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Civil Society Program

TED-Style Talks

Friday, 3 May 2019, 1:30 pm–2:30 pm, Westin Coco Palms

 TED-Style Talks

TED-style talks are short, powerful presentations that focus on topics related to the role of civil society organizations in addressing key development concerns, such as resilience and adaptation to climate change, ending gender-based discrimination, and promoting accountable government institutions, among others.

Myths and Realities of CSOs Promoting Transparent and Accountable Government Institutions

Vinay BhargavaChief Technical Adviser, Partnership for Transparency Fund

The presentation discussed common myths such as CSOs lacking in accountability, governments and CSOs as adversaries, and civic space as unitary, among others. It drew on several studies to present evidence and stories that dispel these myths and highlight the important role of civil society in promoting good governance.

UNBLOCKED: Can blockchain technology improve climate resilience in the Pacific?

Sandra Uwantege HartPacific Cash Transfer and Livelihoods Advisor, Oxfam

Sandra Uwantege Hart is Pacific cash and livelihoods lead for Oxfam, based in Vanuatu. She advises, supports, and leads the portfolio of cash transfer program activities Oxfam is implementing in Vanuatu and across the region. As part of this work, Sandra is the acting program lead at country level for a new Oxfam innovations initiative, the “Oxlabs,” which explore the use and application of blockchains for humanitarian work. Her current work also includes leading a pilot project in Vanuatu that will use a blockchain digital asset platform to deliver quicker, more efficient, and traceable cash transfers to people affected by disasters in Vanuatu and elsewhere. She also advises on a regional tech innovations initiative to scale these approaches across Oxfam's networks in the region, and leads Oxfam in Vanuatu’s ongoing cash transfer emergency response and preparedness projects. Ms. Hart comes from an extensive background with over 9 years of experience in humanitarian response and coordination, having worked in emergency and recovery programs in over 9 countries, including the Pacific (Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea), Asia, the Caribbean, and West Africa. She has a BA in anthropology from Princeton University, and a master’s degree in gender and international development from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.

Delivering aid in the Pacific is costly due to its vast geographical spread, resulting in expensive commodity, logistics, and staff costs. Oxfam aims to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of delivering humanitarian aid in the Pacific, by establishing an innovative and multipurpose cash transfer delivery platform using blockchain technology to improve disaster preparedness.

Creating Awareness and Helping Vulnerable Groups through Community Theater

Michael TaurakotoExecutive Director, Wan Smolbag Fiji

Michael Taurakoto has 16 years of experience in senior management roles in one of the largest and most successful grassroots civil society organizations in the Pacific as well as 5 years of experience in a commercial bank in Vanuatu. Mr. Taurakoto's strengths include leading teams, enhancing teamwork, and engaging effectively with stakeholders from different sectors and backgrounds to achieve set goals.

In the Pacific, community theater is an effective way to inform, raise awareness, and encourage discussions on a range of important issues such as health, governance, and the environment. The NGO, Wan Smolbag, produces theater performances coupled with structured workshops to discuss key development issues. It has also produced films, radio shows, and printed materials, while maintaining a health clinic and a youth center for the community it serves.