Friends of Utah: Josephine Kaola

Ms. Josephine Kaola is a social worker by profession and currently serves as a Project Coordinator at HOPE Worldwide Papua New Guinea, a faith-based organization providing health-related programs. Ms. Kaola’s role as the coordinator for the Kisim Save na Helpim Hauslin Project (Acquire knowledge and impart it to your community) is to identify and address the barriers that hinder people from access to health services and helps build the capacity for community-based organizations to address these needs.

Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy Papua New GuineaJosephine at HOPE Worldwide's first fundraising event, July 2019

Returning from her visit in April 2019 administered by Meridian International Center, Ms. Kaola wasted no time galvanizing her Papua New Guinean constituents by being an advocate for volunteerism in the non-profit sector. Her time in Utah revolved around themes such as community development, service/volunteerism, leadership skills, and fundraising. One such organization, OgdenCAN (Civic Action Network) facilitates collaboration and local partnerships in health, education, and housing to improve the welfare of some of Utah’s vibrant communities. This was one of several key venues that “inspired and challenged” Ms. Kaola to advocate for volunteerism back home, be it through social media, one-on-one conversations, and, most importantly, her actions.

OgdenCAN NGO UTah Council for Citizen DiplomacyOgdenCAN presentation on NGO Management

Ms. Kaola additionally shared the motto of her voluntary leadership seminar project which, she reports, “will highlight the role of the non-profit sector.” This theme of “Giving Back to our Communities” is accompanied by plans to initiate a seminar project, the focus of which will promote volunteerism through service opportunities in the community while emphasizing the role of leadership. Throughout her testimonial, Ms. Kaola lauded the “importance of voluntary work to target passionate volunteers.” This invigorating spirit is exemplified in her own initiative via fundraising events in Papua New Guinea which have most notably included younger members of the community, including her son.

Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy Papua New GuineaJosephine with her son at the fundraising event

She closes by relating her appreciation for how deeply Americans value volunteerism and wanted to instill this same veneration in her communities in Papua New Guinea. Ms. Kaola strongly reinforced the credence that “everyone wants to give something back to the community”, whether they are children, university students, or adults. Ms. Kaola’s aspirations congregate around the “confident and strong belief that after…this seminar, [she] will definitely change a lot of people’s mindsets”, similar to her life-altering experience in the International Visitor Leadership Program.