Posts Categorized: Konnou

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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Former Konnou fighters apologise to President for road block incident

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio

A reconciliation was held last week as an apology to President John Momis by some former combatants from Konnou, for an incident that occurred at the beginning of 2016.

The incident started from Buin town when Jerry Iroa of Oria village, Konnou Constituency, had a conflict with several people of Ibirai village near Buin.

Jerry, a local business man who owns a store in Buin and a service station near the junction of the Buin main market, was threatened as a result of a serious conflict with several others from Ibirai

In reaction some people from Oria imposed a road block at the junction of Oria road. The blockade was serious and several highway cars were turned back by the former WILMO fighters of the Konnou Crisis, as they attempted to force a reconciliation with Mr Iroa.

Dr John Momis at the same time was traveling to Buka while these people were conducting the road block and was a victim of the same treatment. They mistakenly turned the vehicle with the president back to Buin town.

After several hours they were informed that they just turned the President back to Buin. By the time it was too late for them to apologise and let him to continue his journey.

The Member for Konnou, Hon. Willie Masiu, helped the people of Oria and arranged a time for a reconciliation to take place.

Masiu arranged vehicles that brought the representatives of Oria including the chiefs to Morou, the small village of Dr Momis, near Turiboiru Catholic Parish.

The people of Oria, along with their member, presented a pig as a show of respect and apologised for the incident.

Chief Konkai stated that the pig shows an apology in a customary manner. He reiterated that the act must not be repeated in the future.

In addition to the President, Hon. Willie Masiu and Chief Konkai, the reconciliation was also attended by Jacob Toke and other constituency members of Bouganiville.

 

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New Tabago mission house to be funded through games

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio

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Tabago Parish in Buin, South Bougainville is preparing to host a games festival to raise funds for a new mission house.

There are plans for the new mission house to be constructed opposite the huge church building, since the old one is derelict and must be dismantled.

The new mission house will be used especially by priests, church workers, sisters, and other lay workers of the parish.

Community fundraising was also crucial to the construction of the giant church building, which is considered the biggest church building in Bougainville.

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The games will get underway on 21 June and will comprise of soccer, volleyball, taekwondo, boxing and athletics.

People from lower and upper Konnou have been encouraged take part in any sporting codes.

Soccer and volleyball teams in Kugala have started training in advance while the other teams will begin this week.

“The overall idea is to contribute funds to erect a new building and remove the old one that is risky to be used,” said Mr Soow, the captain of Teem Kugala.

Team Meira and Siupa are trying to form one single team to challenge all the soccer teams that are coming for the competition.

Tabago Primary School teachers have taken responsibility for organising the event.

Mr Soow stated that he wants to see competitive teams so that players will be selected to Buin town in December this year. He said that Team Tabago, which represented us last month in Buin, was defeated by Malabita Sharks, the current champions of Buin.

 

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Nomororai receives Taekwondo facilities

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio

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Team Nomororai in the lower Konnou was the leading team in Taekwondo during the Konnou Peace Cup and the team was awarded with more than eight gold medals. They were also unbeaten at other tournaments in Muguai and Mongai.

Their outstanding performance convinced Taekwondo technical offices to present training facilities to Team Nomororai.

The number of Taekwondo players is increasing like wild fire and assessors and referees of Taekwondo commented that Team Nomororai fully possessed the skills for playing Taek.

“It is becoming a tradition and a main sport in many parts of the region,” said the one coach.

At first volleyball and soccer are the two main games, but now many are moving away from those games. Most of the youth members are recruiting to attend the classes.731-buin-taekwondo

“Taekwondo severs two purposes: it is important for self-defence and also it help us to be physically fit,” said one high school student, explaining the reason so many favour the sport.

The students are told by their trainers to be gentle, patient and control their emotions every day.

“Do not hurt people using taekwondo skills and do not threaten people with the skills,” said the coach of the team in Ugubakogu during the presentation.

“You only use the skills when you are in danger.”

The training facilities will help a lot when it comes to training; the players are now looking forward to challenging players from other clubs.

More players will be selected in the coming tournaments within the constituency; after the selection a final list will be put up for players that will represent the area in the games outside the constituency and Buin as a whole.

Senior competitors like Junior Momis, one of the gold medal winners in the Konnou Peace Cup will be competing outside of Buin in the second quarter of 2016.

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New soccer association brings Konnou youths together

By Benjamin Heribeth Noibio

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A soccer association has been formed in Konnou with the aim of uniting youths and providing a positive engagement for their spare time.

Life in Konnou depends upon the youths; it is the youth that try to bring changes in the communities today and it also is the youth who, if not positively engaged, can easily deteriorate the situation.

Chiefs, church elders and the Konnou Peace Committee identified that the Youth. Peace Committee can be the root of bringing peace and unity in Konno and chiefs are now employing strategies that involves and unite this key group.

A first step towards peace and unity is through games to bring people regardless of gender, age and number together to socialise. Youth in Konnou currently are concentrating on games; they feel free to move around and participate in the different sporting codes. It is part of counselling the youths whom have lost most of their minds in the Konnou conflict.

With this mentality of socialising youths a soccer association was formed in Tabago mission.

