Bougainville Women’s News : @Dfat Empowering Bougainville women through business

  “ The Bougainville women are so keen to learn, and it was great to turn up to so many smiling faces at the workshops each morning. For example, one lady – Debrah – runs a canteen. She’s got a great little business and is saving for a house and she’s just soaking up everything we have to say about running a business,”

 Australian volunteers Rae Smart and Jan Norton

For Avia Koisen PNG women’s chamber of commerce president “with the right skills women can build their own businesses and so empower themselves economically and socially.”

Avia Koisen, President of the Papua New Guinea Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry is adamant: “The big problem for many women in Papua New Guinea is that they don’t have the economic means to take control of their lives,” she says. “But with the right skills, women can build their own businesses and so empower themselves economically and socially.” The Chamber was the local partner in an intensive small business training and mentoring program for 15 Bougainvillean women, led by Australian volunteers Rae Smart and Jan Norton.

During the program, Rae and Jan, who between them have several decades’ worth of experience in business, ran five workshops in Arawa. Topics included financial management, business planning, marketing, risk analysis, and other areas essential to growing a successful business. They also delivered one-on-one mentoring to participants to help them put their new business skills and strategies into practice.

For Rae, the program was like a home-coming as she spent more than 20 years living on Bougainville until the conflict started in 1989. She says it has been hugely positive to meet so many local people, in particular women, working to rebuild and grow businesses. Rae has also taken the opportunity to meet with old friends and to give a number of families photos of grandparents who passed away decades before.

Jan had been to PNG on another short volunteer assignment, but this is her first time to Bougainville. Upon arrival, she was struck by the beauty and lushness of the island, in particular its rugged green mountains and the amazing fresh produce filling the market. Jan sees many opportunities for economic growth, for example in construction, cocoa, and groceries.

Under its Small and Medium Enterprise policy, the PNG Government has set a target of growing the number of SMEs from around 50,000 to 500,000 by 2030.

Rae and Jan’s assignments were delivered under the Your Enterprise Scheme (YES) program, implemented by Australian Business Volunteers. The YES program is supported by Pacific Islands Trade & Invest Australia (PT&I), Virgin Australia, and the Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) program, an Australian Government initiative.

Group of women standing around a table.

Australian volunteer Rae Smart (2nd from left) with participants in the YES program for women in Bougainville. Credit: J. Norton

Group of women standing under a tree.
Australian volunteer Jan Norton (3rd from right) with participants in the YES program for women in Bougainville. Credit: R. Smart

Last Updated: 21 June 2017

Bougainville Education News : #Bougainville Parliament Peace Ambassador Outreach Programs to Schools, 2017

”  No one can create a peaceful society alone. Peace-building must be a collective endeavour. It is a process that needs input from all sectors of our community and – essentially – input from all ages.

Our youths make up more than half the population of Bougainville. Yet their dreams and aspirations can be easily dismissed when we as policy designers and decision-makers pay scant attention or lose sight of this. 

I would like to see a movement of young people across Bougainville, united as change makers under one banner, expressing their hopes and desires in innocent voices promoting peace, unity and security. In schools this movement could be facilitated by teachers, out of school by community leaders, and in workplaces by role models. “

Simon Pentanu Speaker of the House AROB see in full Part 1 Below

See all past Bougainville News Education News Articles past 3 years HERE  

 

 ” Bishop Wade Tarlena Technical Secondary School in 2017 has a student population of  960 students. It is a co-educational, mostly boarding, school. The School’s motto is “Tur Warto”. In the local venacular of Selau constituency where the School is located the motto means “stand firm”. 

It is a motto everyone of us should embrace, together with a resolve to make a firm stand to ensure we put our emerging generation first, and up front, so they get and make the best of their opportunity through all stages of their education. 

Simon Pentanu Speaker of the House AROB see in full Part 2 Below

Have your say added by Bougainville News FYI

 “The Autonomous Bougainville Government through the Minister for Education has requested an Independent Review of the current education system in Bougainville.

