Bougainville Women’s News: USA and Japan Support Bougainville’s Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency….

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We are so grateful to the U.S. Embassy for linking us up with the Japanese Embassy to make this possible,This grant will allow us to rebuild our center and redouble our efforts to support the women of Bougainville.”

Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency Director, Helen Hakena,

Picture: Helen Hakena shakes hands with Japanese Ambassador Morio Matsumoto and U.S Ambassador Walter North following the grant singing

On January 21, 2015, U.S. Ambassador Walter North attended a signing ceremony to celebrate the Japanese government’s awarding of a grant worth USD $81,252 (approximately PGK202,000) to build a new Human Resource Center for Bougainville-based NGO Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency.

Awarded through the Japanese government’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP), the grant contract was signed by Japanese Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Morio Matsumoto, and by Mrs. Helena Hakena from the Laitana Nehan Women’s Development Center.

“Today’s signing ceremony will not only strengthen the friendship between the people of Japan and Papua New Guinea,” said Japanese Ambassador Morio Matsumoto, “but will also help foster future strategic partnership on gender equality and women’s empowerment between Papua New Guinea, the United States, and Japan.”

“We are so grateful to the U.S. Embassy for linking us up with the Japanese Embassy to make this possible,” said Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency Director, Helen Hakena, “This grant will allow us to rebuild our center and redouble our efforts to support the women of Bougainville.”

Since its office was burned down in 2010, Leitana Women has been doing amazing work out of temporary quarters, and has had to improvise to find space to hold counseling and workshops funded by the United States and other donors. The new center will provide critically needed office and training space for the organization.

U.S. Ambassador North said “The United States and Japan are deeply committed to empowering women in Papua New Guinea and eliminating violence against women. I applaud the Government of Japan for its leadership on these issues. We look forward to future joint initiatives, including collaborating on the PNG Women’s Forum in March.”

The U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have supported work by Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency to carry out training workshops and activities on gender and human rights awareness, peace building engagements, and good governance capacity.

By bougnews Posted in Women

Bougainville Women’s News: Strengthening the participation of women in Bougainville’s development

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The Challenge: Prior to the conflict, Bougainville women played vital roles in community-level decision-making and were key agents of development. Overall, women held important positions in the family and community. Since the conflict this role has been weakened, resulting in women being marginalised from community decision-making processes. Further, during the conflict, women suffered violence as victims of torture, rape, and forced labour. The weakened capacity of women as agents of development within their communities and the low capacity of government departments working at the local level are widely viewed as significant challenges to development efforts

View the World Bank Website for more

Overview

Located at the eastern-most point of the New Guinea islands, Bougainville comprises two large and many smaller islands. It has a population of approximately 200,000 and over a dozen different languages. A province of Papua New Guinea since 1975, Bougainville is now an autonomous region within the country — the result of a nine-year revolt that left tens of thousands killed, a divided and traumatised population, degraded infrastructure, and a shattered economy brought on by the collapse of its main industry, mining.

Solution               

The Inclusive Development in Post-Conflict Bougainville project will benefit women and women’s organisations across the autonomous region as well as communities where projects are implemented and the individuals and agencies who are trained under the project.

The project consists of three components:

  1. Building Capacity for Inclusive Community Development; training women’s organisations and civil society organisations to support the involvement of women in community development. Training is provided for staff in the government, district and sub-district levels.
  2. Small Grants for Inclusive Community Development; women’s groups are invited to apply the concepts and skills they have learned from training directly to the design and implementation of community-based projects through the availability of small grants.
  3. Project Management and Knowledge Sharing.

 

Results

Through component 1, training has been delivered to 450 participants, exceeding the goal of 400 in the implementation plan.  Over two thirds of the participants have been women, exceeding the target of about 40%.  There were 51 participants from the Public Service which exceeds the goal of 46 as well as 190 participants from CSOs which exceeded the goal of 152.

Through component 2, small grants have been awarded to 41 women’s groups, including at least one project in each of Bougainville’s 13 districts. People benefitting from completed grant projects are estimated at over 48,000, nearly 25% of the population.

An Independent Monitoring Group concluded that public goods from the project are reaching communities with overall sound management of funds and that women’s roles are being strengthened through their direct management, ownership and leadership in the whole process.

 

Bank contribution

The World Bank (State and Peace-building Fund) has contributed US$2.5 million for this project

 

Moving forward

With the project currently set to close in March 2015, plans are underway to secure additional financing to extend the project to March 2018. Additional financing would support the provision of two more rounds of small grants to women’s groups, one per round for each of the 41 Community Governments.  Training would continue to build the capacity of women’s groups while also engaging District officials and Community Government leaders more actively in development planning monitoring and implementation support.

Promotion/Advertising : Donate here to support www.bookgainville.com educating young girls throughout Bougainville

Bookgainville  Project on Bougainville PNG

 

Bougainville Education News : Can Innovative SMS stories improve English literacy in Bougainville ?

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With Bougainville leading the way in the use of digital technology to improve literacy though the use of Bookgainville Kindles currently being introduced to 15 Bougainville schools in 2015 by James Tanis and Simon Pentanu, its time we investigated other cost efficient technologies such as daily mobile phone text message stories that could improve English teaching and ultimately, children’s reading.

