Breaking cultural and social boundaries

Naomi Jackson Druma originally from Lawaki in Kadavu, was born and raised in Lautoka in a family of three, being the youngest of the family Naomi has always wanted to be a mentor and a leader.

“My family was the greatest influence in my career choice. My father encouraged me to venture into the ICT field which led to pursuing my bachelor’s degree in computer science in India”.

Naomi started with the Pacific Community (SPC) at the time it was SOPAC in 2009 as an intern programmer with the Information Communications and Technology Department (ICT), and over the course of two years was given the opportunity to join the Geospatial programme. Combining her ICT experience with Geographical Information Systems (GIS), allowing her to grow in researching GIS tools, Remote Sensing (RS) applications and Global Positioning Services (GPS).

Naomi’s work helps us understand the Pacific Ocean and the risk it poses to communities. Her work has helped in the development of a wave model that forecasts when large waves are expected to hit coastal communities. We can’t stop the waves but with the science and technology developed with the support of Naomi, we can make sure the communities know they are coming so they can move to higher ground.

The experiences gained over 6 years serving as an ICT personnel and GIS/RS project assistant gave her the confidence to further her career in Ocean Science.

Being in a field known to be dominated by men, Naomi carries the qualities of a strong leader, coordinating field surveys and data analysis for SPC and the wider Pacific Community.

“As an I-taukei young woman we are expected to be led and not lead.”

“I believe to succeed in my field of work you must step out of your comfort zone, and do things beyond the normal, breaking cultural and social boundaries.”

For young women in science, it is knowing when to fit in and gaining the respect and trust of fellow colleagues. It’s not a competition but working smart to be able to deliver results.

“Its and honour to be recognised on International Women’s Day, I will always strive to inspire young women leaders in the science field. To every aspiring young woman out there be brave and trust in yourself, fight through the challenges with confidence and perseverance.”

Naomi now holds the position of Survey Team Leader/Senior Technical Officer, Oceanography in the Geoscience Energy and Maritime Division (GEM) for the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI), a World Bank funded project implemented by SPC.

This article was first posted on Pacific Community Blog

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