Posts Categorized: Aid & development assistance

Local company works to improve copra quality

By Ishmael Palipal

Officers from KIK and DPI with Tambolema Copra Exporters conducting awareness on the best ways of producing Export Quality Copra in NumaNuma, Wakunai. Photo courtesy of New Dawn FM Officers from KIK and DPI with Tambolema Copra Exporters conducting awareness on the best ways of producing Export Quality Copra in NumaNuma, Wakunai. Photo courtesy of New Dawn FM

Copra is the backbone of many Bougainvilleans, a commodity that has been financing majority of the population that lives along the flatlands, especially the coastlines of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Many of the local farmers, however, have not had the knowledge to properly prepare copra to the quality required for international exports.

To help them achieve that, a local company, Tambolema Copra Exports, has recently been carrying out awareness throughout the region.

The company is the first local copra exporter that is carrying out awareness, workshops and training to the locals, with the aim of organizing and supporting these local suppliers to produce best quality products.

Copra is AROB’s backbone. Pictured are boat loads of copra waiting to be loaded onto a truck. Copra is AROB’s backbone. Pictured are boat loads of copra waiting to be loaded onto a truck.

The company apart from trainings also aims to support improve the local copra dryers, so that high quality can be achieved.

The company support to the locals especially from the Central Bougainville was commended by many locals who were privileged to attend these trainings or workshops that was conducted in partnership with the Department of Primary Industry (DPI) and Kokonas Indastri Koporetion (KIK).

KIK is a regulating body that makes sure exporters maintain top quality and quantity for exporting to overseas buyers. It works in support of Tambolema Copra Exporters in order to help the locals.

Tambolema also is up-skilling the locals because they believe that with the improve quality of dried copra, the quality export overseas will benefit the people and support the economic recovery program of the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

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Healthy communities concept spreads to Atolls

By John Kemaroy

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The Bougainville Healthy Communities Programme is branching out into the Nissan & Atolls districts of Bougainville.

Having operating on the main Islands of Bougainville for nearly a decade, the ABG public health programme is making its way out into the atolls of the region.

Plans are already in place to work with communities in Nissan district to advocate more on communicable diseases, such as Tuberculosis (TB), Malaria & Leprosy, and also current topics in non-communicable diseases, like Lifestyle diseases and more.

With reports of Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB on the island district, it is timely that the health programme is making its way here to help local health facilities advocate more on the fight against the deadly disease. Nissan Island is one of the remaining districts in Bougainville, along with the Mortlock, Nuguria, Fead atolls, that the programme is yet to conduct its community health training programmes in.

 

Based on the Papua New Guinea Healthy Island vision, the Bougainville ‘Healthy Island’ concept has been contextualized to include village governance with primary health care topics in the hope of equipping communities with basic health management knowledge that can improve community welfare, especially relevant in the post-conflict setting of Bougainville.

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With funding and management support from the people of New Zealand, the project humbly kicked off in 2006 to which today the concept has continued to reach over 700+communities and training over 1000+ community health resource personals or village health volunteers (VHV).

The Programme has slowly taken its operations into the ABG Health Department and working on finalizing the whole concept under the autonomous regions’ Department of Health structure. Already 9 of the 33 project staff are been paid under the Department.

The most notable of the programmes achievements is the increase knowledge on health issues, as evident in the referrals system of TB and Leprosy in recent times.

The continued advocacy on village cleanliness and hygiene seeing is village transformation into beautified communities. BHCP village communities have been influentially practicing village cleanliness and sanitary practices as well as promoting good governance.

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Arawa Health Centre receives donation from Australia

By Tevu Tenasi

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As Bougainville continues to rebuild, the Arawa District Health Centre has been fortunate to receive a donation from a Rotary group from Brisbane, Australia.

The delivery included children’s toys and dolls, hospital beds, bed sheets, pillow cases and first aid kits.

792-arawa-health-centreThe donation from Brisbane was arranged by an Australian friend, Mr John Davidson, and reached the shores of Bougainville. During his follow-up visit to Arawa at the start of May he was warmly welcomed by the Health Centre staff.

While Speaking to a group of staff Mr Davidson stated that all the new additions Centre’s itinerary came with the support of the Sunshine Coast Hospital and the Bougainville community in Brisbane.

He said that getting all the items together and bringing them to Bougainville a challenging task but was made easier with the help of Rotary.

