Posts Categorized: Research

Community development in mountains lags behind coastal regions

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Recent research by a final year student at Divine Word University has suggested that the diverse geography of Central Bougainville can play a major role in the varied levels of community development in the region.

The research paper, Factors contributing to the lack of community development in Koromira area, Central Bougainville by Ishmael Milton Palipal, found that there is a discrepancy in the perceived level of community development between coastal and mountainous areas in Central Bougainville.

Palipal’s research involved interviews with a sample of 40 people from Koromira, a village assembly in Central Bougainville that has both coastal and mountain areas.

One common concern expressed by many of interviewees was that people in mountain areas have less access to roads and other crucial public services.

“Currently, all the needed services such as good road, school infrastructure, mission infrastructure and health facilities are been slowly established along the coastal areas,” a community nurse told Palipal.

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“Even most of the community government events like major celebrations are hosted along the coast.”

A grade 10 student from the mountains of Koromira reiterated this view. “Most of the government activities a based around the coastal villages only and the mountain villages exist like abandoned places,” the girl said.

The coastal areas are also more conducive for the growth of cash crops, which has led to greater development in those areas.

“In terms of economy growth, cocoa and copra are mostly grown by the coastal people,” said a businessman.

“Those that do not have lands in the coastal area are less well off than the coastal people.”

Palipal hopes that by understanding the issues that exist in the Koromira area and beyond, strategic solutions can be developed and implemented to overcome them.

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Development impeded by communication breakdown

682-koromira-kidsResearch conducted by Ishmael Palipal in his final year of study at Divine Word University has found that there has been a communication breakdown in Koromira, which has led to a lack of collaboration and the breakup of traditional community structures.

Poor communication has led to reduced community engagement, land disputes, local political agendas and jealously, ultimately affecting the community development of Koromira.

A local clan leader said that people have become more individualist because they lack communication with leaders and engagement on decision making.

“If a leader calls up a meeting, only few will attend, but the rest will go about doing their own business,” the clan leader said.

“Since they were not present at the time of the decision making on certain changes in the society, they might be the opposition or hindrance to new change planned to take place.”

Palipal’s research also identified that communication between leaders because of factionalism and political agendas causes of negative community development outcomes in Koromira.

“Different leaders have interest in developing different projects which do not eventuate because there are always disagreements,” said a local PMV driver.

“To make it worse, each leader has his/her own hidden agenda; why they want to implement a certain project and not the other.”

As the population increases and extended families grow in the matrilineal society of Koromira there are ongoing land conflict issues and this is exasperated by the breakdown of community communication.

“With the ongoing land disputes in our communities, it is causing a blockage for new developments to eventuate,” said one village elder.

“Some of our people are so stubborn and wanted to own every land they desire.”

As landownership is not well formalised there is a reliance on the older generations to pass down knowledge to younger people, but the communication breakdown in Koromira has seen this practice reduced.

The research also found that there is a lot of misinformation and conflicting claims to land which are difficult to resolve.

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Research recommends increased community collaboration

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Research conducted by a final year student at Divine Word University has found that corruption and the lack of collaboration and ethics have been disruptive to community development in Central Bougainville.

In his paper, entitled Factors contributing to the lack of community development in Koromira area, Central Bougainville, Ishmael Palipal examines the effects of educational, transmissional and environmental factors. Corruption, collaboration and ethics are included within the spectrum of educational factors that are presented in the research.

Palipal suggests there is a tension between the collaborative operations of a traditional Melanesian society and the introduction of free market capitalism and this is backed up by a clan leader interviewed as part of his research.

“In the past, once the leader of the village agreed on something, we all joined and worked together to achieve it,” the clan leader said.

“Now I am seeing that people are carried away with their own businesses; communities are breaking away, extended families are breaking away.

“Unless we cooperate and work together we will not see community development. We are being educated wrongly nowadays.”

One local businessman suggested though that the rise of individualism was also because of people being disillusioned with their leadership.

“Nobody in the community is interested in working together for the community,” said the businessman from Pirungsiong.

“On the other hand, people see that the community has done nothing for them and this leads to not following what the leaders are saying or doing.

“It is the leaders who have the power to revive that togetherness spirit in the community again. The question is how?”

Palipal’s paper suggests that systemic corruption and a lack of ethics has also played a role in the disintegration of collaboration and a lack of community development. There is a feeling from some local people in Koromira that there is nothing to show from the allocation of funds the area receives.

