The Community Benefits Sharing Project (CBSP) has become a game changer for many of the people in communities surrounding the Tina River Hydropower Development Project (TRHDP). Kevin Kela, a 28-year-old from Namoraoni in the Malango area of Guadalcanal, is one of the CBSP success stories and a positive example of how the Project and communities have been able to work together for a better future.
In 2019, Kela abandoned his Certificate in Environmental Studies journey at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) after he could not pay for his tuition fees for the whole year, due to financial distress. Around the same time, the Community Benefit Sharing Project (CBSP) was initiating a program that would allow eligible community members to be sponsored for further studies in collaboration with SINU and the University of South Pacific (USP).
Gratefully, with the support of the Community Benefits Sharing Project (CBSP), he was able to continue with his tertiary education journey in 2021 and finally graduated on Friday 16th September 2022.
Mr Kela was one of the 14 students from the first group to receive CBSP support to study at a tertiary level under the Tina River Hydropower Development Project (TRHDP). He is also the first student to have graduated from the scholarship program.
He said, “CBSP has come to my rescue in 2021 after going through a financial crisis. My application in 2020 was successfully accepted and the project has paid for my outstanding dues in 2019 as well as paying for my tuition fees for the remainder of the study program.”
The SINU sponsorship program is a part of Component 3 of CBSP activities supports the Tina River Hydro Development communities as beneficiaries. The programs aim to provide training and or engaging in human resource development to enhance the livelihood and building the capacity of the members of the communities in the project catchment area.
CBSP Officer, Clinton Zinihite said “the project provides scholarship awards to the members based on their merits and qualification. School fees are paid on per semester basis. A small stipend is also given to assist students with their daily needs.”
After successfully graduated with his Environmental Studies Certificate, Kela wishes to thank CBSP and the Tina River Hydropower Development Project for the massive financial assistance.
“Indeed, I would like to thank the CBSP and Tina Hydro Project for the funding assistance which allows me to continue on with my studies. Graduating with this Certificate program is a proud moment for me and my family,” Kela added. Meanwhile, Mr Zinihite on behalf of the CBSP and the Tina River Hydropower Development team congratulates Kela for his achievement and hard work. “We would like to wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”
Mr Kela is currently doing his Diploma in Environment Studies at SINU, with the same support awarded by CBSP for his outstanding efforts and performance in his certificate program.
His initial plan was to complete his Diploma studies and hopefully return to work for the Tina River Hydropower project, which he believes his community will benefit greatly from in the near future.
“I have already sent my Curriculum Vitae (CV) to the Environmental team of the project and the CBSP team also included my name in their employment data awaiting recruitment. While I wait for an opportunity with the Project, I am currently employed by Gold Ridge Mining Limited (GRML) as Magazine Keeper to gain some work experience,” Kela said.
CBSP is currently sponsoring a total of 49 candidates across SINU and the University of South Pacific (USP). The number is expected to increase in the near future as the program aims to assist more candidates.