Last month our country hosted a first-of-its-kind 3-day Women Symposium by PASAI for current and emerging female leaders across the Pacific Island Region.

The event included a list of local and international speakers who shared their insightful experiences and wisdom. Among them was our Performance and Environmental Audits Director, Ms. Oceanbaby Penitito, who spoke on our role in promoting good governance and integrity in the Public Service.

Over the three-day event, the participants (including emerging female leaders from Pacific Island audit offices, local and regional stakeholders, development partners, and even top accounting students from selected secondary schools) heard from PASAI staff and the symposium speakers on topics like sustainable audit practices, quality management, and gender policies. 

The aim of the symposium was to allow for peer-to-peer learning from the experience and good practices of other countries, and discussions on enhancing effective cooperation in the region to promote good governance and integrity in the public sector. 

Oceanbaby's presentation detailed the SAO message on good governance, our integrity initiatives, and our goal for our audit products to achieve their highest positive impact: the power and ability to enable the improvement of the quality of life of our people. After the symposium, she reflected on the opportunity to inform and educate participants and the public more on our audit processes. Oceanbaby also described her renewed sense of purpose and encouragement that came from knowing her experience as a woman in her role and office was a shared one.

Oceanbaby was also a member of the pioneering cohort of SAI Young Leaders (SYL), an INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) programme for growing strong leaders. In attendance also was another Pasefika SYL graduate, Ms. Maritina Iloi Cirikisuva from SAI Fiji. She and Oceanbaby shared their experiences on their journey to becoming senior SAI representatives with the IDI SYL programme here: https://ecs.page.link/isS1Z

Other invited speakers touched on topics that resounded with the participants, on their experiences as women auditors, employees, leaders, and in positions of governance. They challenged the female participants to grow in confidence, persist in adversity, and to be inclusive and support each other.

Our female staff also reflected on the impact of the symposium and its importance, especially as a predominantly female-staffed Office. The symposium proved a success and boosted morale and motivation after hearing from successful and powerful women in our industry, in public service, and in positions of governance.

We commend PASAI for this impactful initiative, and acknowledge their supporting partners, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the collaboration of the Bank of the South Pacific Samoa and TAUTAI Governance for Economic Growth.

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