Posts Categorized: Infrastructure

Solar power revolutionises village life in Kaitu

By Benjamin Heribeths

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The introduction of solar panels has changed the lives of the people of Kaitu village in the Buin District of South Bougainville.

Since the end of the Bougainville crisis, Kaitu, a village in the Upper Konnou area of Buin, was dependant on small generators for power.

There are no stores or service stations nearby and the Kaitu people travelled to Buin town to look for petrol to power their generators, would incurring a great cost looking for vehicle or spending many hours walking.

They would walk over four kilometres from their small village to the main road to look for a vehicle and at night they would walk all the way back to their villages hauling their goods, particularly difficult for women, children and the elderly.

The small community started purchasing solar panels for their villages as an alternative source of power.

They are using the panels in many different ways, such as to charge their cellular phones for communication and to power florescent tubes for lighting.

“Families in the community are benefiting in many different ways,” said Moses Nukaia, a Kaitu local.

Mr Nukaia stated that the people are now spending less money because they are using sunlight for power.

Their next target is to purchase invertors so that they can use freezers in their houses.

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Kangu roadworks the latest development in Buin

By Pauline Karalus

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A massive development was launched in South Bougainville in late June as construction commenced on the Kangu road. The trunk road was scheduled to start operations during July.

Equipment was transported to the development site on the Kangu road, which leads out from Buin’s main shopping center in a south-easterly direction towards the sea down to the famous Kangu Beach. Here a small wharf caters to ferries that bring cargo for store owners and other Buin businesses.

The road is more commonly used by the people of Laguai and Malabita and it will also make it easier for neighboring Solomon Islanders who bring goods to trade at the market.

Amidst ongoing reconciliations between local tribes and clans who have had unstable relations in past years, the developments within the region remain the autonomous government’s priority.

Existing schools have been undergoing renovations alongside the establishment of new government and non-government schools in remote areas.

Education seems to be the government’s first priority and the poor road conditions affect the ability of students, teachers and other people to travel to schools.

Remote districts are widely recognized as the least developed parts of the island. Frequent visits from non-government officials and tourists have dramatically changed the mindset of the locals towards appreciating and allowing development to progress and contribute towards sustainable livelihoods of Buin locals.

Despite the everyday law and order problems that still occur, Buin people have showed interest in allowing development to take hold in their region.

Buin, often referred to as a cowboy town, hosts the main shopping center for the people of the three districts of the southern tip of Bougainville.

In recent years it has seen great private and government developments. by both business and the government wise over the last how many years after the cease fire. An increase in the number of locally owned trade stores and buildings belonging to various sectors of the government has noticeably raised the standard of the town vicinity.

Within the town area, just a few meters away from the shopping center, is the Buin Police Station, which contains a few cells where inmates are kept according to the level of crime they have committed.

Regardless of several attempts and threats from locals, Buin Police Officers continue to work together as a team and reduce the number of crimes committed everyday by applying the law.

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Marau a new access point for Torokina

By Ishmael Palipal

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A gold rush has seen Marau grow in to an important access point for Torokina.

Torokina District is located along the west coast of the island of Bougainville and is one of the four districts that made up South Bougainville, along with Bana, Siwai and Buin Districts.

Torokina District has no road access that can link with other areas in Bougainville, especially main centers such as Buin, Arawa or Buka. It is very unfortunate for people of Torokina to still have no road link.

That does not stop people to travel to and from Torokina, a place of great historical significance.
It holds the memories some of the fiercest World War II fighting on Bougainville, including the clashes Japanese and American forces and the eventual shooting down of Admiral Yamamoto, whose plane crashed in Aku area of Buin District. Torokina holds the remains of war and guns, bombs and knifes can be found in many areas, though some of these things were removed recently through Operation Render Safe.

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Today, Torokina is seen as gold rush area where many of the Bougainvilleans are moving into the area to either dig gold or buy from the miners. According to the sources from Torokina, people come as far as Buin, Siwai and even from Buka in the north. Those with wantoks or known friends are taking the opportunity to mine gold there.

With these activities going on in Torokina, the Marau boat stop in Bana area has become the focal point to get to Torokina. Some years ago, people travelled with outboard motor from Torokina all the way to Buka to access services in Buka. And this route was much risky for people.

However, with the road upgrade from Bana main highway junction down towards Marau market and boat stop, it makes it much easier for people to travel to and from Torokina and other parts of Bougainville through this route. People can now easily transports goods and supplies through Marau to Torokina. The Marau route access is the best alternative now helping people of Torokina as they wait, hopeful for an access road to be one day be built into their area.

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Community stage constructed in Hahela

By Zilpah Marua

801-zilpah-bukaWhen individuals and organisation make simple changes in their behaviour they drive large scale changes that benefit people and the planet. Community development projects are done in societies based on a certain needs and to help develop communities and the way people live.   In Bougainville Island the Bank of South Pacific is also engaging in doing project to helping the community through   community development projects.