792-davidson-vilosiSenior Medical Officer, Dr Joe Vilosi, gratefully thanked Mr John Davidson for his effective arrangement skills.

Dr Vilosi further stated that there is a need to identify what the hospital really needs.

He also thanked the Sunshine Coast Hospital in Australia for the donation.

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Blackville Night fundraising commences on a high

By Pauline Karalus

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High demand has created a shortage of custom designed Bougainville t-shirts in Madang  as the Bougainville Students’ Association commences fundraising for its major cultural show and end of year awareness.

Every year Divine Word University students hold Blackville Night, a major fundraising event to raise funds for their holiday awareness back in Bougainville where they address to secondary school students on issues interconnected with education and showcase potential fields of studies.

During this major event a stage display of the various cultures within the region takes place.

Tickets get sold at a price of K5 each and mostly the sales run out of stock, limited by the venue capacity even though there are people still wanting to buy them

The night feels so alive with the audience cheering out for the ladies swaying their grass skirts to the beat of bamboo bands. The Memorial Auditorium gets packed up to its maximum capacity that most people get turned back from the doorway by ushers.

Towards this major fundraising event, the Divine Word University Bougainville students’ body does small fundraisings to raise funds for preparations towards the major event. One of the common smaller fundraisings is the sales of Bougainville printed t-shirts.

Camry Kili, the current Bougainville Students’ Assocation President hired Fox City Designs based in Madang to come up with a Bougainville print and print a number of plain t-shirts at a fair price.

The whole students’ body here in the campus always crave for Bougainville print shirts.

Upon collection of the shirts from Fox City Designs, Camry Kili took a shot of the shirts and uploaded it on Facebook for friends to see and purchase. The whole purpose of uploading was to advertise the new stock. Within the first ten minutes friends and relatives liked the picture and already there were more than 20 comments asking how much the shirts were for and how many each individual wanted to purchase. People living outside of Madang even commented and asked on how they should purchase some and get them delivered to their destinations.

By the end of the day, he was left with less than 10 shirts in stock. Though the shirts went for a price of K25 each, they were wiped out within a three days sale. Printed shirts came in black, blue and grey colors. A large portion of the customers complimented on how outstanding the print was on the black shirts.

Students are still asking for more Bougainville print t-shirts but there is a holdup waiting for the second lot from Fox City Designs. The first fundraising did commenced on a high note and hopefully Camry gets the second lot of printed t-shirts as soon as possible because the number of customers waiting is high.

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Close call for peace building team at flooded wet crossing

By Eleanor Maineke

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Bougainville’s southern region is connected by the road link that runs from Arawa in Central Bougainville via Panguna and through Bana, Siwai and Buin or via the Arawa-Aropa, Buin, Siwai and Bana route.

The two paths are known for their treacherous wet crossings and are regarded as vital by the population in the South to access most basic services in Arawa and Buka, such as banking facilities.

For public servants, access to Buka is vital to meet with departmental heads in Buka, especially health, education and the House of Assembly for the government in Kubu.

On the 16 of March 2016, the shortest route to Siwai, via Panguna, was blocked at Pikei village of Bana district. The blockade was due to an unsettled case between the law enforcers and a family who lost their son at the hands of the police some months ago.

The case was pending a hearing and it was being prolonged for reasons are unclear. In their frustration the relatives deceased of the deceased hijacked a vehicle belonging to the BABA (Banoni-Baitsi) Council of Elders level of government. The hijack led to the people of Pikei village to block the main highway with the cutting of a huge rain tree that fell across the road.

The blockade greatly affected the public motor vehicle (PMV) services from Siwai to Arawa. The only option left to reach Siwai was via Aropa-Buin highway which is a 3-4 hour drive through a number of wet crossings.

There was an interview consultation scheduled by the Bougainville Peace Building Program (BPBP) in Siwai on the 16 and 17 March, so the team travelled via the Buin route and reached Buin town around 6pm.

Five minutes’ drive away from Buin town towards Siwai, the trip was hindered by the flooded Siripai River. The river runs down from the mountains of Buin and it is the river that was identified as the river to generate hydro-electricity to the southern region of Bougainville, with a baseline study was said to be conducted in 2014.

When the BPBP team travelling to Siwai arrived, there was already a ten-seater landcrusier locked on a rock in the middle of the river. As the driver and the passengers were trying to push the vehicle off the rock, the flood rose with a much stronger current that eventually pulled off the vehicle’s bonnet and turned over the vehicle.