The purpose of this review is to examine the National Education System (NES) with a view to developing an appropriate education system that addresses the aspirations and values of the people of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

As part of these consultations, the Minister for Education also welcomes views and recommendations from the public. These views will be around the issues of: ‘What do you think of the current education system? What would you like the education system in Bougainville to be like? “

See full Autonomous Bougainville Government  Minister for Education Press Release Part 5 Below

Part 1 St. Mary’s Asitavi Secondary School 31|07/17

But creating a peaceful future isn’t just a job we can leave to teachers, community leaders, role models and future generations. Everyone has a responsibility to get involved. We must all promote peace and justice and counter violence and apathy by reaching out to the young people around us. This is a time of their lives when they may be most vulnerable, but it is also in many ways when they are at their prime.

As leaders – and as parents – we must make more than half the effort, expend more than half the energy and resources and be attracted more than half the time to the matters and concerns of our youth.

In every way and in every sense,  the youths are the future of Bougainville.

Part 2 Bishop Wade Tarlena Technical Secondary School in 2017

 

Bishop Wade Tarlena Technical Secondary School in 2017 has a student population of  960 students. It is a co-educational, mostly boarding, school. The School’s motto is “Tur Warto”. In the local venacular of Selau constituency where the School is located the motto means “stand firm”. 

It is a motto everyone of us should embrace, together with a resolve to make a firm stand to ensure we put our emerging generation first, and up front, so they get and make the best of their opportunity through all stages of their education. 

The BHOR Speaker’s peace ambassador outreach to schools so far convinces me, and my parliamentary service staff, how making small changes in our everyday routines like spending time connecting with students will inspire our youth population in schools. It will make them try harder and become more productive learners. 

Sharing our own lifetime experiences will reveal how our messages of inspiration and timeless wisdom can transform the way our young people think about themselves and about the future of Bougainville.

The youth – or emerging generation for want of a better term – comprise more than half of our Bougainville population. They need more than half of our attention from parents to leaders to the ABG, right up to our Parliament. Teachers are doing their job.

In the schools visited so far, listening to their quiet but thought-filled voices in the school halls during Q&A sessions is inspiring. They are our new emerging generation. Let us not make the same mistakes that might consign them to the ranks of a lost generation. 

As leaders we should make ourselves accessible to schools more, not just at the beginning of the school opening year and during graduation days.

The BHOR Speaker’s outreach to high schools and secondary schools is a real issue project. I almost feel like saying, our emerging generation should cause us to sway in our strategies to respond much better so we can do a better job for Bougainville. 

We must do it from utter conviction that it is the right thing to do. After all they are the future hope for Bougainville.

 Part 3  : Emerging generation at Marist Melanesia celebrations, Suhin, Buka

International Youth Day. Everyday is a youth day to keep reminding us to put our children and emerging generation first, to remind us they can’t wait, to remind us we were once children given opportunities to turn challenges into personal successes. 

 Part 4 Attending end of National Book Week handing out books at elementary and primary school recently

.

Part 5 : PRESS RELEASE: INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF EDUCTION IN BOUGAINVILLE

Thursday 24th August 2017

The Autonomous Bougainville Government through the Minister for Education has requested an Independent Review of the current education system in Bougainville.

The purpose of this review is to examine the National Education System (NES) with a view to developing an appropriate education system that addresses the aspirations and values of the people of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

“This independent review is important to allow us to critically look at the current education system and to look at how best we can improve and further establish an effective education system for Bougainville,” said the Minister for Education Honorable Thomas Pata’aku.

This review will be conducted by an independent Education Review Team.

The Education Review Team consists of Dr Naihuwo Ahai, Mr. Luke Taitai, Dr. Apelis Eliakim, Mr. Damien Rapese, Dr. Dinah Ope, Mr. Lukis Romaso, Pro. David Kavamur, Dr. Simon Kenehe and Ms Tracey Laupu from various sections within the National Department of Education.