At the end of 2015 The BSP Buka Branch funded a community stages at Hahela Parish in North Bougainville. The K25,000 project was completed by the end of December; dedicated and opened on the 17th of December 2015 by the Parish Priest.

The multi-purpose stage will be used for ordinations, youth music rally, sport and schools, such as closing for Hahela Primary and Hahela Elementary School.

Chief of Hagan and Malasang stated that the building was finished on time with the help of the youths from these two places within Hahela Parish and carpenters.

During the opening of the people for the surrounding communities sure as Hagan, Malasang, the people living in Hehela, the workers from Catholic Dioceses office, the Catholic health workers (led by the administer Mr Tony Luwong), the Catholic education office, the officers from Catholic traditional health and the families and not forgetting the team from BSP Buka Branch.

It was mentioned by the BSP officer that it was their second community development project in Bougainville Island. The first one was the building of the hauswin at Kokopau town. It was purposely build to shelter the public while waiting to catch PMVs to go to various destinations and also for the people to have a break while they are going their personal business in the town.

801-bsp-stage-constructionIt was a joy for the surrounding communities and the Hehala Catholic Parish because in year gone past big occasions required the construction of temporary stages for a short time or the sometimes just build a stages for that occasion. Now they were so happy that from this community development project and the permanent stage established it will cut down the hard work that people face during special occasions.

After the dedication of the stages building there was food served and the refreshment was also prepared by the team from BSP.

Through the engagement of private, non-government and government organizations in community development will bring forward development that will engage youths and communities and bring satisfaction to individuals.

After all the master of ceremonies thanked the BSP Buka branch for funding this project and he stated that the challenge is with us the surrounding communities to look after what has been built in our areas.

Community development projects are funded by other organization, so the communities must take on the responsibility to look after it.

If a certain community has a bad reputation, organisations will not be willing to establish project in the places. To impress potential funders, we must look after the projects, because whoever is funding are certain community based project don’t want to waste their money and resources.

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Youths to be rehabilitated at Marbiri centre

By Gideon Davika

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Construction of a new detention centre for juvenile offenders is underway at Mabiri, Central Bougainville, and will be the required works will be completed by two contractors.

793-marbiri-juvenile-centreFree Line, a construction company that is owned by Bougainvillian engineers, has the contract to build the main jail and the mess. The jail contains two block cells, shower and toilet facilities and two open space rooms to accommodate underage youths in the centre.

The mess is being constructed close to the jail and includes a kitchen and a dining area for eating.

Building of staff houses within the vicinity was carried out by West Asikopan construction. The have already been completed and will accommodate the warders and those who will be facilitating activities at the centre.

The juvenile centre will cater and provide care for young people who commit offences, as they cannot be put kept in an adult facility.

793-juvenile-centreWhile serving in the juvenile centre they will provided with education and spiritual services such as individual case management and specialised counselling. They will also be given the opportunity to learn vocational and life skills.

The establishment of a regional juvenile centre is a positive step to house underage youths who are offenders or wrong doers in the communities. The time they spend in the centre will give them an opportunity be rehabilitated and come out with bright ideas and a good personality which will give joy to their parents as well the communities which they come from.

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Hagogohe businesses set to benefit as electricity project continues

By Anastasia Hagai


President Momis launches the rural electrification project back in January 2016.

In life there are many needs and wants that people tend to have either for leisure or improving their livelihood. One of the many needs in life is the access to electricity.

On the 28 January this year Pesident John Momis launched the rural electricity project at Poposoko Village, Hagogohe Constituency which was witnessed by the presence of Member for Hogogohe Robert Sawa and the local villagers.

Since the launch, the construction of the power lines by PNG Power workman has continued. In March, after two months of work, the powerlines had reached Lose Village in Hagogohe constituency.

They are very keen on the recent establishment of electricity within the constituency and it marks a new chapter in advancing the livelihood of the locals, enabling them to improve their small businesses to earn an income, as well the usage of electrical appliances to make household chores more flexible for families.

This is one step to extending and developing our province starting from the source, our villages, and in turn the whole of Autonomous region of Bougainville.

In February the people of Hagogohe were also able to celebrate the launch of a sealed road to their community, as part of the Buka ring road project.

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Improved Tinputz road will bring services

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio

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Tinputz will soon benefit from maintenance to a key road, which will improve access to education and healthcare.

The Namatoa Road, in the Teop-Taonita constituency of Tinputz, is under maintenance, the third time the road has gone under maintenance since its construction.

Namatoa Road is the only connection for Toresure Primary and Namatoa Primary school up in the mountains of Teop-Taonita constituency and teachers, parents and the villages up in the mountains were more than happy to see their road under maintenance.

