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.
“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.