Given the many great challenges facing Bougainville’s education sector, its low current capacity to meet these challenges,
and the fact that ‘business as usual’ is not working, while at the same time Kindle and mobile phone use has been growing rapidly across society, might ICTs, and specifically kindles and mobile phones, offer new opportunities to help meet many long-standing, ‘conventional’ education needs

We welcome your comments and support

SEE Bougainville leads the way Previous article

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Picture above leaders of the education revolution promoting Bookgainville Internationally to attract donations

From 500ways Education News

The majority of primary school children in Papua New Guinea (PNG) are unable to read English, a fact that’s exacerbated by limited access to literacy resources in schools across the country. In partnership with the PNG Department of Education, VSO successfully trialled a programme to see if daily mobile phone text message stories could improve English teaching and ultimately, children’s reading. Read about the programme’s success below.

Tackling literacy levels with technology                                                                                                                       

Like many schools in Papua New Guinea, Bunamgl School has virtually no access to reading materials, making teaching and learning English an enormous challenge. It is among several rural primary schools in the coastal region of Madang which took part in a research project to see whether sending daily stories to teachers via daily text messages could help improve children’s reading. Over a period of 100 days, a daily lesson plan and short story was sent to teachers by text message. The teacher would then write the story on the board, and teach that story to the children. While books and teaching materials are scarce in Papua New Guinea, nearly every teacher has a mobile phone.

“We were really finding it difficult to teach English to our children,” said one teacher, “but these SMS stories encouraged students to come to school every day expecting a new story. They help us teach and make it more enjoyable for us teachers as well as the children.”

SMS Story was designed by VSO’s education programme manager Richard Jones in collaboration with VSO volunteers and local education specialists to support children in reading English, incorporating phonics and keywords. There was no formal training involved so teachers were given a cartoon poster that explained how to use the text messages. For 20 weeks, 50% of teachers received a daily SMS story and a lesson plan via mobile phone, while the other half did not and the children’s reading was assessed before and after the trial. The research was led by a VSO volunteer Nasiib Kaleebu with a team of young Papua New Guinean researchers.

“SMS Stories cut down on our work-load especially for drawing up the lesson plans” explains a teacher at another participating school. “During the few weeks of the SMS Stories, students were reading and also learning to write their own stories” adds a teacher from Kunabau.

Success of SMS stories

After two academic terms, classes which received the daily SMS stories recorded a significant improvement in children’s reading skills compared to other schools. There were also major differences in the teaching and learning strategies used by the teachers. SMS stories recorded a 50% increase in the number of children who could read English. VSO volunteer Alison Gee helped coordinate the project,

“It was a humbling experience and I was fortunate to be part of a team that made such a significant difference to those teachers and children. When we visited the participating schools, the children, parents and teachers were all determined to show us how well their children could read. Parents came to the schools to thank us, some had never learnt to read themselves but wanted their children to do well at school and saw the importance of the initiative.”

Following the trial, some teachers said they would like this approach built into the curriculum and the stories and lesson plans are being included in the new national PNG curriculum.

“Schoolteachers here are very hard working but they get very little training, so this is a way of structuring their lessons for them” adds Richard Jones, VSO education programme manager.

In the absence of reading materials and materials to help plan lessons, SMS Stories provides a simple and low-cost way to raise literacy levels. The cost was K2.01 per child (50p) and it is estimated this cost would drop further if the project is scaled up, as Richard Jones explains, “It’s a very cheap way of getting reading materials to schools – we found that no one has ever done this anywhere else in the world.”

Bougainville should be promoting literacy with mobile phones ?

Last year I spent some time in Papua New Guinea (or PNG, as it is often called), where the World Bank is supporting a number of development projects, and has activities in both the ICT and education sectors. For reasons historical (PNG became an independent nation only in 1975, breaking off from Australia), economic (Australia’s is by far PNG’s largest export market) and geographical (the PNG capital, Port Moresby, lies about 500 miles from Cairns, across the Coral Sea), Australia provides a large amount of support to the education sector in Papua New Guinea, and I was particularly interested in learning lessons from the experiences of AusAid, the (now former) Australian donor agency.

For those who haven’t been there: PNG is a truly fascinating place. It is technically a middle income country because of its great mineral wealth but, according to the Australian government, “Despite positive economic growth rates in recent years, PNG’s social indicators are among the worst in the Asia Pacific. Approximately 85 per cent of PNG’s mainly rural population is poor and an estimated 18 per cent of people are extremely poor. Many lack access to basic services or transport. Poverty, unemployment and poor governance contribute to serious law and order problems.”

Among other things, PNG faces vexing (and in some instances, rather unique) circumstances related to remoteness (overland travel is often difficult and communities can be very isolated from each other as a result; air travel is often the only way to get form one place to another: with a landmass approximately that of California, PNG has 562 airports — more, for example, than China, India or the Philippines!) and language (PNG is considered the most linguistically diverse country in the world, with over 800 (!) languages spoken). The PNG education system faces a wide range of challenges as a result. PNG ranks only 156th on the Human Development Index and has a literacy rate of less than 60%.  As an overview from the Australian government notes,

“These include poor access to schools, low student retention rates and issues in the quality of education. It is often hard for children to go to school, particularly in the rural areas, because of distance from villages to schools, lack of transport, and cost of school fees. There are not enough schools or classrooms to take in all school-aged children, and often the standard of school buildings is very poor. For those children who do go to school, retention rates are low. Teacher quality and lack of required teaching and educational materials are ongoing issues.”

