Kiribati’s Young Champion of the Earth
Commonwealth Point of Light 67. Eritai Kateibwi
Eritai Kateibwi, representing Kiribati, has the ambitious goal of getting every family in Kiribati to grow their own plants and vegetables by using mineral rich water rather than soil.
After reading about the hydroponic technique while studying in America, Eritai decided to share this cutting-edge method with his local community so that they could grow healthy, cheap and sustainable food. His project relies on Kiribati’s abundant sunshine but uses only 10 per cent of the water of traditional crops. Eritai’s recently won the UN’s ‘Young Champions of the Earth’ competition for young environmentalists, winning $10,000 to upscale his sustainable food project. His aim is that this locally grown and nutritious food will reduce diabetes and malnutrition while providing entrepreneurial opportunities.
Melanie Hopkins, British High Commissioner to Fiji and Head of the South Pacific Network, said:
“Eritai has a great background combining community work with the environment. He is an ambitious young man offering solutions to the serious topical issues surrounding our region, climate change and the rise in non-communicable diseases. He is well deserving of the award.”
“I am honoured to receive this award on behalf of my team. We do what we do because we love our people and land. They are an inspiration to our works that enable us to go beyond our comfort zone. We may not able to solve every problem – but I am doing what I can to help solve what I see as one of the biggest problems of our time for our nation.”
Pictured: Eritai with Deputy High Commissioner Dave Jones on receiving his award