Alana Fiafia Rex

2022 IVLP Impact Award Project: NGO Coalition Building and Progressing Community Prosperity with GovernmentNiue

Alana “Fiafia” Rex is the current president of the NGO Oma Tafua, meaning “to treasure whales” in Niuean, and is a marine affairs and geography graduate from the University of the South Pacific. Fiafia founded the NGO while working as a fisheries officer for the government department of her university, realizing that there was little knowledge about the local whale population, even though they are endangered and highly valued in the Niue economy.

Fiafia contributed to the first genetic match of humpback whales between French Polynesia and Niue. She has extensive experience in both marine and terrestrial research and has worked with National Geographic, New Zealand Geographic, United States Geologic Service and UNDP experts concerning bird and reptile research. Fiafia discovered a rare skink that was thought to be extinct in 2018 and was featured in a UNDP press release. She has recently founded Oma Niue to protect biodiversity preservation on islands. Fiafia is also a volunteer with the community group “Aliutu ma e Atuhau Anoiha” which focuses on disaster risk reduction and climate resilience. Much of their work is for youth empowerment and the integration of local and traditional knowledge for cultural survival. Fiafia is also the director of Niue Entrepreneurial Women, a champion for women's empowerment and prosperity in Niue. 

IVLP Impact Award Project: NGO Coalition Building and Progressing Community Prosperity with Government

The project focused on Niueans living in Niue and New Zealand. There is a disconnect between Niue and the diaspora; about 98% of the population of Niue resides overseas and cultural survival is paramount hence the desire for this project to contribute to building and strengthening relations with those that live abroad. A key objective of the project was to build a network and strengthen relations between the government and the community.

The project began with a symposium where community groups were invited to speak about their organizations and teach attendees what's happening in their community locally and abroad. In an ocean and climate crisis, Fiafia believes that all Niuean people are responsible for cultural survival, especially those that are directly involved in such agencies. The second part of the project was capacity-building workshops about the formalization of NGOs in Niue. This was primarily be held online and in Niue with key government counterparts in attendance. NGOs participated in the workshops, which covered formalizing an NGO, development of a constitution, government expectations and report writing, monitoring and evaluation, and more. Many of the NGOs in Niue lack guidance about the formalities of running an organization. The project aimed to ease the pressure on other less-formalized NGOs and offered support and a network of opportunities to strengthen their organizations.

IVLP Exchange Experience 

Fiafia was a participant in the IVLP Project NGO Management - Joint Project for EAP and SCA, organized by the U.S. Department of State and the Mississippi Consortium for International Development.

Fiafia's exchange experience led to the development of her IVLP Impact Award Project: "IVLP is empowering. My project is inspired by my participation in the IVLP 2021: sharing inter alia experiences, knowledge, lessons learned, innovation and creativity.The IVLP enables, amplifies and reminds us that the rewards of our work is beyond any price tag."

U.S. Communities Visited Virtually

Denver, CO; Washington, DC; San Antonio, TX; Seattle, WA, Madison, WI

Country: Niue

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