[For those who are interested, here is some general background on PNG from the World Bank, and from the part of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that used to be known as AusAid, a short report about World Bank activities to support education in PNG from last year and an overview of the World Bank education project called READ PNG.]

If you believe that innovation often comes about in response to tackling great challenges, sometimes in response to scarcities of various sorts, Papua New Guinea is perhaps one place to put that belief to the test.

Given the many great challenges facing PNG’s education sector, its low current capacity to meet these challenges,
and the fact that ‘business as usual’ is not working, while at the same time mobile phone use has been growing rapidly across society,
might ICTs, and specifically mobile phones, offer new opportunities to help meet many long-standing, ‘conventional’ needs

in perhaps ‘unconventional’ ways?

A small research project called SMS Story has been exploring answers to this question.

Project overview

In the words of a very interesting impact assessment report [pdf] that was recently released (those pressed for time may just wish to make due with the executive summary [pdf]),

“The aim of the SMS Story research project was to determine if daily mobile phone text message stories and lesson plans would improve children’s reading in Papua New Guinea (PNG) elementary schools. […] The stories and lesson plans were designed to introduce children to reading English and followed an underlying phonics and key word based methodology. Teachers in the trial received a cartoon poster explaining how to use the daily text messages and received a total of 100 text message stories and 100 related text message lessons for two academic terms. They did not receive any in-service training. Research was conducted in rural elementary schools in two provinces, Madang and Simbu, and has involved a baseline reading assessment, mid-point lesson and classroom observations and an end-point reading assessment.”

Results and impact

The project, which was funded by the Australian Government and designed and managed by Voluntary Services Overseas, in partnership with the PNG Department of Education, was implemented as a small controlled experiment utlizing the popular Frontline SMS tool.

Some key results observed include (I am quoting directly from the evaluation report):

[-] Children who did not receive the SMS Story were approximately twice as likely to be unable to read a single word of three sub-tests (decodable words, sight words and oral reading). In other words the intervention almost halved the number of children who could not read anything compared with the control schools.

[-] The research did not find a statistically significant improvement in reading comprehension and generally children showed low reading comprehension skills in both grades and little progression between grade 1 and 2.

[-] All participating schools had very few reading books, if any, available in the classroom.

[-] In the absence of reading materials and scripted lessons in elementary schools SMS Story provides a simple and cheap strategy for raising reading standards.

The evaluation also notes that:

[-] There remained a worryingly large number of children who scored zero on the tests, particularly in grade 1, even after the intervention.

As Amanda Watson, one of the researchers, commented in a recent interview about the project with Radio Australia, “I think the content was really important, because no one involved in this trial would suggest that schools shouldn’t have books. We all would like to see more books in schools, but the reality is that in these schools there are very few books and so the content created a lot of enjoyment for both teachers and students.”

In addition to whatever value the content itself offered, Watson noted another benefit: “the teachers were actually receiving materials and ideas and suggestions daily. So rather than perhaps being given a training manual a couple of years ago or having been given a guide at the start of the school year or something. The teachers actually received almost like a reminder to teach, a bit of a motivator to keep teaching and they received that every single day and we think that really helped them to realise that they’re supposed to be teaching reading every single day, five days a week.”

While most of the attention of developers and researchers excited by potential uses of mobile phones in education focus on the creation and usage of various ‘mobile apps’ on smartphones, lessons from SMS Story project remind us that, in some of the most challenging environments in the world — especially rural ones — the existing infrastructure of low end phones offers opportunities for creative and innovative groups who wish to engage with teachers and learners in these communities. The results may not be ‘transformational’ on their own, and doing this sort of thing may not win any style points among the ‘cool kids’ in technology-saturated capital cities in much of the ‘developed world’ interested in the ‘latest and greatest’. That said, the best technology is often the one you already have, know how to use, and can afford. In a rural school in Papua New Guinea today, that technology is usually a mobile phone. In many other similar communities around the world, it may be well.

Those who would like more information about the SMS Story project may wish to read the full report on the VSO web site and/or a related paper [pdf] published by the researchers involved.


You may also be interested in the following post from the EduTech blog
, which draws on experiences and lessons from places like Papua New Guinea:
[-] 10 principles to consider when introducing ICTs into remote, low-income educational environments

DONATE TODAY a few kina or dollars to help our Bougainville Education revolution BOOKGAINVILLE

Bookgainville  Project on Bougainville PNG

 

Bougainville International News: USA Pacific fleet partnership to benefit Bougainville

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BY JENNIFER NKUI

A site survey team from the United States Pacific Fleet will be arriving in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville this week.
According to a statement from the US embassy in Port Moresby, the team hopes to survey potential areas for U.S assistance in Arawa, Central Bougainville under a programme called the Pacific Partnership.


Pacific Partnership was founded to deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster resilience to the pacific nations following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
Its potential activities range from medical, dental, veterinarian care to construction projects and crisis response training. Papua New Guinea benefited most recently in Wewak and Vanimo in 2013 and this year’s engagement is planned for Bougainville and Rabaul.


