HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation

Francis Herman, a native of Rotuma Island, is the Program Manager for the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (Pacmas). Herman visited Rarotonga over Monday and Tuesday of this week as part of his work consulting with Pacific-based communities on funding opportunities available for organisations that may be looking to fund projects in the area of communications and media.
The Cook Islands was Herman’s first port of call on a tour visiting all of the 14 Pacific Forum member countries. Herman is meeting with interested parties within the Pacific to explain what Pacmas is all about and to invite them to take advantage of the funding that is available through Pacmas.
While there is funding available for long term projects over three to four years, the main funding option available through Pacmas is called the Innovation Fund. Herman says the main criteria of the fund is to ensure projects are aligned with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in order to assist Forum member countries to achieve MDGs. Herman commented, “Every quarter we will invite applications for Pacific-based organisations to apply for this funding to do communications stuff. For example, if there was an issue with domestic violence, or in terms of eradication of poverty. [If] they wanted to produce radio, television, newspaper articles in regards to those subjects [then] they could apply to us for assistance to help them develop it.”
Pacmas is funded by the Australian Government’s Development Assistance bureau of AusAid. Herman describes Pacmas as a ten-year project focussed on ‘Communication for Development’ within the Pacific. “[This funding] is about assisting communicators. Not just the media, but non-government organisations, governments, the civil society sector – to make people more aware about what they could do to achieve the MDGs. It’s about pushing the development outcomes of the respective Forum member countries.”
Herman is based in Vanuatu and his visit to Rarotonga was fleeting, however he managed to meet with many key organisations on the island and many members of the community turned up to hear Herman’s presentation. He noted of his time here, “It’s interesting [because] it’s not just the mainstream media. It’s NGOs, it’s education, it’s the churches. That’s what we’re about... We don’t have all the answers, we don’t have all the solutions, but we’d like to think that we could work in partnership with organisations and interests here in the Cook Islands in bringing about more awareness.”
Herman says interested parties can visit the Pacmas web site www.pacmas.org for more information. “This is just the start of what we hope is a ten-year partnership. We look forward to receiving applications from the Cook Islands! The welfare, the livelihood of those of us who live and work in the Pacific is paramount. This project is about assisting the many other initiatives there are in the Pacific to improve our lives and our livelihood.”

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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