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There was nothing much to be done just to watch the vehicle trapped, overturned by the flood. Vehicles were on both sides stranded by the flood. The PMV’s travelling from Arawa to Siwai waited till the flood went down and crossed the flood at around 10pm.

Due to concerns for the security and safety of the BPBP team, they drove back to Buin town and slept there. That was the safest decision because the Siripai River was just one of the many rivers that laid away in the Buin-Siwai highway.

The accident that occurred on the 16th of March by the nature of Siripai River was not the first in the southern part of Bougainville. Many vehicles and people have been victims of the wet crossings and floods.

The road conditions and the big rivers in the south are significant issues to the people of Bougainville, especially South Bougainville. There is a need for bridges and fixing the road conditions in the area for proper accessibility and for people’s safety and security.

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MPs participate in leadership seminar

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with Bougainville House of Representatives have conducted an induction workshop for elected members of Parliament

The three-day induction seminar, held 30 March – 1 April, was aimed at assisting Members of Parliaments to better understand and more effectively perform their roles. The workshop covered key aspects of Parliament’s work, operational procedures, role of women in leadership and more. MPs also had an opportunity to learn from the experiences from the Australian, New Zealand, and Solomon Island Parliaments.

The Bougainville House of Representatives is a key institution to implement the Bougainville Peace Agreement. The elected parliamentarians, who form the Bougainville House of Representative, play a vital role in decision making under the Autonomous Bougainville Government.  As newly elected representatives, they need to be informed and inducted on various parliamentary processes, procedures and current events to make informed decisions on key governance issues.

The initiative is part of UNDP’s ongoing efforts to support the parliamentary work in Papua New Guinea. It aims to deepen democracy, strengthen the rule of law and promote good governance through effective leadership.

“UNDP is pleased to provide this support and we hope this capacity building workshop will inspire and equip the parliamentarians to do their work effectively as they strive to bring about real and tangible development changes to improve people’s lives”, said Mr. Roy Trivedy, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative.

“The 3 day BHOR induction workshop supported by the UNDP created the platform for our parliamentarians to interact with colleagues from other parliamentary jurisdictions in the region, and to better understand their roles as parliamentarians in providing servant leadership to their constituents. All the sessions were very empowering for our members and will make them better parliamentarians” said Francisca Semoso, Deputy Speaker, Bougainville House of Representatives.

Experiences were shared by experts in different fields from the region. Mark Burton (former New Zealand MP and Minister), Geoffrey Lee (Member of  New South Wales Legislative Assembly in Australia) and Freda Tuki (Minister of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, Solomon Islands) provided a political perspective.

Leslie Gonye (Clerk-Assistant, Table and Sergeant-at-Arms, Legislative Assembly, NSW Parliament, Australia) and Steven Reynolds (Deputy Clerk, Legislative Council, NSW Parliament, Australia) provided their expertise on parliamentary procedure.

Deryck Fritz, a Referendum Consultant, looked at the the processes involved with a successful referendum.

The workshop is part of UNDP’s wider work within UN Peacebuilding Fund to support peaceful implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement. By providing its assistance, in partnership with all other partners, UNDP contributes to building peace and democratic governance critical for the successful achievement of social and economic development in Bougainville and PNG.

Globally UNDP has been working with more than 60 parliaments in an effort to strengthen parliament as an institution of governance. UNDP has been providing technical assistance to parliaments around the world in efforts to build capacity of legislator and technical staff; promote institutional reform; strengthen parliament’s relationship with the executive and judiciary branches of government and civil society; and enhance the effectiveness of women members of parliament and improve their ability to caucus and learn from one another.

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Support facility to improve commodity output

By Ishmael Palipal

People listen to the speeches at the CSF launch ceremony. People listen to the speeches at the CSF launch ceremony.

The Commodity Support Facility, an initiative of the Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand governments, has been launched to help the people of Bougainville make the most of their hard work and abundant natural resources that they are blessed with.

The project aims at driving the economic development forward through supporting the primary producers to boost output, improve quality and gain better market access. It engages the private sector, encourages innovation and will create income earning opportunities for women and young people.

