ExxonMobil PNG has worked in partnership with the University of Papua New Guinea to develop course programs for a Postgraduate Diploma and a Master’s degree in Conservation Management.
Two conservation certificate courses were delivered in 2017, with the first involving 25 participants from the Kokoda Initiative. The first four scholarships for the new Master’s degree in Conservation Management were awarded in December 2017. The scholarships were funded by ExxonMobil PNG in partnership with the Mama Graun Conservation Trust Fund.
Esthel Gombo from Uwe Village in Oro Province, is one of the four ExxonMobil PNG scholarship recipients who will complete conservation studies and research projects that will ultimately make a difference to preserving Papua New Guinea’s unique biodiversity.
Esthel will be using her scholarship to study biodiversity response to climate change, in particular the effects of rising sea levels on the salinity of common food crops, such as sweet potato, along Papua New Guinea’s coastline.
Esthel, who is a teacher, said the scholarship would help her long-term career goal of becoming an education researcher so that she could apply her knowledge to designing new gardening and cultivation methods and raising awareness about the types of crops that can be used for food security in Papua New Guinea.
This scholarship will make me more knowledgeable about the rising negative effects of changes in climatic factors.
I can then be helpful in contributing to the effort of incorporating the knowledge about climate change and its effect on common crops into the national education curriculum.