Posts Categorized: Media & internet

Arawa hospital raises standards with tablet technology

By Tevu Tenasi

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It has been three months since a visitation at Arawa Hospital by National Department of Health representatives who offered a new approach in monthly reports.

In September the Arawa Hospital staff were grateful to be among the selected provinces in Papua New Guinea included in a pilot program that involves usage of modern technology to fast track health facility monthly reports.

693-arawa-tabletThe usage of tablet or phone to enter all monthly data at the end of every month is now another milestone achieved.

The tablet has an installed application that allows sectional heads to enter data in each respective section, much the same as what is in the National Health Information Sheet (NHIS).

A NHIS is a standard form filled by every health facility at the end of every month and then sent to Provincial Information Officer or directly to Health Department in Port Moresby.

The tablet has all other application locked preventing users from misuse with an anti-theft programme installed which makes it easier to track if it is stolen.

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Acting Director Nursing Services in Arawa Hospital Mr Iggy Shirau Giranah stated that with the Sectional Heads being trained, Arawa Hospital has moved another step further.

“Please ensure that all monthly reports be entered into the tablet by the first week of every month,” Mr Iggy Giranah said.

District Health Officer incharge, Mr Peter Arwin, also encouraged the usage of manual reporting forms to be completed on time.

“We are so privileged to have such a useful tool especially with facility level on this transitional phase to become a referral hospital,” Mr Arwin said.

“To my staff: Please get to know how to use this tool because it will be helpful.”

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The man behind the Bougainville Bulletin

592-tommy-alasiaBy Leonard Fong Roka

With social, economic and political changes ever blustering across the region, the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) strives to keep pace with the rhythm of society and its citizens.

In post-crisis Bougainville the ABG must to maintain and nurture a cordial relationship with its people in an effort to affect peace building, unity and development.

The government must also attain a pacified political conversation on the troubled island through information provision and dredging.

There are people who dedicate their lives to play the part of wheels driving the government’s strategies and policies of change through the various ABG mechanisms like the ABG Bureau of Media & Communications.

One such ABG officer is the Panguna man, Tommy Alasia, Communication Officer of ABG print media paper the Bougainville Bulletin.

Mr Alasia oversees the collection of news, the publication and distribution of the paper that is freely disseminated across the island.

Born in March of 1988, with the sparks of the Bougainville Crisis sprouting high, Tommy Alasia grew up in his single mother’s care and love around the many places of the Kieta District and the Solomon Islands, where his mother travelled in response to the decade long civil conflict and PNG blockade of the island through the 1990s.

In 1992 Tommy Alasia was swept across the PNG-Solomon border for medication in Honiara and then, his health restored from paralysis, he began his primary schooling in Honiara.

With the peace process gaining momentum in Bougainville his mother brought him home in 1998 and in 1999 he began Grade 4 at school in Arawa.

He made his way through the education system until he entered the University of Papua New Guinea in 2009 and graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor Degree in Arts & Communications.

Soon after, seeing all the riches the PNG LNG project could offer, the young Bougainvillean was swept into the highlands of PNG in 2013 where he served the LNG project’s Community Affairs Department overseeing the stakeholder engagement office.

But home-sweet-home, Bougainville, was at the heart of this crisis child.

“For me there was no satisfaction of serving in these strange places, Bougainville was always calling somewhere in my heart for me to come home,” Mr Alasia said.

“This is something about most of us Bougainvilleans who had grown up during the 10-year civil conflict; we turn to think more about our beloved trouble torn island; there is satisfaction serving here.”

With that desire burning inside, he resigned in March 2014 from the PNG LNG Project and left for Bougainville and by August he entered his current ABG position running the Bougainville Bulletin news project.

“The Bougainville Bulletin was older than me,” he revealed, “it was in existence before, but under other names.”

“Such a medium was present as ABG was eager to bridge the information gap within Bougainville, where we see that our entire population seemed uninformed or unaware of what the government does and vice versa.

“I feel that such an issue of information gap is being filled in by Bougainville Bulletin.”