The launch was carried out on Thursday 17 of March at Bel Isi Park in Buka and was attended by President Dr John Momis and some of his cabinet ministers, PNG representative Mr John Avira, Councilor Rob Hilton representing Australian government and New Zealand High Commissioner Ms Cathleen Pias – representing New Zealand government.

Speaking at the event, Mr Rob Hilton indicated that the launch signified the start of one of the biggest agricultural projects in Bougainville.

As it was described during the launching by representatives from the four governments, the first phase of the project will be focused on the Bougainville’s biggest cash crop, cocoa, on which around 90 per cent of the Bougainville’s population depends.

The targeted support through this towards cocoa production is focused on lifting production and quality, and also to secure better market access for sellers. Then in time it will expand to other ABG prioritized sectors such as coconut, palm oil, cattle, fisheries and seaweed farming.

The ABG President, Chief Dr John Momis, stated that cocoa is the first commodity to be affected, but it’s not only cocoa that this project will focus on but other commodities and industries such as tourism. He also assured the people that this will put Bougainville into another stage to move towards a referendum.

Flag raising was conducted to signify the start of the ceremony at Bel Isi Park in Buka. Flag raising was conducted to signify the start of the ceremony at Bel Isi Park in Buka.

The project will be jointly administered by the Bougainville Primary Industry and Marine Resources, which will oversee also quarantine and inspection; ensuring high-quality standards are established and maintained.

The launching of CSF was ended with a signing of agreement between the partners that will ensure that the project is support by all partners to help Bougainville’s future grow.

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Phoebe Koles – a role model for women in business

By Pauline Karalus

Pictured is Phoebe Koles handing over the car key to a Solos couple. With her help the couple managed to have their loan funding approved by NDB. Pictured is Phoebe Koles handing over the car key to a Solos couple. With her help the couple managed to have their loan funding approved by NDB.

Hailing from Haku (Lemanmanu) in North Bougainville and Siwai in the South Bougainville, Phoebe Koles grew up spending most of her childhood days in the northern region. This was her father’s place. Being the first born in a family of four (4), Phoebe had to perform up to expectations her parents had for her.

Phoebe finished her grade 10 at Hutzena High School (upgraded to a secondary school in 1997) and then, being amongst the top students, she was selected to attend Kerevat National High School in the East New Britain Province from 1998 to 1999.

Finishing from high school, she continued onto Commercial Training College where she completed in December 2006 and was recommended by CTC to continue on to a degree at the University of Technology. She wasn’t able to finish her studies because she was expecting her firstborn child. She had to quit studies and get back home until the delivery of her baby, however she didn’t lose the belief in herself to pursue her dreams.

Phoebe gave birth to her first child on the 12 June 2007 at Buka General Hospital. The arrival of the gorgeous baby girl was great delight and joy for the young mother, but quickly had to move back to Lae to be with her husband. Managing a family of her own was somewhat challenging for the young lady but still she strove to build on what she had started with her studies.

In 2009 she started working as a merchandiser with SVS (Super Value Stores) and was promoted to Marketing Secretary from 2010, but unfortunately, a move back to Buka during 2011 made her quit the fine job she had. She didn’t have much choice but to wait in hope of finding a new job as soon as possible as she needed to provide necessities for her family. Buka, at that time, was not a place where there were jobs for her, so she stayed home for a year looking for a new job.

While she waited though she set up a market stall for herself on the road side next to their house where she would sell ice-blocks, spears and betel nut. Whilst marketing, she had her eyes and ears open for job vacancies in regards to her specified field of work.

Luckily, in November 2013, she started working with National Development Bank (NDB) as an Admin Officer. Apparently her efforts put into the field of work she was in charge of had her promoted to Women in Business Officer at Buka Branch in April 2015.

Today, Phoebe Wamo Koles is a remarkable woman with outstanding work in her job and is well known and liked in the region knows her. There are lots of people from all around the region who have come for loans from NDB and with her help have set up businesses.

Being in charge of Women In Business in the National Development Bank she aims to help motivate Bougainvillian women do business rather than putting men as top shots all the time.

She plans on finishing her studies and getting a degree once she feels the time is right for her. She hasn’t ever given up on herself in pursuing her dreams.

For me, she is a great role model for us young Bougainvillian women.

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Big gains possible for Bougainville cocoa farmers

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Bougainville cocoa farmers could comfortably triple their production by using the right planting materials and improving their management practices, according to a leading agribusiness specialist.

