV system, to increase its independence from diesel, fertilizer and food imports. The school will be assisted in its endeavour through a grant after being selected as the Zayed Future Energy Price Global High School prize winner for the Oceania region.

Speaking about the experience of traveling to Abu Dhabi to accept the award, student Kalita Titi Homasi said that her community is “on the frontline” of the effects of climate change.

“It is amazing meeting other people, from other schools,” Homasi told pv magazine Australia. “It makes me think about how to improve our country in terms of energy and sustainability. It gives us new ideas.”

The Motufoua school is on the island of Vaitapu. It has already developed a 46 kW PV system, which provides crucial power when diesel shipments for the school’s electricity needs does not arrive.

“At times, we have to go without light because of technical problems with the generator,” said Motoufoua Principal Siautele Lito. “As we are an island outside of the capital, if there is no ship to bring over the fuel to the islands, then we might go without electricity for a few days. Lito added that as Viatapu has very limited natural resources, “to survive we have to make use of whatever readily available energy we have.”

The Zayed school prize awards grants of up to US$100,000 for innovative sustainable projects, conceived and developed by students. 2018 is the 10th year of the awards.

“It is actually the first time for me to go out,” said Homasi. “I’m very excited to achieve this prize and it will make a big difference in our community. We really need to do this [address climate changey] for our country to have a future.”

The other Oceania finalists were both from Australia: Tenison Woods Colleges in South Australia and Lowanna College in Victoria.