According to Alasia, the ABG made all attempts to promote the paper and it was not until third edition that his team spotted public acceptance.

“All editions had 20 thousand copies each,” he said, “so my team—including myself as the leader—toured Bougainville distributing the newspaper in about 12 days.”

“The west coast of Bougainville was missed in the early editions, but the third edition was the icebreaker into the area.

“I toured with about 800 copies of this ABG newspaper for Kunua, Kereaka, Torokina and Koiare and all the hinterland areas of those places.”

The people of Torokina were delighted when they received copies of the Bougainville Bulletin.
The people of Torokina were delighted when they received copies of the Bougainville Bulletin.

To Mr Alasia his distribution tours are actually bringing the ABG to the people who have long been neglected; with this free ABG newspaper, the government is visiting the people and creating its licence to operate in their midst.

“People we meet and hand them the newspaper are too proud to see one such newspaper,” Alasia said.

“Most of our people along the west coast had hardly seen a newspaper.

“They get so excited and had told us that they would be reading them all round till we bring them the next edition.”

But the ABG is not only paving its way into the hearts and minds of Bougainvilleans n the 43 Council of Elders (CoE)and the over 300 Village Assemblies (VA) they are touring, for the Bougainville Bulletin leader, Mr. Tommy Alasia, is crossing the Bougainville-Solomon border also with his papers.

Tommy Alasia is focused and determined that the ABG’s Bougainville Bulletin that features Bougainville general news, ABG updates, even major issues like the 2015 Bougainville General Election, issues on community and culture, various ABG departmental updates, various Bougainvillean districts updates and Bougainville sports be brought right throughout Bougainville and the areas that the issues affect.

Thus the fourth edition of the ABG newspaper, besides being made available online as a PDF edition, has reached out into the Bougainville’s sister islands of Shortland in the Solomon Islands.

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Cell coverage comes to South Nasioi as dispute is resolved

By Gideon Davika

The South Nasioi Constituency in Kieta District was one of the areas in Bougainville that did not receive cellular coverage when the Digicel network arrived on Bougainville.

For the past few years the company has attempted to put up towers in the area, but disputes over land among landowners led to repeated vandalism and destruction of the infrastructure.

Mid-last year the company conducted proper research and negotiations with the landowners. As a result they were finally able to establish three towers on high ground to bring coverage to the region.

The three towers were launched at the beginning of this year and now South Nasioi receives full network coverage and the community is enjoying the benefits.

One older person, Thomas Dikaung, said that now he can talk to his son, who is based in Rabaul. For years, with no network coverage, he spent what little money he had to pay a bus fare to go to town in order to talk to his son.

Now the people of South Nasioi have seen the importance of communication and they are protecting the towers from getting destroyed by a handful of lawbreakers.

Local village magistrates and chiefs held a meeting and came up with an agreement that anyone reported vandalising the towers will be handed over to the police.

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Contemporary topics present in old Arawa Bulletin issue

568-arawa-bulletin-march-1973As the revived Arawa Bulletin continues to deliver news to the people of Bougainville, an archived issue of the magazine from 1973 reveals similar issues were big news at the time.

Issue No.29 of the Arawa Bulletin, published on 2 March 1973, features a news item with President Momis.

At that time Momis was the Bougainville Regional Member of the House of Assembly, the legislature of Papua New Guinea under the Australian administration of the pre-independence era.

“The people of Bougainville must define their goals and how to achieve them before deciding on their political future,” Momis told the Arawa Bulletin  in 1973.

“Three of the Bougainville MHA’s (Lapun, Bele and Momis) have never said we do not want a referendum (on succession). I believe it is the right of the people to decide their own future.

“Any referendum must allow for three-way discussions between the Australian and Papua New Guinea governments and the Bougainville people.”

The original Arawa Bulletin was a monthly magazine initiated by expatriates that began publication in the early 1970s and continued until the 1990 when the Bougainville Crisis forced its closure.

