Freelance Community Development Consultant, Lae City, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea
Master of Public Health with Honours (Second Class, First Division)
She chose to study public health to address health issues from a broader perspective, says Zuabe Tinning who came to AUT as an international student from Papua New Guinea after working as a nurse and midwife at a community clinic in her home country.
“Health isn’t just about the physical body but also about psychological, social, economic and spiritual factors anyone working at the forefront of health services should take into consideration. Physical health issues are actually an end product of what is happening in the psychological, social, economic and spiritual.
“If health practitioners and development practitioners can address the overall situation, then physical health issues may be prevented. For example, family economic crises can lead to family sexual violence thus incurring serious injuries to the survivor of intimate partner violence. If one family member can be assisted to earn some form of income to support their family, the issue of family violence can be prevented.”
To get a broader understanding of health and the other factors that may affect it, Zuabe enrolled in AUT’s Master of Public Health, a qualification she completed in 2014.
“When I was browsing the AUT website, I learned about the Master of Public Health and realised that its courses contain community health development concepts, including bits on policy and implementation, which was a topic I was specifically interested in. I therefore applied for this programme and was privileged to be accepted to study at AUT.”
The right choice
It’s a decision she didn’t regret, and throughout her time at AUT Zuabe had a number of highlights.
“I especially enjoyed participating in the activities for postgraduate students, including camping out to concentrate on study and writing your thesis. Students were also given opportunities to share their research projects and their diverse cultures with each other, which was a bonus for me. I learned a lot about other Pacific Island countries that have similar development issues as Papua New Guinea.
“A significant event for me was representing AUT together with two other Pacific students at the Pacific Colloquium at Waikato University. The conference challenged us to connect our postgraduate study research topics to climate change, and give a six-minute presentation to an audience. I was proud to win the award for third prize for my presentation.”
Zuabe says she thoroughly enjoyed the study environment, the lecturers and the support services AUT had to offer, and eventually hopes to return to AUT to do a PhD.
“AUT is at heart of my decision to pursue a PhD. I trust the supporting services provided and the brilliant lecturers who instil wisdom and guidance, and help bring out each student’s unique potential of brilliancy. I’m one proud graduate of AUT, and am always boasting about AUT and about how it creates graduates who go out into the world with boldness and share the knowledge they’ve gained to improve their community, environment and the people they live with.”
Making an impact
Since graduating from AUT, Zuabe is now back in Papua New Guinea where she is working as a freelance community development consultant in Lae City, a booming mining town and the country’s second largest industrial city.
“I’m involved in a variety of activities related to public health. I assist in research, policy and strategic plan development, conduct training on gender equality and male advocacy for behaviour change, conduct leadership training with men and women, run events, support SME setups, formalise and register community groups or businesses, propose projects for organisations, and provide stakeholder engagement support for international consultants.
“I’ve also facilitated the formation and registration of two significant organisations in my country, the Human Rights Defenders Association of PNG and Komba Amban Cooperative Society for the socioeconomic empowerment of rural women coffee farmers. In 2020, I represented my province in the UN Civil Society Reference Group and I have represented the East Sepik, East New Britain and Morobe Provinces in the National GBV Committee, which was chaired by Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister. In the 2022 election, I also contested the Provincial Governor Seat for Morobe Province.”
While she has been enjoying working for herself for the last few years, Zuabe says she is looking forward to working with the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) as a contracted consultant to manage a number of research projects in three provinces, as well as running seminars to help reduce community and election-related violence in Papua New Guinea.