© 2008 WAAN AELON IN MAJEL
CANOE BUILDING

This integrated course on canoe construction building is the heart and soul of the program. Trainees receive basic work and life skills in preparation for more advanced skills training, but most importantly they develop an understanding of who they are and the richness of the canoe culture that is their heritage. This integrated course on canoe construction - including canoe model making, canoe sailing skills and canoe maintenance skills development - forms the core of the WAM program. The program caters to 22 students in two intensive 6-month streams, with students graduating with a certificate in Traditional, Vocational, and Life Skills endorsed by the RMI National Training Council (NTC). Program output in trainees could double after expanding the building workspace; the volume of activity is constrained only in the available physical space to accommodate the training streams. Two additional instructors are being trained to expand the capacity of the canoe building courses. WAM is also pursuing the possibility of working in Ebeye, in Kwajelein Atoll, as well as on the outer islands to duplicate the programs’ training output in order to reach more of the youth population.

Trainees in the canoe building program learn skills including knowledge of the different varieties of trees used in building a canoe, safely surveying and cutting senile breadfruit trees donated by local landowners for materials, making ekkwal (coconut-fiber rope) for the lashings, and sailing and maintenance training. Trainees also learn to make to-scale model canoes as a training exercise. This is an option for trainees seeking self-employment opportunities. Nine canoes have been built and maintained by this program including the canoe TAI-MAR, presented by Marshall Islands President Kessai Note to Taiwan R.O.C. President Chen Shui-Bian in 2004 and viewed by over 60,000 people during its all country tour of Taiwan in 2005/2006.