The programme as revealed by the statement is a great opportunity to expand people to people ties with the United States and deliver benefits for the people of Bougainville.

Bougainville News: Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to address concerns on Bougainville visit

 

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Put simply, this vote will determine whether Bougainville pushes ahead for full independence or chooses to remain an autonomous region of PNG.

Yet the complexity of the issues in Bougainville, and as between the ABG and PNG, means that as the referendum date draws nearer, Bougainville will again inevitably feature prominently in Australia’s foreign policy considerations.

The process of negotiation between the ABG and PNG is fraught with difficulties as there appear to be deeply entrenched differences over the future of Bougainville, the possibility of reopening the Panguna mine and the direction of economic and social development.

I believe that this region should be Australia’s highest foreign policy priority and that is why I am spending as much time as I am able to do making contact, engaging with people, listening to them and talking about issues of concern.”

Julie Bishop speaking in 2012 after her trip to Bougainville : Has her views changed ?

Picture: Julie Bishop a friend of Bougainville for many years recently hosted Autonomous #Bougainville Government MPs Joan Jerome, Rose Pihei, Elizabeth Burain in her Canberra Office

Fresh from a trip to the International Climate change in Peru South America Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will today travel to Papua New Guinea and Bougainville

The Minister will co-chair the annual Australia-Papua New Guinea Ministerial Forum, and Business Dialogue and travel to Bougainville where she will meet political and community leaders to discuss the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement and visit Australian aid-funded projects in Buka and Arawa.

Speaking on Sky News Australia this morning (December 14) the Minster said she was concerned about the upcoming referendum on Bougainville independence .

Ms Bishop said Bougainville wanted a referendum on independence next year but she did not believe it or PNG would be ready for a referendum for some time. “I want to meet with the autonomous Bougainvillian government and talk to them about their expectations,” she said.

Asked if she was concerned about a resurgence of violence on Bougainville, Ms Bishop said that had always been a possibility.

“Unless the PNG government and the autonomous Bougainvillian government can sort out their differences and work closely together, I think it is going to be a challenge for Australia and New Zealand and other countries who are responsible, if you like, for this part of the world.”

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SEE VIDEO of her interview HERE

Included in this post below are background information on Julie Bishop and her thoughts on Bougainville’s Future  including

What was Julie Bishop saying about Bougainville in 2012 as opposition spokesperson?

Interview with Radio Australia about her Bougainville trip in 2012

Minister Bishop will be joined by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison, Minister for Defence David Johnston and Minister for Justice Michael Keenan.

“The participation of four senior members of the Coalition reflects the strength and depth of the relationship the Australian Government shares with our closest neighbour.” She said

Forum discussions will focus on key areas of bilateral cooperation, including defence and policing cooperation, the implementation of the Regional Resettlement Arrangement, how Australia is assisting PNG to host APEC in 2018, and strengthening PNG’s public service through improved education and training.

Minister Bishop said she  look forward to co-chairing the annual Ministerial Forum Business Dialogue, which enables the business community to discuss with Ministers ways to further strengthen trade and investment links between our two countries.

Following the Ministerial Forum, Minister will travel to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville – the first visit to Bougainville by an Australian Foreign Minister since 2000.

End Press Coverage

Speaking in advance of trip a Bougainville elder had this word of advice for Julie Bishop

“Tell Julie Bishop many of us can understand where she is coming from (from Canberra in Australia) where political correctness is on the lips of politicians. But there are times when politicians are best advised not to come out in public space and view about Bougainville because there are others that will not understand encrypted political messages and even others that will see her as stifling a cause for which people lost their lives.

Sensitivities and knowing what to say, how to say it, when to say it and in the company of who to say it has played a major part in rebuilding Bougainville. It’s challenging and the people of Bougainville will say they don’t need the only LNP women Minister throwing too many spanners into the works in a male dominated work-shop designed and run largely by men. Julie is a friend of Bougainville but she is also Australia’s Foreign Minister.”

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Background

What was Julie Bishop saying about her Bougainville trip in 2012 as opposition spokesperson

See Video Link Bishop and Rudd exchange comments about Bougainville 2012

The range of complex issues surrounding Papua New Guinea’s national election have been widely commented on by Australian media and politicians – some more helpful and diplomatic than others.

In the week before Easter I visited PNG – my second extended visit to the country in the past 9 months – accompanied by Queensland federal colleagues Senator Ian Macdonald, Jane Prentice MP and Ewen Jones MP.

We held discussions with Prime Minister O’Neill, senior members of his Cabinet, the Leader of the Opposition, the Chief of the PNG Defence Force, the Police Commissioner and the PNG Election Commissioner, amongst others, on the many and varied challenges associated with the election.

Papua New Guinea is a democracy and as a member of the Commonwealth of Nations is committed to regular parliamentary elections and strong democratic institutions, yet recent political events have been challenging.

Current indications are that the election will be held mid year with hopefully many of the constitutional issues surrounding the composition of the government and a dispute with the judiciary being resolved by PNG voters at the ballot box.

What is less well known is that there is another vote that will take place in the coming years in Bougainville, an autonomous region of PNG, that is potentially of far greater significance to PNG and the broader region than the general election this year.