“We need proper water supplies, school facilities, health facilities, community centers and market shelters for women,” one hard working Koromira mother said during her interview.

“Even our children are not been assisted in terms of school fees.

“We have been waiting for 10 years now and our leaders have been sleeping.

“There are no major changes or community projects, which can help engage our youths. Nothing has been done.”

Ishmael Palipal reasons that with better education, for people in the community and leaders, people will better understand ethical behaviour which will in turn reduce corruption and increase collaboration.

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Koromira development hindered by educational factors

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Ishmael Palipal, a student at Divine Word University, has used his final year dissertation to research community development in the Koromira area.

Koromira is a village assembly within the Kokoda constituency of Central Bougainville around 40 kilometres from Arawa. The area is comprised of both coastal and mountainous regions and has a reputation for coral beaches, beautiful islands and waterfalls. To most common means of generating income are copra, cocoa and fishing.

As part of the research Mr Palipal interviewed 40 people from the area, both villagers and people originally from Koromira now living in towns, and found that people have been suffering because of the lack of development. The sample included a people of varying occupations, gender, age and levels of education.

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The objective of the research was to identify the causes for a lack of community development in Koromira in order to ascertain effective future developments. Palipal found that factors which led to the lack of development were educational, transmissional and environmental.

One of the educational factors identified was the level of education, which can affect the community decision making and the importance placed on the education of future generations.

The research also found that knowledge and skills in the community are crucial to building community and economic development. Interviewees suggested that this gap exists at both a leadership and community level and was disempowering for the community.

“Youths are the backbone of the community,” one teacher said, bemoaning the lack of engagement for young people.

“When we are not providing an avenue for them to be useful… are pushing them away.”

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Palipal also found that education level, knowledge and skills impact the implementation of community projects. The research criticises the number of projects that are started which are either unplanned, not aligned with community needs or are never completed because the funding disappears.

“Some projects are implemented but are not completed because the money is been used for other things,” a high school teacher said.

“Using [public funds] for personal gain is very much common, even in the country.”

Ishmael Palipal has now returned to Bougainville after completing the final year of his Bachelor of Arts (Social and Religious Studies) at the Divine Word University in Madang.

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Final year students present research on AROB

By Ishmael Palipal

Caption: Mr Ishmael Palipal and Miss Rachel Soli posing with their certificates of Symposium Presentation after the presentations at DWU. Picture: Noris Lisa Kome Caption: Miss Rachel Soli and Mr Ishmael Palipal posing with their certificates of Symposium Presentation after the presentations at DWU. Picture: Noris Lisa Kome

Two young Bougainvilleans in their final year at Divine Word University in Madang were selected to represent the Department of Social and Religious Studies by presenting their major research projects during the first ever Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) research symposium.

FASS has four departments that come under its umbrella, one for flexible learning (correspondence) program and three undergraduates programs which are the Department of Communication Arts (Journalism), Department of PNG Studies and International Relations and Department of Social and Religious Studies.

The research symposium was organised and funded by the FASS Committee and gave an opportunity for the best 12 selected students, 4 from each of the three departments, to present on their research. There was also a guest presentation from the New Guinea Binatang Research Centre and talks by academic staff on their own research and issues affecting the communities in Papua New Guinea today.

Rachel Soli and Ishmael Palipal from Bougainville both represented their Department of Social and Religious Studies along with two of their colleagues. Both students focused their research on Bougainville issues, with an emphasis on the need for greater investment by parents and governments on regional education.

Rachel Soli researched the factors contributing to the small of number of atolls students that enter into tertiary institutions. Ms Soli recommend that Bougainville has to set up its own tertiary institutions to cater to the growing population of students who missed out on tertiary places, especially in the atolls where the people are also struggling with the climate change.

“Building tertiary, technical and polytechnic institutions, vocational schools and teacher training colleges within the [Bougainville] region will cater for the grade 10 and grade 12 graduates,” recommended Miss Rachel Soli during her presentation.

She stated that the development of human capital is the key to other significant developments in the region and it is through setting up proper education systems and curriculums that this will be achieved.

Supporting Ms Soli’s research, Mr Ishmael Palipal also spoke of education as the main factor which is causing a lack of development in communities today.

Mr Palipal, who researched the causes behind the lack of development in the Koromira area, stressed that only by investing more in education can the factors causing a lack of community development be removed from most parts of Bougainville and PNG as a whole.

