Funafuti Islands (motu)


This island is about 1 kilometer long and a maximum 200 meters wide. Being the home of the Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute (TMTI), it has very favourable conditions; an independent power supply of that on Fogafale, telephone communications, daily access to the facilities on Fongafale, and a pleasant well vegetated setting. However, as with Fogafale, there is water rationing at times. The maximum population is about 65.

Tuvaluan men are trained at the TMTI to become merchant seamen, to enable them to seek employment aboard foreign vessels. The school opened in 1979. Money sent home by seamen is a major source of revenue for Tuvalu. Approximately 43% of the male population of working age in Tuvalu are employed as seafarers.

There are approximately 12 TMTI professional and support staff plus family members. The Institute accomodates up to 40 trainees per session, which lasts about 12 months.

The oldest building in Tuvalu is on Amatuku, a thatched roof house with original coral rock walls. It was built in 1904 by the London Missionary Society as a school, and now is a heritage site.

Construction of a renewable energy project began in early 2007 on Amatuku. It was instigated by Alofa Tuvalu, a French/Tuvaluan Non-Government Organization (NGO). Biogas digester units were to be installed, using human and pig waste to great power. Further plans include copra biodiesel, gasification from organic waste, a small windmill, thermal solar, PV systems, solar streetlights and compost toilets.

Funafuti mapAmatuku
Installing biodigesters. (c) Christopher Horner, 2007
Amatuku, Tuvalu
Swimming off Amatuku, 2007. (c) Lomi Paeniu

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