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Kiribati Climate Action Network

Commonwealth Point of Light 195. Pelenise Alofa

Pelenise Alofa (Maike Pilitati), representing Kiribati, is one of the foremost advocates for climate action from across the Pacific, who has run the ‘Kiribati Climate Action Network (KiriCAN)’ for over 13 years to help communities respond to climate change and to raise awareness at an international level of the issue.

Pelenise Alofa

Pelenise uses her academic background with the University of the South Pacific to support communities living on the frontline of the climate crisis, including helping develop and build freshwater water tanks and shelters, and providing vocational training to better prepare people for potential migration in response to rising sea levels.

George Edgar OBE, British High Commissioner to Kiribati, said:

“I congratulate Pelenise Alofa on receiving the Commonwealth Points of Light award in recognition of her work to raise awareness of the existential threat that climate change poses to her county, Kiribati. As the world prepares for the international climate conference in Glasgow, activists like Pelenise Alofa and her community partners play a vital role in ensuring that the experience and knowledge of those on the front line of the climate crisis is clearly heard by leaders and decision-makers. I wish her every success.”

Pelenise said:

“Oilei, what a wonderful surprise and honour to be receiving the Point of Light award from Her Majesty the Queen.

“The real heroes of ‘KiriCAN’ and ‘Live and Learn Kiribati’ are the communities who are the HEARTBEAT of this country. It would have not been possible to achieve this award without the great support of co- founders of KiriCAN, Claire Anterea and the late Toanii Benson.

“I also want to share this honour with my mentors from the ‘Live & Learn International’, Pacific Calling Partnership, USP/PACE-SD, Pacific Adventist University, Pacific Islands Association of NGOs, to my pikininis from the Pacific Climate Warriors, Kiribati Health Retreat and Pacific CAN, to my partners in climate change action – Unitarian Universalist Secretariat Committee, CARE, PLAN, OXFAM, Greenpeace, to my Elders the Banaban Elders & Landowners Association, and to the Government of Kiribati and the Kiribati National Experts Group. I thank you all for believing in me and for the support you have tirelessly given me over the years. To families and friends near and far, thank you for loving me and for your help.

“May the joy of this award embrace you and may the God we serve be exalted through our lives as we continue to help improve quality of life for the people of Kiribati, the Pacific and the Global South in the face of climate crisis. I crown you all the Kiribati blessings: Te Mauri, Te Raoi and Te Tabomoa (Good Health, Peace and Prosperity)!”

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The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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