The Bougainville Peace Agreement signed in 2001 between the PNG Government and the leaders of Bougainville brought a formal end to a civil war that had cost many lives in Bougainville over decades.

Bitter conflicts over land rights, the closure of the mainstay of the local economy in the Panguna mine in the late 1980s and a nascent secession movement has meant that Bougainville has presented a challenge to the fragile nature of PNG nationhood and its politics since PNG independence in 1975.

However, part of the 2001 Agreement, which was brokered in part by the Howard Government, provides for a referendum to be held between 2015 and 2020 on the question of Bougainville’s independence from PNG.

Various conditions must be met prior to the referendum, notably the disposal of weapons currently held in Bougainville and an acceptable standard of governance achieved by the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG).

Put simply, this vote will determine whether Bougainville pushes ahead for full independence or chooses to remain an autonomous region of PNG.

Yet the complexity of the issues in Bougainville, and as between the ABG and PNG, means that as the referendum date draws nearer, Bougainville will again inevitably feature prominently in Australia’s foreign policy considerations.

The process of negotiation between the ABG and PNG is fraught with difficulties as there appear to be deeply entrenched differences over the future of Bougainville, the possibility of reopening the Panguna mine and the direction of economic and social development.

As Anthony Regan, a leading expert on Bougainville, has stated, the starkly different views that are held by Bougainville leaders and the PNG Government, gives rise “to possibilities of conflict over the referendum outcome”.

Aware of the challenges facing Bougainville and the importance of engaging with all relevant parties at the earliest opportunity, our trip to Papua New Guinea included a number of days in Bougainville to gain a deeper understanding of the complex web of cultural, social, economic and political issues that lie at the heart of the referendum question.

During our stay in Buka, we met with leaders of the ABG including President John Momis and Vice-President Patrick Nisira to discuss progress of the peace process, weapons disposal and economic development.

While the 2001 Agreement resulted in the destruction of many weapons used in the civil war, there are fears that a significant number of weapons are still held in the community.

Further, the military ordnance left in southern Bougainville by the United States during the Second World War in the Pacific is an ever present danger.

We made a seven hour round journey by boat and four-wheel drive to Arawa, the pre-civil war capital of Bougainville, to meet with people involved in the reconciliation process including members of the ABG Regional Administration and a representative from the Me’ekamui people, a tribe who had not taken part in the 2001 Agreement.

The reality of the civil war and the bridges that have to be crossed before the referendum can take place were brought home to me in our meeting with former members of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, Sam Kauona and Ishmael Toroama.

Sam Kauona, a Bougainvillean but also an Australian Army trained former PNG Defence Force lieutenant and explosives expert, who became one of the most feared guerrilla fighters in the civil war, told me that he had been “rehabilitated” and that he was now committed to peace and reconciliation.

However he was also deeply committed to an independent Bougainville and he is not alone in his views.

We saw the work funded by Australia’s foreign aid program to improve basic infrastructure across the islands, as well as improving governance, education and health standards. However, the massive challenge of achieving an independent Bougainville should not be underestimated.

Whether the preconditions for the referendum will be met within the timeframe remains to be seen, but this will be a crucial test for the people of Bougainville and the PNG Government.

Australia must be, and be seen to be, deeply committed to the peace and reconciliation process in the lead up to 2015 and beyond.

Interview with Radio Australia 2012

JULIE BISHOP    It is my first visit to Bougainville but it is part of a trip to Papua New Guinea and Bougainville, and I have brought a number of my parliamentary colleagues with me. And we arrived in Buka in Bougainville this morning. We have met with the Vice President and with the Chief Administrator and a number of senior officials. We will be staying overnight this evening and then going to Arawa tomorrow, we will spend another night in Bougainville on Thursday and then return to Papua New Guinea on Friday.

HELENE HOFMAN    Did anything arise from the meetings that you had this morning?

JULIE BISHOP    They have been very significant meetings because I have been given an update about the post conflict challenges in Bougainville. One issue that keeps being raised with me is the weapons disposal programs and the challenges ahead for the autonomous government to try and get the weapons containment under control.

Your listeners will be aware that there is a proposed referendum on independence to be held as part of the Bougainville peace process sometime before 2020, between 2015 and 2020, and one of the issues that must be confronted before the referendum can be held is the weapons disposal. And that is an issue that is really exercised in the minds of those in leadership positions here.

HELENE HOFMAN    And you’re due to meet with President Momis tomorrow, is that something you’ll bring up with him or do you have other issues that are on the agenda?

JULIE BISHOP    I will be meeting with President Momis in the morning. As well as the issue of weapons disposal we will be talking about peace and reconciliation post conflict. I also want to discuss the effectiveness of Australia’s aid program into PNG and Bougainville. I propose discussing with him some of the challenges that Bougainville faces in terms of its budget and the revenues that Bougainville is able to derive, and also some opportunities for opening the Panguna mine again and other mining and resource projects that are being considered here. And we will also talk about other ways to expand the economy and ways that Australia can assist through AusAID and other means.

HELENE HOFMAN    President Momis has repeatedly said he would like to see more Australian aid for Bougainville, what is your stance on that?