The periodical provided local news, features, opinion pieces, information on local events and was made possible by advertising from local businesses.

In 2013 a collective of Bougainvilleans, including Romulus Masiu of the Post Courier, decided to relaunch the Bulletin to once again deliver information on the local happenings in central Bougainville.

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AROB’s legacy of media transparency

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Radio Bougainville was the eighth broadcasting station built by the Australian Administration in Papua New Guinea and was launched on 20 April 1968 following some weeks of testing.

The station, which later became part of the National Broadcasting Corporation, programmed news, music and information for its listeners.

It aimed to inform the people of activities the government was undertaking and was an important source of information for people across the region.

The station was officially opened by Assistant Administrator Les Johnson, who later became the last Australian Administrator of Papua New Guinea before independence.

Keith Jackson, station manager at Radio Bougainville from 1970 to 1973, says perceptions of the station by the local people changed greatly during his time there.

“Bougainvilleans are great people and even back then were very tuned in to current affairs,” Jackson said.

“Initially the people around Kieta wouldn’t let their young people join the radio station, because it was seen, and rightly so, as a propaganda machine for the Administration.

“We started to take their views into account and broadcast programs and news that provided a balanced view of what was going on.

“Later we successfully recruited announcing staff from central Bougainville – I remember that Perpetua (Pepi) Tanaku was the first to join the station and she was a very popular personality.”

The station increased its broadcasting hours greatly, diversified its programming, sent recording patrols into the bush and saw its audience growing rapidly.

“We opened the station up to let people air their views and the response was overwhelming,” Jackson said.

“The news was straight down the middle, but our current affairs and audience participation programs offered a variety of views.

“On one program, Kibung bilong wirelesss, we would use material from cassette tapes people would send us as well as broadcasting their letters.

“At one point we were getting over 1,000 letters a month from listeners, often on political and social issues.”

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One of the announcers who worked at Radio Bougainville at that time, Sam Bena (pictured, top left) is still on air as a member of the team at New Dawn FM. He has been involved in broadcasting as an announcer for more than 45 years

Radio Bougainville initially broadcast for 21 hour a week, which within three years had increased to 81 hours a week.

The station provided features on education, council news, health, agriculture and political education. Through Toktok Save vital local information was provided such as weather forecasts, copra and cocoa prices, land for lease and information that people wanted to communicate with each other.

Music was also an important part of the Radio Bougainville’s content and programs included Bougainville traditional music, string bands, hymn & choral requests, listeners’ requests, South Seas music, march with the band, latest releases and plenty of country music.

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Reborn Arawa Bulletin gathers pace

538-arawa-bulletin-issue-6-coverBy Ishmael Palipal

The Arawa Bulletin, a monthly magazine designed and produced entirely in Arawa Town of central Bougainville, has just recently published its 6th issue.

The most recent issue, entitled Bougainville’s March towards Referendum, is reflective and outlines some of the important events that took place last year in central Bougainville.

Two of the main events covered are the Aropa Airport re-opening and the Bougainville’s new ship MV Chebu. The middle page is colored with a pictorial of PNG Games in Lae, in which Team AROB placed fourth overall.

The name Arawa Bulletin came from the newsletter that was produced and published in Arawa before the Bougainville Crisis. Recently, with the collective ideas of some local journalists and interested Bougainvilleans, they revived the idea, which is now produced as a magazine.

The revived newsletter started in December 2013 under the leadership of Jacob Ienu and Lawrence Itta and the sold the first issue for K5 on the streets of Arawa. The inaugural issue was said to have sold far faster than expected.

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The monthly newsletter, which is now selling for K10, features stories from around Arawa and central Bougainville, covering issues from the community and government.

According to Mr Jacob Ienu, the magazine still has a long way to go and they are working hard to secure funding.

“We just work from our own pockets to make sure that our people are updated of what is going on around them through this newsletter,” Mr Ienu said.

“We are hoping that one day, with help from some good people or the government, we will become well established and continue to update our people what’s going on.”