Youths from lower and upper Konnou were welcomed to participate. This season will be continued until the end of the year to keep them busy.

Sports also require a person to be physically and mentally fit; in this case the games organising committee is trying to educate the youth to be healthy and physically fit and stand against the influences of drugs and alcohol.

“It is happening; I can see some change in the community unlike before,” said a village councillor.

He said that music and sport are the most obvious entry points for bringing peace and unity to Konnou at this point of time.

“This will be more than just the game,” he continued.

Soccer and volleyball are the codes that need to be standardised in other to compete with other players apart from Konnou.

Taekwondo players are now standardised and are prepared to challenge outside the constituency. The number is increasing every month with primary and high school students enrolling in taekwondo classes run by a Mr Siang a black belt holder in Taekwondo.

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Former Konnou MP acknowledged for funding education

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio

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Former Member for Konnou and Minister for Commerce and Trade, Hon. Wilfred Komba, has been praised for the directing funds to Kaitu Elementary just before the election this year.

The community has been fundraising since day one in order to erect a new iron roofing house.

“We have to erect permanent houses so that we will never sweat again in replacing these classrooms made from bush material.” said the school chairman, Mr Makam.

The fundraising halted at the beginning 2015 when former member Komba funded the school with 24 sheets of iron roofing. Parents, guardians and the youth appreciated the great help Mr Komba had given their elementary school.

Before erecting the new building, the committee of the school acknowledged Mr Komba by stating their appreciation. The classroom will be erected with the memory of his assistance.

“We need these things, education is important for our children’s future,” chairman Makam continued.

“The government should be investing more on human resource capacity building; we cannot stand on our own unless we have a good number of educated elites on Bougainville.”

Many in the community have the mentality that members of their constituency should be putting schools as the first priority, with funding for every elementary school within the constituency.

There are more than 30 children enrolling at the beginning of each year, however housing problems have been a major hinderance to the progress of the schools.

Students completing elementary year 2 are selected to Tabago Primary school to do grade 3. Tabago Primary School has erected a new building recently, with assistance from Australian foreign aid and was officially opened with attendees from Australia and the Education Department of Bougainville.

The community will now seek funding for teachers houses at the beginning of next year; they also want to look forward to dedicate and register a piece of land to the government so that the school will be free from land disputes, which is a major concern in most of the schools in Bougainville.

The community is cheering the young adults, newly married couples and mostly the youths who contribute effectively in making their school a school of excellence.

“It is our responsibility as parents to help our children to be educated,” one parent explain.

“We can’t just sit down and watch, we must do things to the best of our abilities so that our children will get education.”

 

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Fifth anniversary of peace to be celebrated in Konnou

671-konnou-crisis-gamesBy Benjamin Heriberth Noibio

At the end of 2007 the Konnou Conflict began with factions arising within the constituency itself. The faction known as WILMO (Wisai Liberation Movement), Konnou Freedom Fighters and Mekamui Deference Force (MDF) vied for power and control in the constituency.

The factions broke the constituency into pieces causing confusion in the minds of the people; lack of law and order made the situation worse.

In Early in 2008 the close down of the Buka–Buin Highway ceased services to the area and civilians suffered the most.

Women and children lacked health and education services.

I did not have a choice of freedom so I joined the faction that was domination our area; I had to live with the ones living in the bushes of Leulo Mountain without calculating the consequences of it.

I joined the MDF who were always going to and from of our camp site in the mountains of Kaitu.

By Christmas 2007 I had a message that I was selected to continue to grade 9 at Buin Secondary School. I appreciated the offer but the situation did not allow me to appear at the school.

Buin Freedom Fighters chased some Konnou students at Buin Secondary just before I was to pack my things and go. As soon as I got the message of what was happening in Buin, I turned my back and fully joined the MDF.

In the middle of February 2008, I left everything behind and went to Bishop Wade Secondary School in North Bougainville. I made my choice to get education rather than holding rifles that has no benefit but death at the end. I was fortunate to get registered as a non-selected student in Bishop Wade.

The conflict took almost five years to exist until the peace committee formed by chiefs, church elders, youth leaders and women’s leaders took a stand to end the bloodshed in Konnou.

The negotiation took almost two years with disagreement of all the factions regarding the loss of young people’s lives, both soldiers and civilians. The Konnou Peace Committee finally won the hearts of the fighters in all the factions.

On 29 November 2011, the negotiation between the factions succeeded with the agreement of ending the conflict in Konnou. Early on that day all the factions gathered in Mogoroi with representatives from ABG and the United Nations.

More than 1,000 witnesses from Konnou and other constituencies were present. It was a day of pain, sorrow and happiness as the freedom which the people so longed finally came.

The factions reconciled with forgiveness and humble heats; a monument was planted to mark the day of Konnou reconciliation and the ending of the so called Konnou Conflict. The monument (called IMI in Buin language) was planted as a shrub but now it has grown and can be seen clearly on the Mogoroi road.

Each year the day is remembered and celebrated with events like games, music (pictured:Band member practicing at Moroanamanu Village-Upper Konnou), traditional dances, and remembrance speeches.

