One 120-ft expedition yacht. Two simultaneous projects. 11 outer island villages. Over 30 international volunteers over four months.
2017 was time to expand the platform. The Foundation's medical outreach program, refined further since 2016, was brought to all 11 outer island villages in the Vava'u island group. This led to the training and certification of almost 100 island medics.
At the same time, a Ph.D researcher from Leigh Marine Observatory lived aboard for two months, conducting research on microplastics. Using a custom-built laboratory on board the yacht, she analysed samples collected by volunteers through beach cleanups, surface water trawling, and SCUBA diving.
Our staff and volunteers aboard this expedition undertook a big challenge and we are extremely proud of their dedication to their work.
One trimaran. Four medical staff. 11 crew. 42 days and 500 lives positively impacted. This was the embodiment of the Floating Foundation's second expedition.
After a test run in Hunga village, the Floating Foundation returned to Tonga in 2016 to implement the medical training module developed in 2015. The module was modified and updated by a small team of New Zealand medical lecturers, a pharmacist, and a nurse. This time, however, the project was expanded to include three villages. An 'island medic' was trained at each village, and was subsequently gifted a well-stocked medical kit to assist them in triaging and treating their fellow residents.
The three villages visited by the Foundation were Hunga, Matamaka, and Otea. All three of these villages are a significant boat ride from the main island.
Additionally, a whale behaviour study with the Auckland University of Technology was conducted to test the Foundation's science platform.
In 2015, the Floating Foundation sailed to Tonga to provide remote island communities with medical, educational, and other supplies as well as trial a healthcare training module.
The Foundation collaborated with New Zealand doctors and nurses, a Tonga-based Australian doctor, and a Tongan Public Health Nurse to gain perspective on local healthcare needs.
The aim was to take a community from a position of reliance on distant medical support to a point where they could understand and manage a wide array of medical incidents. This means that cases that would historically require a four-hour boat ride for basic assistance can now be dealt with by the community. The training administered included first-aid, wound care, caring for the sick advice, and hygiene education.
The Floating Foundation arrived in Tonga with an assortment of medical and first-aid equipment, which was used to train four women in Hunga village. The project proved to be both successful and scalable and was repeated on a larger scale in 2016.