The team will be conducting consultations in Bougainville from the 21st to the 25th of August 2017.

This review will also look into other functions of education such as the Teacher Education, Department of Education, Teaching Service Commission and Inspections and Guidance with the aim of developing an appropriate “Philosophy of Education” for Bougainville.

As part of these consultations, the Minister for Education also welcomes views and recommendations from the public. These views will be around the issues of: ‘What do you think of the current education system? What would you like the education system in Bougainville to be like?

The public can leave their views with the First Secretary of the Education Minister Lorenzo Hozia. He can be contacted on phone number 71371790 or emailmailto:Lorenzo.hozia@gmail.com.

 

 

Bougainville News : Carteret Islands : The world’s first relocations due to #climatechange

 ” With an indigenous population of 2700 on seven small islands with a maximum elevation of just 1.5 metres above sea level, there are few other places on Earth where the injustice of global warming is more apparent than on the Carteret Islands.

The Carterets have been on the front line of climate change for decades: one of the islands, Huene, was cut in half by shoreline erosion about 1984. While seawalls and mangroves had been holding the ocean back until this period, further seawater inundation and storm surges over the past few decades had salinated crops and water supplies, intermittently shut down the island’s five schools due to childhood malnutrition, and destroyed homes.”

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Aug 19, 2017 as “Topical islands”. Subscribe here

Last month,” Ursula Rakova says, “when I returned home just to visit family and talk to the islanders about the situation, it was really, really hard to see a lot of the land being lost to the sea.”

Rakova is from the Carteret Islands, commonly known as Tulun, the horseshoe-shaped scattering of low-lying coral atolls 86 kilometres north-east of Bougainville. “More and more, palm trees are falling, the scarcity of food is becoming a real issue, and the schools close, and close for long periods,” she says.

Part of the reason the area is so vulnerable is that, while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reported a global sea level rise of about three millimetres per year from 1993 to 2012, the fact that water expands exponentially as heat is applied means that bodies of water that are already hot rise more swiftly. For the western Pacific Ocean, this has meant an increase of about eight to 10 millimetres a year.

“The western Pacific is a lot hotter than the water is in the eastern Pacific – hotter by about five or six degrees – and where the islands are is amongst the hottest ocean water in the world,” says Ian Simmonds, professor of earth sciences at the University of Melbourne. “Hence a warming of one degree there gives you just so much more of a sea level rise.”

Simmonds notes that the same is true for the severity of storms in the region: a warmer planet means more moisture, and, therefore, stronger and more frequent storms.

In response to increasingly severe events, Carteret elders initiated a voluntary relocation program in 2006, named Tulele Peisa, or “Sailing the Waves on Our Own” – outwardly a response to failed talks with neighbouring governments dating back to 2001. The group contacted Ursula Rakova, a Huene expatriate who had gone on to direct a Bougainville-based non-government organisation, to lead the initiative. After unsuccessfully applying for land through official channels, she was given four different locations by the Catholic Church in 2007, and relocation to the first of the abandoned plantation sites started that year.

Now, after more than a decade of leading the first recorded example of forced displacement due to global warming, Rakova has almost completed housing for the first group of 10 families. She has successfully established food gardens and a mini food forest, rehabilitated plantations and begun selling crops of cocoa. New education and management facilities have been set up, and both funding and food relief arranged to be sent back to the Carterets.

But the plight of the Carterets is not unique. Three other atolls within the Bougainville area are facing similar challenges with rising sea levels, and extreme weather events have caused internal displacement everywhere from Bangladesh to Syria to Australia.

The Australian government does not, broadly speaking, have the greatest track record on the issue. Not only did then prime minister Tony Abbott refuse to meet a call from Pacific Island leaders in 2015 to reduce emissions – indirectly resulting in Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s infamous “water lapping at their doors” quip – but the current budget offers the lowest foreign aid in eight years, at $3.82 billion over 2016-17.