JULIE BISHOP    Well that is one of the reasons that I have come here in my capacity as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, I want to understand far better the challenges facing the people of Bougainville. And that is why we are spending two and a half, nearly three days here so that we can meet people who are recipients of aid, understand whether it is having the desired impact.

We have met with the Catholic Bishop today, we are now meeting with one of the Sisters, Sister Lorraine’s organisation out here in Chabai, and trying to understand from them what more is needed in terms of support for health, education, as well as infrastructure.

HELENE HOFMAN    Have you had to field any questions about why the Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr hasn’t yet visited the region?

JULIE BISHOP    I have certainly had to field questions in Port Moresby about Senator Carr’s recent comments concerning sanctions on PNG should an election not be held and I have been reassured on many occasions by every level of government in PNG that the national elections will go ahead as constitutionally required.

And so it is unfortunate that Senator Carr made those comments but he has admitted that they were wrong and I would encourage him to visit PNG and Bougainville as soon as he is able.

There is no substitute for actually spending time here. In the last eight months I have spent a week in PNG, I have spent time on the Solomon Islands and now another week in Papua New Guinea and Bougainville.

And so I believe that this region should be Australia’s highest foreign policy priority and that is why I am spending as much time as I am able to do making contact, engaging with people, listening to them and talking about issues of concern.

 

 

 

 

 

Bougainville “good news” Story: 2014 has been a very progressive year for Central Bougainville

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The current government’s free education policy has seen increase in the number enrolments at schools around Central Bougainville. Numbers of schools are also on the increase and this means that more money must continue to put into education every year. Bougainville has missed out on education during the crisis and we have to bridge the gap created when children could not go to school during the troubled period.

What we need is a broader based economy instead of just relying on extractive industries that may run out one day. One of the biggest assets Bougainville has is its people who are creative and innovative. This is why there must be emphasis in putting a lot of money into education.

Picture above : A new classroom building funded by member for Central Bougainville, Jimmy Miringtoro at Raiovi Primary School Wakunai District, Our thanks to Chris Baria for assistance with this article

Good things ahead-On the Sunny Side

This year 2014 has been a very progressive year for Central Bougainville. The region started the year on a positive note with the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O’Neill visiting all three regions of Bougainville including Central. During his visit he made a commitment to the people of Bougainville to fund high impact projects, several of which are in Central Bougainville.

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These are the water and sanitation restoration for Arawa Town, the Aropa Airport re-opening and the other major project is of course the sealing of Bougainville Coastal Trunk from Buka to Buin.

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This is a clear indication of commitment that the National Government with the support our four Bougainville MPs has a strong desire to see the Autonomous Region of Bougainville prosper in the coming years.

We have come a long way since the peace agreement was signed and there is a lot to be done as yet for Bougainville to achieve what was agreed to in the peace process. In Central Bougainville we have devoted a lot of time and money in improving education by providing more classrooms to accommodate ever increasing number enrolments in schools in the bid to bridge the gap left by the Bougainville crisis.

Education is one of the priority sectors that the government is putting money into along with Health, Infrastructure Development, Law and Order and Business Development. Health centers and aid-posts are also receiving funds from my electoral office. The police in Arawa have benefited from a vehicle allocation from the office of Member for Central as part of his community efforts to enhance the law and order sector. Funding has also been made available to the local Business Association as a form of assistance to grow small businesses in Central Bougainville.

Rural Communications Project and Integrated Government Information System (IGIS)

The government has already rolled out a rural communications project. You many have noticed new towers set up in areas that were not formerly serviced by mobile phone network. By the end of 2015 the government hopes that Bougainville will have more than 50% mobile network coverage that will include data, Internet and telephony. By 2016 Bougainville should have 100% mobile network coverage including remote and rural locations, which are not service by roads.

The main aim of the Rural Communications Project is to provide access to telecommunications and other ICT services including TV, internet, FM Radio and Data storage and transmission to rural and remote locations that lack these services.

The government has also established the “integrated government information system” or IGIS for short. This is the forerunner of e-government for Papua New Guinea. Under this ICT infrastructure all government departments and divisions will be interlinked through a computer network, which also has a data bank. This will prevent duplication and enable data and information sharing with ease.

Information can be stored at central location where those who need it and/or if they require it. The Rural Communication Project roll out will establish communication network that will become integrated into IGIS and link up all local level governments with the main government network and data center. This will mean that leaders will have to be more transparent in their work because the people will be able to monitor their performance online through IGIS.

Supporting sustainable development

Papua New Guinea is heavily reliant on logging, minerals, oil and gas for its revenue generation. These industries while they may bring economic boom to a country do have large problems associated with them and for one thing they are non-renewable, and finite and therefore unsustainable. Central Bougainville has had its taste of mining activity during the 70s and 80s.

What we need is a broader based economy instead of just relying on extractive industries that may run out one day. One of the biggest assets Bougainville has is its people who are creative and innovative. This is why there must be emphasis in putting a lot of money into education.

The current government’s free education policy has seen increase in the number enrolments at schools around Central Bougainville. Numbers of schools are also on the increase and this means that more money must continue to put into education every year. Bougainville has missed out on education during the crisis and we have to bridge the gap created when children could not go to school during the troubled period.

