High speed internet connectivity is now linking the island nation of Palau to the rest of the world, bringing opportunities for its people, particularly women and girls.
The island nation of Palau is home to one of the few cultures that maintains a matriarchal system.
This is the latest milestone in the North Pacific Regional Connectivity Investment Project, which was launched in 2017.
Koror, Palau — Connecting Lives: Broadening Horizons for Women in Palau
Surrounded by turquoise waters, Palau is a pristine island nation in the North Pacific. Its remote location has been a major obstacle to development.
The arrival of broadband internet connectivity is now bringing Palau closer to the rest of the world. This is inspiring Palau women to seek new opportunities and transform their lives.
Here are some of views from Palau women about impacts of the project to their lives and the island country.
"We need to move away from our status quo and embrace change… It requires women to learn new things, new set of skills (cut..) while holding on to the values that were taught to us," Marcia Inacio, Technology Specialist from the Ministry of Education.
"Let’s not give up dreaming. Since we already get the fiber optic installed – this is a big dream that we have been dreaming and it is happening right now. So, I think I want women to become more industrious about their farms and try to work more with the government to make some kind of programs regarding the market," Julianna Ramarui, taro farmer from Ngchesar State.
"You want to be somebody today, you can be… nobody’s controlling, nobody has the authority only yourself – you have to choose to help yourself in order to accomplish that," Mayleen Ngiriou, Koror Elementary School principal.
"I think that if we have that kind of capacity in Palau, we’ll be able to share information in a much faster rate. I think that people have a much stronger voice in terms of expressing their needs," Edolen Ikerdeu, Chief of Primary and Preventive Diseases, Public Health Office.
"We have a lot of opportunities now. We’re very luck because we have the same opportunities as men, as boys. Palau is the very few cultures that still maintain its traditional matriarchal society. The women appoint the chiefs, because we raised our children, we would know who was raised right. So we should always keep that power – that power is with the Palauan women," Pia Morei Remengesau, Director of Palau National Museum.
ADB and its development partners are helping the Palau government link the North Pacific to the rest of the world. High-speed internet is opening up a wealth of opportunities for the people of Palau, particularly women and girls.