Agricultural consultant David Anderson has conducted an Australian Aid funded diagnosis of Bougainville’s cocoa industry, together with the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) Department of Primary Industries, which seeks to boost output and lift quality at every stage of production. He’s been in Bougainville talking to hundreds of cocoa industry stakeholders – from farmers, to nurserymen, fermenters, buyers, exporters and ABG ministers.

The Cocoa Value Chain Diagnosis is part of a wider strategy to improve the productivity and profitability of key agricultural sectors through the K7 million per year Commodity Support Facility (CSF). The CSF will engage the private sector, encourage innovation and create income-earning opportunities for women and young people.

Mr Anderson said there was a range of factors affecting the autonomous region’s cocoa production, including difficulties in accessing quality hybrids, unmet demand for technical assistance and poor management of the cocoa pod borer.

He said if constraints on the industry were addressed, Bougainville cocoa farmers could substantially increase their production.

“I think they can go from about 200-500kg per hectare, to an average of 1500kg per hectare,” Mr Anderson said.

“But the genetic potential of the clones that are being provided to farmers is even higher; up to 2000kg or even 3000kg a hectare.

“With very good agricultural practices, very good post-harvest management, people can produce even six times what they are currently producing today. So there is tremendous opportunity for increasing household income.”

The CSF, which commences operations later this month, is an initiative of the Governance Implementation Fund, chaired by the Autonomous Bougainville and Papua New Guinea Governments, and supported by Australia and New Zealand.

ABG Primary Industries Minister Nicholas Daku said: “As the Minister responsible for the Department of Primary Industry, I am really happy with the work put into strengthening the cocoa value chain in Bougainville.

“The initiative by the ABG, in partnership with the Australian Government, the New Zealand Government and other development partners, will certainly assist many farmers located throughout rural Bougainville.”

The Australian High Commission’s James Marshall said cocoa was a crucial industry for the autonomous region.

“Around two thirds of the people of Bougainville rely on agriculture, particularly cocoa, for their income,” Mr Marshall said.

“So this is an opportunity for a really inclusive and widespread economic development initiative which will put money into people’s pockets.

“It’s also an opportunity, because it is so widespread, for the ABG to raise significant revenue over the long-term.”

Mr Anderson said while Bougainville’s cocoa farmers were struggling, they were well aware of the challenges they faced and how they could begin to address them.

“Everybody seemed to be very knowledgeable and articulate in terms of expressing what their issues were, in relation to improving the cocoa value chain,” he said.

“It was some very good feedback from those people on what the issue are and what some of the solutions might be.”

Prior to the Bougainville Crisis, the now-autonomous region exported about 30,000 tonnes of cocoa – the highest of any Papua New Guinean province. That fell to just a few thousand tonnes during the Crisis.

Production had recovered to about 26,000 tonnes by 2009, when the cocoa pod borer hit the industry driving production down to about 13,000 tonnes today.

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Crowd funding campaign launched for domestic violence safe house

A collective of women in North Bougainville has turned to social media for a crowd funding campaign to continue construction of its organisational headquarters, which also acts as a safe house for women.

When completed the Hako Women’s Resource Centre will be a multifunctional space serving as an office, education centre and safe house for women escaping domestic violence.

The project is an initiative of the Hako Women’s Collective (HWC) which was formed in 2006 by the women of Hako village in the north of Buka Island to address issues related to safety, security and development in the surrounding communities.

The original plan was to build the Resource Centre at Laheitana in Tanamalo village but the organisation was unable to secure the funding that was initially made available. In 2015, a secondary site was found in Ngalkobul village and, after signing the lease, work began to refit the existing building which had been used as a mechanical workshop.

The requirement for a facility such as the Resource Centre was identified nearly a decade earlier. According to the available police statistics the constituency has the highest reported crime rate. According to HWC, this crime can largely be attributed to the lack of government and law & order services, the high rate of early school leavers and teen pregnancy and a mixture of high community expectations and lack of opportunities for young people.

As well as providing a safe house for women, the Resource Centre will provide a place for training and education programs and courses coordinated by HWC and partners, including local schools, churches, health and hospital and sports associations within the Hako Constituency.

It is also expected to eventually operate as a community library with the ability to provide basic administrative services to the community, such as printing and laminating.

The crowd funding campaign can be viewed at: https://www.gofundme.com/6ur2aces

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