Kindles a revolutionary literacy tool in Bougainville schools

In another first for Central Bougainville and in fact Papua New Guinea,James Tanis (former Bougainville President) has established Book-Gain-Ville E reader Revolution in a number of schools in Central Bougainville including Nariana, St. Judes Pok Pok Island, Dareenai Kavearonau and Piruana .

It was launched as  an initiative to improve literacy throughout Bougainville.

Bookgainville.com

Each Kindle can hold up to 1,400 books and by the end of 2014 there will over 50 kindles in 11 Bougainville schools. To date there has been no government support but hopefully in 2015 with the support of Government and NGO’s more schools can get these E reader libraries

See Website for more details or make a donation  http://www.bookgainville.com/

Government Development Priorities

As part of its continuing commitment the National Government development policy covers five development sectors, which are in, line with its Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP). These are also applicable to Bougainville. These sectors are Health, Education, Infrastructure, Law and Order and Small Business. In line with this plan Bougainville MPs have funded a number of health facilities. In Central this includes Manetai and Wakunai Health Centres and a number of village level aid posts in the rural communities.

PiC 3

In the health sector, the office of MP for in Central has also funded ambulances to all major health centres in Central Bougainville. More money has been spent on building classrooms and other school infrastructure to cater for the increase in the number of enrolments over the years.

With regard to infrastructure, considerable amount of money is being used on feeder road maintenance including, for the first time a new road into remote and densely populated area in Paruparu previously inaccessible by road. A considerable level of funds has also allocated to restoration of Aropa Airport, which is about to be opened soon. PNG Power also received funding to provide power to Arawa town, Kieta port and to the new Kieta Distict entre in Toniva. Up to K1million has been committed to the Central Bougainville Business Association to assist small business in the region.

Looking ahead

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Children are our future

Lot of work has been done to provide much needed infrastructure such as roads, schools, and of course the soon be reopened Aropa Airport. Services such as health and education continue to more draw more funds from the government through my electoral office and the treasury.

A lot more needs to be done to improve current services and to build more roads and schools. The government is ready to help out in anyway it can. However, there are certain areas where the community can contribute to the development process. For example, in order for feeder roads to last longer, drains need to kept clear of debris and grass has to be cut along the roadside. A little preventive maintenance can make a lot of difference.

Same goes for schools. Parents and community must devote sometime to do maintenance work, cleaning and grass-cutting in the school areas. The community must help to look after what the government has provided for them. The government cannot be expected to do everything. In order for us to move ahead it requires joint effort by all.

Bougainville’s White Ribbon campaign to “Stop Violence Against Women”

WR

 BY JENNIFER NKUI

Women in Bougainville came together today to commemorate ‘White Ribbon Day’ and also to make their stance against ‘Violence against Women and Girls’.
The day’s programme started this morning at around 8:30am with a white ribbon breakfast at the Kuri Village Resort in Buka Town and a march from the resort through the streets of Buka Town to the Bel Isi Park where the official programme to commemorate the day was held.

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The march against violence against women was led by the three women members of the ABG House of Representatives, the ABG health minister Rose Pihei, member representing the women of North Bougainville Elizabeth Burain and member representing the women of Central Bougainville Joan Jerome. Present also for the day’s celebrations were Emily, Charley and Jeffery from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Hona Holan from the Bougainville Women’s Federation, Agnes Titus form UN Women, 22 male inmates from Bekut Correctional Institute, Bougainville Police Service personnel’s, staff from the law and justice sector and the general public.
As the first speaker of the day, Agnes Titus explained that the gathering together of both men and women today is purposely to act and campaign against the big common issue of violence against women and children. After recalling all the Bougainville women who have died as a result of violence, Mrs. Titus stressed that violence against girls and women is common in the region because women are not being respected by their male counterparts.
She added that currently in Bougainville, we have only three women members in the ABG House of Representatives but as women, we want more women in parliament because with more women in parliament, they can be able to look more at issues affecting women and also make laws to protect women as there is injustice going on everywhere.
When concluding her speech, Mrs. Titus stressed that Bougainville men should come forward and wear the white ribbon and make their commitment to be advocates against ‘Violence against Women and Girls’ in Bougainville.

 

 

By bougnews Posted in Women

Bougainville Government Update: New Public Service must now be responsive to the direction of Cabinet and the House

President Momis

“I am looking for to having these appointments made quickly and transparently. It is vital that the Administration gets down to work under the new Public Service structure and new leadership. Our government has a very full programme of infrastructure, economic development and social projects that need to be implemented down at the districts.” said President Momis.  “We have wasted too much time in the past and the Public Service must now be responsive to the direction of Cabinet and the House.”

President Momis as Chairman of the Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee

BOUGAINVILLE PUBLIC SERVICES SELECTION PROCESS BEGINS

President Momis has announced that the process for selecting the top level management for the ABG had commenced. Advertising closed just over two weeks ago.

“I am delighted to say that as a result of extensive advertising the ABG has received a large number of applications, over 160, from a wide range of candidates for the positions of Chief Secretary, 13 departmental heads and the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner. Most positions have over 10 applicants,” said the President.

President Momis went on to say “The Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee has approved a process that will see the shortlisted candidates for Chief Secretary interviewed by an independent panel of three people who will make their recommendations to the Committee. Preliminary interviews are taking place, and referee checks will be made. The Committee is planning to make an appointment before Christmas. The selection process is rigorous. There will be no outside interference in the process.”