They stated that the road is the only route to deliver services to the mountains and often people who live in rural areas miss out on services like health and education.

After its construction, the first and second maintenance was done by the South Engineering company, but a local company, Ramazon Aggregate Company of Tinputz, is doing the current maintenance. This company is operating under Manager Eugene Masiu and is based near the Rawa River in the Selau-Suir Constituency.

The road now connects a total of two primary schools and three elementary school and surrounding communities are fortunate to bring market foods to the road junction to sell.

The market was recently build for the mothers alongside of  Namatoa to earn their living by providing services mostly to the highway cars coming all the way from Buin, Siwai, Nagovis and Kieta.

“I am glad that my road is under maintenance, me and my family can travel with a car down to the main highway now,” said one student.

The road maintenance was started two weeks ago and will be completed this week; most of the people from the mountains will surely be travelling by cars in the completion of the Namatoa Road.

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Trunk road will change the lives of Poreburu locals

742-poreburuBy Pauline Karalus

The promise of a new road in South Bougainville is set to dramatically change the lives of my people in Poreburu.

Poreburu is nowhere near the main road leading through Siwai, Arawa and Buka. We are located some kilometers away thus our means of getting services is by walking through bush tracks and getting ourselves to where we would be served.

Walking to and from every day is not what we love doing but what we do to get access to services we’ll never get if we just sit and wait for a miracle.

Getting to town on a daily basis to get necessary household needs is such a tiring thing to do. You have to wake up at dawn and get ready. This means taking a bath in the icy-cold waters at 4am and walking roughly 3 hours to get to the main road and get on a vehicle to go to where you’re heading to. In the afternoon the same routine is followed in reverse.

This issue of road condition has given rise to other issues, sometimes major, whereby locals take matters into their own hands and try to solve them. In most cases this triggers disputes and fights between the clans involved.

742-pauline-karalusSince vehicles cannot make it to our village, young women and mothers are dropped off at the junction to walk their way home. Every day you will see mothers with heavy loads of goods bought in town struggling to make it home on time before it gets dark. There is a very serious threat of rapists along the bushy track who target and follow individuals under the cover of darkness in late afternoons and early mornings.

Even teachers posted to teach at Morula Primary School run away to schools near the main road because they say they miss freezer goods and are cut off from the outside world. Students end up having limited number of teachers which results in the doubling up classes. The reduced quality of education is discouraging and many students give up on their education staying home for good and getting married.

For many years, local teachers have been urged by the community to stay back and teach in their own place as outsiders who have been coming in have been doing the same exact thing; coming and taking off after a few weeks. We’re used to it anyway!

The talk of a trunk road cutting through Poreburu leading to Katukuh in the Siwai district and then connecting to the already existing trunk road from Siwai has been a wish for my people since 2000 and even earlier.

They have been pleading to their local members in parliament to hear them out and give to them what they wanted. Their dream came true on January this year when work on the trunk road operation commenced.

This is going to be a great joy and the most life-changing event that has ever happened to my people. They will soon get on vehicles from their door steps rather than walking 2 to 3 hours to catch one and get to where they are going.

Who knows, maybe when I go home I’ll be just dropped off at my door step and I won’t have to walk a long distance with my luggage. What a relief it’s gonna be for the so-called bush people of South Bougainville!

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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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New hydro power project for North Bougainville

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio

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Negotiations completed over the past weeks will see the construction of a hydroelectric power project for the northern tip of Bougainville.

The ground breaking ceremony was expected to take place in mid-March and then construction will start at the supply centre near Ramazon Bridge.

Chairman Dyson of Tearoki is a full-time negotiator and he is ensuring that preparations are under way and everything falls in line soon. Dyson has got a trade store in Bougainville Technical College; to make things happen quickly he uses his Toyota Land cruiser. He goes to Buka town frequently arranging things to start this month.

The supply centre of the hydro power will also be the residential. Only the Electricians and other staff will be residing in the supply centre and the buildings will be erected after the ground breaking ceremony.

The hydro power station will be constructed some meters up from the Ramazon Bridge, though the supply centre is located near the main highway.

“An Indian company has won the tender for constructing the hydro power, however other partnership companies will help out,” said Simon, one of the spokesmen.

“We are glad that we will at least have lights in our houses, we are sick and tired of small generators,” he continued with a smile, “power cables will cross the Buka passage and go all the way to Buka.”

Engineers of Ramazon Aggregate Company have been working on their machines to help out in the clearance of the supply site and the residential site. Ramazon River will be propelling power to all parts of north Bougainville.

The New Zealand government is funding the project and it is expected to benefit the entire northern region of Bougainville, including Wakunai, Tinputz, Buka and the west coast.

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