Yet Australia has offered a range of targeted, if less publicised, initiatives in the region, largely funnelled through the Autonomous Bougainville Government, in consultation with Papua New Guinea. These have included arranging two experts to provide advice during the resettlement process in 2009-10; funding consultations for separate, reportedly fruitless, relocation efforts between the Bougainville government and landowners on Buka Island; a mission to the atolls in April 2017 to assist communities in developing economic opportunities around marine resources; unspecified support for Tulele Peisa’s education, youth and cocoa development projects; and other aid programs to the Carterets themselves, including water and sanitation projects.

“Australia believes that the best response to the impacts of climate change is preparedness through effective adaptation and mitigation in the first instance, followed by well-supported and planned internal relocation,” a spokesperson for the department of foreign affairs tells The Saturday Paper.

“We are also assisting partners to build disaster response capacities and strengthen resilience. The Australian government will spend $300 million (between 2016 and 20), on climate change resilience activities in the Pacific, including $75 million for disaster preparedness, under the Australia–Pacific Climate Change Action initiative. We have pledged $200 million over four years to the Green Climate Fund, supporting developing countries manage climate change and its effects.”

Australia was also a member of the Nansen Initiative, a program launched in 2012 by Switzerland and Norway intended to strengthen the protection of people displaced across borders by disasters and the effects of climate change. Along with 108 other countries, Australia endorsed its Protection Agenda in 2015, leading to a range of partnerships between policymakers, practitioners and researchers as part of the follow-up Platform on Disaster Displacement.

The director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, Jane McAdam, has worked with Nansen and similar initiatives for more than a decade, and advocates Nansen’s “toolbox approach”. Solutions range from better supporting disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, to developing humanitarian visas in the immediate aftermath of disasters and offering new migration opportunities such as “labour visas, educational visas, bilateral free movements agreements”.

While forced climate migrants are often incorrectly referred to as “climate refugees” – a term that would require persecution – the issues are distinct in a legal sense. The first person to seek asylum on the grounds of climate change, Ioane Teitiota, of Kiribati, lost his New Zealand application in 2015.

McAdam says there is no political appetite to change the United Nations’ refugee convention definition. While there is scope to expand the definition of refoulement, governments are better suited to developing new migration opportunities.

“It’s interesting that both the Lowy Institute and the Menzies Research Centre – two think tanks, one more conservative, the other less conservative – along with the World Bank, all in the last six months or so, have each recommended that Australia enhance migration opportunities from the Pacific,” she says.

“They say this would really make a huge difference to development and assistance generally, livelihoods generally, than would humanitarian assistance – it would cost us a lot less, and it would yield a lot more.”

While Labor offered more overt leadership on the issue while in opposition in 2006, specifically in terms of training islanders for skilled migration programs, neither Coalition nor Labor governments have since restructured our migration system to the extent McAdam recommends.

“Both Labor and the Coalition [are saying,] ‘Let’s look at this as more of a development foreign assistance issue, rather than something that’s got to do with migration per se.’

“But it’s not an either/or; it’s a whole combination of different strategies that are required, and that requires a whole of government approach.”

Despite Rakova’s work, which led to a Pride of PNG award in 2008, the Carteret group is struggling to fund homes for the final two families, who are sharing houses, let alone start resettling the remaining 1700 volunteers meant to migrate over the next five years. She says the delay, exacerbated by intercultural challenges and the emotional toll of abandoning ancestral homes, is causing anxiety.

“Basically people are beginning to really think about moving back because relocation is very slow.”

Rakova points to US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord as a frustrating example of high-polluting nations declining their responsibility.

“I would really like to urge President Trump to think twice about the destruction that climate change is causing the lives of the most vulnerable people.

“Communities who have not contributed to the impacts of climate change are being destroyed by climate change. Why should we suffer?”

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Aug 19, 2017 as “Topical islands”. Subscribe here.