He recommended that parents and the government on the ground should invest more on education through building proper schooling facilities, developing suitable curriculums, funding skills courses and investing more in students through scholarships and funding for further studies.

“Most of my participants revealed that there is a low level of education in the community, thus in order for communities to develop well, we need to have more educated people on the ground to advocate developments,” Ishmael Palipal stated during the FASS research symposium at the Divine Word University SVDMA auditorium.

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University research leads to market expansion in Arawa

By Gideon Davika

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The Arawa Town Council decided to expand the Arawa Market at the beginning of 2015 to meet the increasing numbers of people coming from South and Central Bougainville.

The expansion of the market was approved by the town council manager, Mark Sivutere, after two environmental health students from Divine Word University (DWU), Evaristus Tangona and Patrick Tsikata, did a survey and report on the market.

Tsikata, the more experienced of the pair, went back to DWU this year to complete his year third year (of four), having previously worked many years with the town council.

He stated that they did the survey and found that due to the overcrowded marketplace, people were forced to sell things all over the place, not in the different sections allocated for each type of product.

578-arawa-market-shelter“Mothers within the vicinity were complaining about the limited space in the market,” Mr Tsikata said.

“This issue is forcing some of the venders to sell their things, especially kaukau and bananas, outside of the main market building.”

He said that under an Arawa Urban Council Act for the control of sales, implemented in 2007, it is an offense for any person to sell or display for sale any goods in a public place or an area not declared as a market place.

Patrick Tsikata said that they got all the necessary information and did a report regarding the limited space in the main market building and presented their write-up to the manager for approval.

He said that the when the market upgrade is completed it will be used for selling fish and other cooked food.

According to the manager, Mark Sivutere, the money that they are using in the project is from the Town Council’s yearly grant and the building will be completed by the end of 2015.

 

 

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Momis letter to Jubilee Australia

Office of the President

Dear Board Members,

MomisWith reference to my letters to you dated 26th October, 2nd November and 1st December 2014, on behalf of the elected Autonomous Bougainville Government, I am deeply concerned by your failure to have the courtesy of responding to the issues that I raised with you, the questions that I asked you.

You and the organisation you head are demonstrating shameful degrees of ignorance and arrogance.

You have involved the organisation in a complex, delicate, post-conflict situation, about which the organisation, and yourselves demonstrate remarkably little knowledge, with no appreciation at all of the negative impacts your actions might have. You have taken sides in arguments about issues about which you clearly have remarkably little understanding. You proudly proclaim to be a scientific research organisation. But your research on Bougainville has been unethical and deeply flawed. Quite possibly it has been carried out illegally – and your failure to answer my questions in that connection must raise serious doubts in any fair-minded person.

Your report was clearly based on false assumptions, and those same assumptions have been evident in claims made both at many points in your report, and in statements by your CEO, that there is near unanimous opposition to mining in the landowner communities in the former leases associated with the Panguna mine.

Your assumptions, and an apparent bias, were reflected in your choice of research partners with well-known records of vehement anti-BCL views. The PNG researchers chosen to do the interviews are also people well-known in Bougainville as holding similar views.

My Government is on the ground in Bougainville. Elected members and government officers have for many years constantly consulted landowner communities from the former Panguna leases, with the organisations established since 2010 to represent those communities, with leaders of the various Me’ekamui organisations in the area, with Councils of Elders and Village Assemblies in the area. While there is undoubtedly a range of views on the future of mining at Panguna, the only way of getting 63 interviewees opposed to mining would be to carefully select them. If your report stated clearly that that was what you had done, there would be little complaint. But the report does not do that. It dissembles.

Moreover, you compound your error by numerous absolutely false statements about the views expressed in the interviews being representative of all in the area.

In short, there is no doubt at all that those doing the interviews in Bougainville on which the report claims to be based carefully chose a small group of opponents to the resumption of mining.

The report was written by a person from one of your partner organisations with a clear record of a particularly unbalanced view on BCL.

Your assumptions and bias were further demonstrated by your deliberate refusal not only to consult the ABG, but also to give it any opportunity to comment on a draft of the report before rushing to publish.

You have also refused to respond to my questions about the ethical standards of the research, and your adherence to PNG law in the conduct of the report.

