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Micronesian Voices in Hawai‘i
3-4 April 2008

 

“Micronesian Voices in Hawai‘i” Conference
Recommendations from Individual Breakout Groups

Strengthening Community Group

  1. Establish a centralized physical place for better dissemination of information, resources,     material, etc., a sort of one-stop shop of knowledge, including a staff person for Micronesians.
  2. Develop a database for funding sources.
  3. Improve networking and collaboration between all stakeholders.
  4. Standardize orientation pieces with consistency of information and messaging.
  5. Build on the culture and awareness, using ongoing programs as well as the Cultural Festival (eg, Micronesian Day).
  6. Continue the Micronesian Cultural Awareness Project (MCAP), and also educate immigrants.
  7. Establish more programs targeting youth, including programs that incorporate elders as cultural teachers.
  8. Increase state funding for childhood development programs to prepare for school.

Increasing Effective Communication Group

  1. Hawai‘i state service providers need good, clear, consistent information on what programs and services are available to Micronesians (eg, Department of Human Services).
  2. To better reach Micronesian community, stakeholders should use all channels available: media, such as radio and Internet, as well as church groups and Micronesian representative groups—Micronesians United (MU), Micronesian Community Network (MCN), Nations of Micronesia (NOM), etc.).
  3. Engage more with churches, and encourage churches to network more.
  4. All stakeholder organizations/groups should have an identified spokesperson or contact person.
  5. Home governments—Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI)—must explore ways to better orient and prepare migrants prior to their departure from Micronesia.
  6. Develop an information directory or handbook, as well as a website, that lists all key stakeholders and organizations and their contact information. The conference participants' list can be the starting point for the directory and website, and UHM Center for Pacific Islands Studies can take the lead on this. It can also be incorporated into the Office of the Attorney General’s and Office of Community Service and Nations of Micronesia orientation booklet.
  7. Establish a centralized physical place for better dissemination of information, resources, material, etc, a sort of one-stop shop of for Micronesians, including a staff person. Consulate offices could take the lead on this.
  8. Micronesian representative organizations (MU, MCN, NOM, etc.) should continue to build capacity and improve their networking (more frequent meetings, etc.)
  9. Establish a larger pool of qualified, certified, readily available interpreters in all major Micronesian languages

Building Programs in Education Group

  1. Establish one-stop-shop center for information back in the Islands.
  2. Micronesian Community Network (MCN), Micronesians United (MU), and Micronesian Cultural Awareness Project (MCAP) to partner with island governments to educate Micronesians prior to arriving in Hawai‘i.
  3. Educate parents, and conduct parenting workshops.
  4. Educate educators about Micronesian cultures (eg, MCAP).
  5. Appropriate funds for a yearly conference similar to this one.
  6. Reinstate in-state tuition for Pacific Islanders at the University of Hawai‘i.

Building Programs in Health Group

  1. Improve access to translation services.
  2. Recruit more Micronesians for health-related fields.
  3. Provide assistance for RNs and other health workers who were licensed in Micronesia to gain licensing in Hawai‘i (bridging programs).
  4. Screen people for illnesses before they depart from Micronesia.
  5. Hawai‘i state government can work with Freely Associated States (FAS) governments to simplify and translate application forms for various programs and services.
  6. Expand low cost housing, because housing is a health issue.
  7. Reach out to Neighbor Islands with assistance in cultural awareness.
  8. Ensure an accurate census of Micronesian communities in Hawai`i.

Educating about Rights and Responsibilities Group

  1. Continue dialogue and partnerships between community leaders and service providers on the issues.
  2. Engage in government-to-government partnership at the federal, state, and local levels to improve communication and collaboration.
  3. Establish a physical and digital (website/online database) one-stop shop.
  4. Recruit Micronesians into Hawai‘i police and other service areas that interface directly with Micronesians.
  5. Continued education for Micronesians on housing, employment, and guardianship policies and other regulations that impact human rights in Hawai`i.
  6. Educate Micronesian families on children’s rights.
  7. Educate state service providers on Micronesian cultures and rights afforded under the Compacts.
  8. Include Micronesians in decision-making in all matters pertaining to their welfare.
  9. Provide education on rights and responsibilities before and after arrival in Hawai‘i.
  10. Utilize and strengthen existing partnerships between universities in Hawai‘i and in Micronesia to accomplish these goals.

(These breakout group recommendations, which were the result of discussions involving conference speakers and audience members, resulted in eight overarching policy recommendations. For more information on the conference, call the UHM Center for Pacific Islands Studies at 956-7700, or e-mail cpis@hawaii.edu.)

29 April 2008