This year the constituency will celebrate the 5th anniversary of the peace. The celebration will be marked with the Konnou Peace Cup, with local people compete in sporting competition.

The Member for Konnou, Hon. Willie Masiu, has taken the lead in organising the event and the announcement was hosted at Ugubakogu Primary school. Athletes from both Lower and Upper Konnou are preparing to socialise in games such as volleyball, soccer, marathon, bicycle race and rock show.

“This will be one means of peace and unity in the constituency,” said Maverick one of the athletes. Youth members were glad to see their new member taking the lead in uniting the people through the games.

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Women in upper Konnou unite

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio

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A Christian community organisation has been formed by 3 villages, Kaitu, Turutai, and Luirau, in the upper Konnou area, which will focus on empowerment and equality for women.

These three villages suffered the most in the Konnou conflict and just recently met to form a Federation that focusses on charity works in the community.

In the past women were seen to have less important role in the society, however now some of the young mothers who were educated have turned the old mentality upside down. They said that gender balance is what we need to look at and they should be treated equal to men in the society.

In their sitting they founded the organisation, which has been called LIGO Women’s Federation (LWF).
The LWF was formed with a motive of supporting women themselves in the society. The most notable problems they aimed to tackle are maternity assistance, customary funerals, transportation of disabled children, accessing of women’s needs in the community and enhancement of women’s roles in the society.

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It is already registered together with its bank account by the leaders; women in that community are fortunate to have this federation which is now a great help to them. Members get registered with a worth of K10 and above. This LWF has unified the mothers in the community and now no one is left behind to face problems by her own; every woman is assisted in any situation.

It is now a challenge for the men in the society to recognise the role of woman in the society. Buin custom, which is patrilineal, has in some ways moulded the minds of the women to see themselves as less important for so many years, however LWF can be seen as one of the milestones in Buin custom and is trying to go beyond the boundary of what has become accepted.

The LWF has called on all women to participate in church and social activities that take place in the area.

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Konnou students prepare for awareness campaign

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio

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Konnou Tertiary Students Union had its last sitting in Port Moresby on Sunday 11 October, before the students return to Bougainville at the end of the semester.

The executive body was made concrete and is now looking forward to carry out its obligations during the Christmas break.

The final sitting will held in Bougainville, either in Buka or Buin, with Konnou students from institutions such as the University of Papua New Guinea, Pacific Adventist University and the Polytechnic Institute.

Last week the executive body of the Union met with representatives from the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby. The executive was pleased with the support given by the representatives Emily and Simon.

“Konnou Tertiary Students Union is a union that will be operating in the long run” said President Charles Asiara.

He said that it is all Bougainvilleans’ responsibility to change the mindset of those ones who are affected by the conflict and many other complementary issues.

The Union will undertake an awareness campaign in the Konnou Constituency, especially Tabago, Mugui, Kulula, Oria and Muisuru or Orava. These are seen as the main centres in both Upper and Lower Konnou.

The awareness will also cover issues affecting the constituency, including mainly economic issues, social issues and education.

Konnou need unification in other to move forward; division will always break the constituency apart and nothing good will occur in the area.

“The issues in Konnou and Bougainville as whole is everybody’s business,” Mr Asiara continued.

He said that they have to dig the roots of the issues and visit family units as well, because everything start from the families then makes its way in to the community.

The Union will encourages education for all in the constituency; no one will be left behind. Those who are affected by the conflicts need education and to attain traits to work to earn a living.

In this case no one will be left behind, everyone is to be working in different fields; it is one of the ways to reduce issues in the area. By engaging a majority of those in the villages to work in different fields the gap of illiteracy and unemployment will be surely be filled.

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Konnou students in Port Moresby dedicated to peace and unity

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio

638-konnou-students-union Picture by Benjamin Noibio

The Konnou Tertiary Students Union that was formed this year had its second sitting on Sunday at the Pacific Adventist University in Port Moresby.

New members from Port Moresby based technical colleges attended the sitting and will now register as members of the Union.

Their attendance was important because the meeting included the presentation and review of the constitution as the basis for the Union before it begins to operate. The constitution drafters presented it to the members and demanded it be reviewed by every member and amendments made if necessary.

“This is the main form of the Union; this is our guideline,” said Charles Asiara, the president of the Konnou Tertiary Students Union at the presentation of the constitution.

The elected members Konnou Tertiary Students Union executive body, who were initially temporary, were made permanent at Sunday’s sitting. Mr Asiara remains president with Benjamin Heriberth Noibio and Miss Mosena as the male and female vice presidents respectively.

The aims and objectives of the Union involve boosting human resources and capacity building for peace and unity in Konnou.

People from Konnou are giving a full support to what University of Papua New Guinea and Pacific Adventist University students are doing and Konnou students from other institutions are waiting for their semester break to participate in what has been started.

“We were the victims of the Konnou conflict” Ben Mona, the treasurer of the Union said.

“In the history of Konnou we are the first people to form such Union, this shows that we have our hearts in our constituency.”

Attendees at the meeting said that they will stand firm, move forward and shine their light now and for the years to come.

The Union will start doing educational awareness and other activities starting this coming Christmas.

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