By your refusal to answer the issues and questions raised in my three letters (above), you simply raise more doubts about your standards, your accountability and your bona fides.

In all the circumstances, your behaviour is shameful, and your claims to be a scientific research organisation little more than a joke.

I continue to request a response to the specific issues raised in those three letters.

 

Sincerely,

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Chief John L. Momis

President, ARoB

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Australian NGO refuses to answer questions on controversial report

Office of the President

The President of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) has said that Jubilee Australia have refused to respond to three letters he has sent them since October.

The letters raised questions about the Australian non-government organisation’s report on Panguna landowner views on mining. He said their refusal to answer his questions demonstrates shameful ignorance and arrogance.

“You proudly proclaim to be a scientific research organisation, but your research on Bougainville has been unethical and deeply flawed,” said President Momis.

“[The report] was clearly based on the false assumption, evident in claims made both at many points in your report and in statements by your CEO, that there is near unanimous opposition to mining in the landowner communities in the former leases associated with the Panguna mine.

“Your assumptions, and an apparent bias, were reflected in your choice of research partners with well-known records of vehement anti-BCL views. The PNG researchers chosen to do the interviews are also people well-known in Bougainville as holding similar views.”

In the series of letters to the Jubilee in October, November and December 2014, President Momis questioned research methodology used, false claims made on the basis of interviews with a tiny selected group of opponents of mining, many serious factual errors in the report, and the track record of opposition to BCL and Rio Tinto on the part of Jubilee Australia’s research partners, Kristian Lasslett and the Bismarck Ramu Group.

“My Government is on the ground in Bougainville,” President Momis continued.

“Elected members and government officers have for many years constantly consulted landowner communities from the former Panguna leases, with the organisations established since 2010 to represent those communities, with leaders of the various Me’ekamui organisations in the area, with Councils of Elders and Village Assemblies in the area.

‘While there is undoubtedly a range of views on the future of mining at Panguna, the only way of getting 63 interviewees opposed to mining would be to carefully select them.

“If your report stated clearly that that was what you had done, there would be little complaint. But the report does not do that. It dissembles.”

The report produced by Jubilee attempted to portray the views of a small number of handpicked interviewees as being representative of an entire region.

“There is no doubt at all that those doing the interviews in Bougainville on which the report claims to be based carefully chose a small group of opponents to the resumption of mining.”

“The report was written by a person from one of your partner organisations with a clear record of a particularly unbalanced view on BCL.

“Your assumptions and bias were further demonstrated by your deliberate refusal not only to consult the ABG, but also to give it any opportunity to comment on a draft of the report before rushing to publish.

“You have also refused to respond to my questions about the ethical standards of the research, and your adherence to PNG law in the conduct of the report,” the President continued, ”by your refusal to answer the issues and questions raised in my three letters , you simply raise more doubts about your standards, your accountability and your bona fides.”

“In all the circumstances, your behaviour is shameful, and your claims to be a scientific research organisation seem little more than a joke.”

President Momis has reiterated his request for a response to his three letters.

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UNDP report highlights resource industry importance

By Veronica Hannette

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the Papua New Guinea National Human Development Report 2014 in December last year at a conference held in Buka, Bougainville.

This is the second such report published, with the first edition published in 1998.

The National Human Development report contains research in to Papua New Guinea and the Pacific and how to address problems in government and private sectors including issues affecting rural areas.

UNDP Resident Representative, Hemansu Roy Trivedy, stated that PNG has potential strengths to boost its economy, especially with consecutive economic growths.

“This National Human Development Report seeks to focus on key choices and decisions that leaders need to make in the short and medium term to ensure that human development outcomes are maximised,” Mr Trivedy said.

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Emerging leaders discuss future of Bougainville

The Lowy Institute for International Policy, an Australian think-tank, has reported on a dialogue held in Sydney from 1-4 December 2014 in which discussions were held on Bougainville’s future.

The talks were held through the Australia-Papua New Guinea Network, an initiative of the Lowy Institute and the National Research Institute of Papua New Guinea, with funding from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The network aims to build stronger links between the two countries in areas such as business, civil society, sport, education, media, culture, religion, and development.

The participants at the dialogue were some of the emerging leaders in Papua New Guinea, including Jessica Siriosi from the United Nations Development Programme in Bougainville.

Topics related to Bougainville included discussions on the peacebuilding experience and the referendum on independence and autonomy, which is to be held between 2015 and 2020,

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