The funding that they are using currently to publish comes from advertisement space purchased inside the newsletter by local companies and business houses in Arawa.

Their main aim is to help in voicing Bougainvillean views and keep the people updated on what is happening around them.

Issue 7 of the Arawa Bulletin is currently being readied for print with news and updates of January and February.

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Locals contracted to transport Digicel tower materials

By Gideon Davika

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Digicel is the biggest cellular phone network in Bougainville and now reaches the rural areas of the island, even providing coverage to those areas where there is no road.

The transportation of towers across the whole of Papua New Guinea is the responsibility of Mirikini Construction but in Bougainville the transportation of towers being carried out by sub-contractors under the care of Emil Roy and Manasseh Davika.

They use various modes of transportation to deliver the towers to different locations across the three regions of Bougainville.

To areas where there is no road, especially to the mountain tops, helicopters are used to transport the construction materials.

Trucks, such as crane trucks, flattops and ten cubic metre dump trucks, are used in places where there is suitable road connection.

At times the weather conditions makes transportation very difficult, especially during the rainy season when flooding rivers block trucks from crossing.

The poor condition of the roads is another factor which causes problems when transporting towers by trucks. Sometimes trucks get stuck in the mud and the workers spend hours struggling to pull them out.

Foggy conditions in the mountains can make it very tricky for helicopters to land to deliver their load.

The contractors work tirelessly day and night to make sure that they transport their cargo according to the schedule.

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Joint project brings bibles to Konnou constituency

By Veronica Hannette

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Bougainville Police Service has combined with Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) Health Minister, Mrs Rose Pihei, to stabilize law and order in the South Bougainville, particularly the Konnou Constituency of Buin.

The Konnou crisis was an internal conflict which erupted in 2006 and formally ended with a ceasefire in 2013.

Due to the Konnou’s internal conflict and ongoing tensions in the region Minister Pihei, the police and the Division of Community Development worked in partnership to eradicate the root of the conflict and bring peace to the people.

The Minister teamed up with Wantok Radio Light at the height of the crisis to bring Bibles to Konnou area to assist with rehabilitation.

Bougainville Acting Police Commissioner, Mr Paul Kamoi, said during that time of conflict in Konnou he was still in command in South Bougainville and the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the Bougainville Police service initiated the idea finding solutions to maintain law and order.

He said it was through the Radio Light program that they were able to receive over a thousand Tok Pisin Bibles to help rehabilitate the people.

Mr Kamoi mentioned that those Bibles are part of the police pastoral work as well that will be given to Minister Pihei for distribution.

The handing of the bibles from Mr Kamoi to Minister Pihei was done at the Buka Police Station on Friday 19 December.

Meanwhile, plans are in place to fit Radio Light equipment into Digicel towers so that the region has access to the Christian radio station.

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Regional media target positive changes

By Winterford Toreas

The media fraternity in Bougainville is now set and ready to improve on their performances especially in relation to the dissemination of vital information to the people.

This follows a successful media dinner hosted by the ABG Bureau of Media and Communications at Hutjena Secondary School hall in Buka recently.

During the event representatives of the different mediums, including print, radio, television and social network, were challenged to improve on their news coverage.

The event was also attended by the ABG Minister for Community Development Melchior Dare, Chief Secretary Monovi Amani and other senior officers of the Bougainville Public Service.

Director of the Bureau of Media and Communications, Robert Aneisia, stated that the event will result in the forging of new relationships among all media personnel in the region.

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Bougainvillean journalism students in short supply

By Veronica Hannette

The communications programme at Divine Word University aims to give students the skills to become media professionals.
The communications programme at Divine Word University aims to give students the skills to become media professionals.

The number of Bougainvilleans taking up the journalism course offered by the Communication Arts faculty at Divine Word University has decreased, as students flock into business and health courses.

Demand for media personnel is currently high in the autonomous region, particularly with the recent expansion of the Division of Communications within the Autonomous Bougainville Government.

Currently there are only seven Bougainvilleans studying as part of the the journalism course, three males and four females.

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