Dr Patrina Dumaru

Dr Patrina Dumaru reflects on her time as a PhD candidate in the School of Geography.

Patrina Dumaru
Dr Patrina Dumaru. Picture: The University of the South Pacific

I was fortunate during my studies to be able to engage in interesting discussions with students, lecturers and tutors from a variety of cultures and nationalities in a fun and well-resourced learning environment in a great city. I particularly loved riding my bike to Uni in the mornings and hanging around pubs and cafes around Carlton, Brunswick and Fitzroy. Melbourne is like a second home for me and I feel like I’m part of a community in Melbourne and that’s very important when you come from a place like Fiji.

When commencing my PhD I was curious to know how adaptation projects in the Pacific Islands enhanced community adaptability to climate change, particularly for indigenous villages in my home country. My research helped to understand how adaptation projects can be better designed and implemented to respond to local needs and values while strengthening the adaptive capacity of local social-cultural systems. The study demonstrated that what differentiates CBA from other adaptation approaches is that it purposefully seeks to produce the kind of outcomes that enable local actors to continuously mobilize collective action, inclusive decision-making and iterative learning towards immediate and long-term climate change adaptation goals.

The highlights of my PhD studies were being awarded a grant from the UNDP Asia-Pacific Human Development Academic Fellowship, having a paper published in a prestigious journal, and the final submission of my thesis. Of course, looking back, there are things I would have done differently but I feel that I did my best with the support, resources, and time available to me, and I’m satisfied with the effort I put in.

I now work as the Team Leader of the European Union Global Climate Change Alliance (EUGCCA) Project with the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD) at the University of the South Pacific (USP). The Project aims to strengthen the capacity of 15 Pacific countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change through formal and informal training, practical community focused adaptation projects, and applied research. I couldn’t have asked for a more appropriate job and was so excited when I got the job offer!

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