“I am hoping and praying that the people we select for these positions imbued with the spirit of service to the people of Bougainville. They have to work together to change the culture of the Public Service. They need to earn the support of the people and change Bougainville to its former position of being the best performing and premier government in Papua New Guinea” said the President

Once the Chief Secretary is appointed the Senior Appointments Committee will meet in January and February next year to make the remaining appointments of departmental heads. This is a realistic timetable given the number of applicants and the background checks that have to be made in the next five weeks.

The Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee is made up of President Momis, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Andrew Miriki, Bishop Tim Arthur representing the churches, Mrs Hona Hollan appointed by the Bougainville Women’s Federation and appointed by the PNG Law Society Mr Hubert Kikira. Under Bougainville law the Committee will receive a report from the independent panel ranking the applicants. The Committee may then decide to reinterview the candidates but it does not have to. The Committee then selects the preferred candidate.

The position of Bougainville Electoral Commissioner will also be filled before Christmas. The Bougainville Constitution says that for constitutional offices the National Government must appoint two members to the Committee. The additional members are the Secretary of the Department of Personnel Management Mr John Kali and the PNG Electoral Commissioner Mr Andrew Trawen.

“I am looking for to having these appointments made quickly and transparently. It is vital that the Administration gets down to work under the new Public Service structure and new leadership. Our government has a very full programme of infrastructure, economic development and social projects that need to be implemented down at the districts.” said President Momis.  “We have wasted too much time in the past and the Public Service must now be responsive to the direction of Cabinet and the House.”

 

JOHN MOMIS, GCL, MHR,

PRESIDENT AND CHAIRMAN BOUGAINVILLE SENIOR APPOINTMENTS COMMITTEE

Tuesday 25 November 2014

 

Bougainville Women’s Federation Survey : Why young women aren’t showing an interest in leadership roles.

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A survey is being carried out of young women on Bougainville as part of a young women’s leadership programme.

The project is being undertaken by the Bougainville Women’s Federation and is trying to gauge why young women aren’t showing an interest in getting involved in women’s organisations and leadership roles.

President of the Bougainville Women’s Federation, Hona Holan (pictured above) , told Jamie Tahana the project is mainly to find out young women’s interests, and the barriers that keep them from getting involved.

FROM RADIO NZ listen to interview here

HONA HOLAN: We are coming together tomorrow to look at the results of the survey. By tomorrow we should put together the results. The survey was done by the young women of Bougainville with their siblings at the age of 18 to 35.

JAMIE TAHANA: Tell me a bit about this survey. You’ve surveyed how many young women of Bougainville and what did you ask them?

HH: The questions were on if they know about Bougainville Women’s Federation. If they work with other NGOs or church groups and if they are not involved with groups, what are their problems, what are their issues.

JT: Okay. And so this is to address a lack of women in leadership roles in Bougainville is it?

HH: That’s right. This Bougainville Women’s Federation, it’s looking at building the capacity of young women to be leaders of tomorrow. Like making space for them so that we mentor them and they can take our place when we move out of the leadership.

JT: Why do you think that is? That there aren’t so many women in leadership roles. What are the barriers here?

HH: Maybe the barriers are, young women are not interested in activities that we put out. Some questions that also went out to them is what are their interests or how we can get put their interests over so they can join in.

JT: Why is there no interest?

HH: We asked some of the questions around that and the young women were telling us that we are not giving them space. The older women, the mature women, are not giving them space, so that is what we found out from our survey.

JT: Once you get these results, what are you going to do from there?

HH: We are going to share it with the ABG and partners, like development partners, and then we can develop activities to affect, like building capacity and so on, we need to develop activities. It’s not easy because Bougainville Women’s Federation, we don’t have funding and it’s not easy so we need to share the results with other NGOs and the government of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea so we can all see what the young women are interested in. Some of the results are they need education, they need to further their education.

You can support the education of young girls and women by donating to our education revolution

DONATE HERE 20/50/100 $ or kina

2014-05-24 07.58.33

Bookgainville.com

Bougainville Education News :Essay competition is an opportunity for students to have their say about the Bougainville’s future

2014-05-26 12.56.40

A new essay competition for secondary and high school students in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville will provide youth with an opportunity to have their say about the future of the region.

Revised Closing date Friday 13 March 2015

The topic

“Is having a vote enough? What are citizens’ responsibilities in promoting and upholding democracy?”

aims to engage youth in discussion and what they see for their own future as Bougainvilleans.

Sponsored by the Australian High Commission in Papua New Guinea, the competition offers a laptop computer as a first prize.

The secondary and high school that the winning student attends will receive a Kindle (Can hold up to 1,400 books) from the Arawa based Bougainville E-reader Education Revolution Project that currently has 55 Kindles being distributed to 11 schools throughout Bougainville. SEE WEBSITE

Entries are open now and close on Friday 13 March 2015

The essay competition is open to all high school and secondary school students in Bougainville. Essays are to be 600 – 1000 words.

Entries can be mailed or submitted in person to the Australian High Commission Buka Office, Tsirin Motors Building, Haku Street, Buka or emailed to Public-Affairs-PortMoresby@dfat.gov.au

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Bookgainville  Project on Bougainville PNG