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Chuuk Womens Council PreConference at the Truk Stop HotelOn September 15th and 16th more than 150 women gathered from throughout the 5 regions of Chuuk, at the Truk Stop Hotel Conference Facility to participate in the CWC preconference to the FSM Women’s Conference that will take place in Pohnpei, in October 2014. The theme of this year’s conference was “Love of Family: Building Familial Relationship, Improving Health, Sustaining the Environment, and Strengthening Cultural Traditions for a Brighter Chuuk” (Translated: “TongenInepwineu” ApechekunenNefinenFamili: FeffeitanPechekunenAramas, SoposopoloonTumununLonomechunFonuwach Me Setich Me Apechekunen Ach KeweEereni, Ren SaramenLesor Me Pennon).

Kiki Stinnett presented the top five priority topics, which were identified in a community consultation program, which covered the 5 regions of Chuuk State and was funded by ADB through the Japan Special Fund. These topics include Social Services, Income, Education, Health and Infrastructure. The women were highly enthusiastic and engaged in learning about the key topics from the many knowledgeable presenters.

Our keynote speaker was Tanseny Reynold who offers a wealth of experience in women’s leadership. She is a CWC advisor, was the first Chuuk State Women’s Interest Officer (8 years), and is the principal of Nukuno Christian High School, Tonowas. The basis of her presentation came from the inspiring words of Proverbs 14:1.

Education presenters focused on the promoting of literacy and engaging parents and the community in education. Presenters included Evelyn Joseph, PREL, Gardenia A. Macayaon, Executive Director DOE, Bersita Elimo, First Lady, Chief of Administration and Personnel DOE, and Aileen O’toko, Chief of Planning and Development DOE.

Health presenters discussed cultural values and innovations in promoting primary care, healthy lifestyle and tobacco-free homes for healthier communities. Special attention was also focused on maternal health, and the legal age of consent from a health standpoint. Presenters included Dr. Sylvia Wally, Psychiatrist, Eleanor Setik, RN/NP, Acting Chief Public Health, Dr. Rita Mori, OB/GYN and Rev. Steiochy Manuel.

Presentations on socio-economic issues and their impact on the environment were done by Bradford Mori, EPA Focal Point for Climate Change, and Ketsen Haregaichig, Small Business Development. A special thanks as well to Jacinta Lippwe, Counselor for SAMH for translating, Mary Rose Nakayama and Sirene Killion for facilitating and Nely M. Ruben for her role as MC.

There was no lack of laughter and joy as women had opportunities to share dances and songs with the group as well as a fashion show demonstrating the success of the CWC & CRE sewing mission project. During working group sessions, the women came up with many ideas for implementing the information presented. Overall, the conference was an exciting time of encouragement, networking, and learning. More details on the outcome of our conference will be shared at the 2014 FSM Women’s Conference in Pohnpei.