Islands Rural Development Initiative
A combined effort between the Hamakua Institute and the University of Hawaii at Hilo, the Islands Rural Development Initiative (IRDI) aims to establish an undergraduate fellowship program for students at the university who wish to pursue a career in rural development.
Its focus will be on underprivileged communities in coastal regions of the Pacific and Southeast Asia, including the Hamakua Coast on the island of Hawai’i, where the Hamakua Institute is located, and the island of Misima in Papua New Guinea, where the Hamakua Institute has established a partnership with Pelabalaba Capacity Building Services.
Activities will include:
- Establishing a network of people and organizations interested in participating in efforts to develop rural island communities
- Conducting case studies on how change is handled in rural communities with project data shared on a common website
- Performing value chain analysis of key commodities, services and industries suitable for sustainable growth
- Training in new facilitation techniques for organizing partnerships and alliances
- Presentations and workshops to raise awareness about the opportunities and challenges to developing rural areas
- Implementing and evaluating rural development projects and market interventions
- Establishing linkages with other institutions of learning and training in the Pacific and Southeast Asia
Hamakua Institute Fellows
In conjunction with the Islands Rural Development Initiative (IRDI), the Hamakua Institute is pleased to offer fellowships to undergraduate students from rural regions who are studying at the University of Hawaii-Hilo. Fellows will receive hands-on training, enabling them to learn our approach to rural development and make an immediate impact. When the program is fully operational, up to four students will be selected to participate at any given time.
Fellowships will last five years, including one year of field project work after the degree is awarded. Each fellow will participate in an agricultural cooperative with other students to compare farming techniques and agribusiness ideas, and relate them to their own rural communities. They also will participate in the Hamakua Institute’s field projects and research activities to gain practical, rural development experience.