Island Youth Learn Traditional Stewardship Skills

OneReef and Sonsorol State Summer Camp 2020

15 youth from Sonsorol successfully completed a two-month Traditional Stewardship Summer Camp hosted by Sonsorol State and OneReef from June 1st to August 1st, 2020. In this Summer Camp, young men and women learned about the traditional way of living sustainably on islands which included the building of a canoe-house, canoe building, traditional fishing methods, understanding fish behavior, learning local fish names and how to handle different fish, traditional medicine, traditional food preparation and preservation, weaving, seasonal calendar, island currents and safety.

OneReef and Governor Nickolas Aquino of Sonsorol State elicited the assistance of community elders that included Master Carver Akilino Albis, and Mr. John Nestor to teach the young men and Ms. Marciana Mikel, Ms. Casmira Albis, and Ms. Felisa Andrew to teach the young women. Other community elders assisted in teaching the youth, including Chief Laturmatalo Samu Bemar, Mr. Isaac Theodore, Mr. Benedict Pedro, and the employees of Sonsorol State and Municipal Government as well as the many other residents of Sonsorol Island.

In the closing ceremony that was held on Sonsorol Island at the end of the Camp, Governor Aquino thanked Mr. Wayne Andrew, Senior Advisor at OneReef, for the opportunity to partner together and revive, strengthen and transfer to the younger generation the traditional knowledge and skills that are very important to not only the identity of the people of Sonsorol, but to making the community stronger and more resilient as islanders. Governor Aquino indicated that his administration is keen on continuing to work with OneReef, and other partners to support and develop the program so that it can be sustained into the future and replicated to the other islands of Sonsorol State. Former Governor Damian Albis, in his remarks at the closing ceremony, thanked Governor Aquino andOneReef for a very successful Summer Camp Program. He also thanked Master Carver Akilino Albis and all the elders on behalf of all the parents of the campers for their generosity in teaching the youth the traditional knowledge that they have. OneReef Senior Advisor, Mr. Andrew, thanked Governor Aquino for his leadership in making the Summer Camp Program a huge success. He also thanked the Master Carver and all the elders for their willingness to share their knowledge with the youth. He emphasized that it is OneReef’s mission to work with interested communities to increase their resilience in food security in the face of climate change and all the other human stressors on island resources.

OneReef believes that supporting communities to revive and strengthen their traditional knowledge and skills will greatly enhance their resilience, and their ability to effectively protect their coral reefs. OneReef and Governor Aquino agreed to continue to work together to support the continuation and expansion of this program.


NOTE: Sonsorol is one of the 16 states of Palau and along with Hatohobei, forms the Southwest Islands of Palau.