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

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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 Education News : Bringing training and qualifications to Bougainville!

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Some of the new members at Unity Public Library in Buka, Bougainville discovering their joy in reading. 

We are starting a training program in Bougainville! Working with the wonderful and ever supportive Deb from Tafe SA, we have been busy liaising back and forth by email talking about needs and logistics and all of the possibilities. After months of negotiating, the training proposal was written and submitted and we have been approved. Starting this week, our first round of students will begin their Certificate II in Customer Engagement with library electives.

Thanks to Lanies detour to Bougainville blog

The design of the qualification looked at selecting subjects that would be useful, interesting and relevant to securing employment here in Bougainville or indeed further afield. From ‘preparing the work environment for customers’ to ‘assisting with circulation activities’ the student will be learning about working in a customer service environment

The Bougainville Customer Engagement Training Program is a joint project between Unity Library, Haku Women’s Collective (HWC) and the Bougainville Integrated Community Learning Centre (BICLC- located in Southern Bougainville). The program is designed to provide much-needed educational opportunities which are lacking in Bougainville to committed and bright individuals. There is no age limit for admittance to the program, instead the focus has been on selecting individuals who are engaged in their local community; have a proven track record demonstrating their commitment through attendance/ working in their host organisation; and with whom each host organisation can see the potential for capacity development within each respective organisation for continued growth. 

In developing the training proposal with the educational service provider, the training coordinator (me) evaluated relevancy of qualifications in the work environment of Bougainville as well as accreditation. Key subject matter selected from both core and elective options and the integration of existing experience and work being done within each partnership organisation forms the basis of this program.

Each student makes a commitment to not only completing their studies as per the training contract, but also to engaging with their host organisation both within their studies but also contributing to their host organisation with hours worked and continued development of ‘on the job’ skill sets developed through the program. 

The key priorities during the program development was to evaluate and develop a learning framework that will be flexible and robust; qualifications that will be relevant and accredited; and that will be respectful of different learning styles and educational backgrounds considering student needs on an individual basis. Taken into consideration has been logical issues such as the geographic spread of the students, access to the training coordinator, and technological challenges.

The time commitment for the students varies depending on the study period they are in, though hours worked in their host organisation are set. The students will attend a training and study workshop once a month with the training coordinator and their fellow students which will focus on subject content for the study period, further development of computer literacy (which will be ongoing), and time to have one on one mentoring with the training coordinator. Mentoring and ongoing support will also occur within each partnership organisation and key people will be involved in this providing a more sustainable and well-rounded training program maximizing successful outcomes. 

Outcomes for the program are multiple and the program has been designed to ensure that the outcomes are relevant for the students, useful and long-lasting. It is anticipated that through completing the program, each student will be have enhanced computer and english literacy through both classwork and experience. The students will have opportunity to engage with each other and the joint partners thus increasing their networks and developing new relationships. Finally, the development of skills and knowledge, along with completion of the qualification leading to sense of achievement will build confidence and self-esteem for each student. 

The materials are printed, laptop is charged and we are ready for our first workshop tomorrow! Our first subject is ‘Communicate in the Workplace’ supported by cake for morning tea for expanding minds, and curry for stamina at lunch time. Stay tuned for photos and to hear how our students are going in this wonderful new program

Learn about the pilot literacy project on Bougainville founded by James Tanis  :Bookgainville

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Bougainville Education Futures: Kindle ereaders open up world of possibilities for kids on Bougainville

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An Australian scheme to get more children on Bougainville PNG  reading, using kindles, is hoping to expand its aid project.

Colin Cowell is an Australian with links to Bougainville PNG going back to 1970 where he worked in many training and management roles

Over his life he’s been involved in a number of aid projects, both in Papua New Guinea and Australia, and one current project he wants to ramp up is Bookgainville.

Picture above; Colin and  James Tanis launching Bookgainville May 2014:  School founder and Ex-President of Bougainville James stated that after two weeks of the school using Kindles ” The donation of 5 kindles to our school will change the lives of our students and teachers forever

SEE James Tanis interview on You TUBE

Full Name of School: Nariana Elementary School: Metonasi Class B Region: Nagovisi, Via Panguna ,Central Bougainville No of Students: 50

Under this scheme donates kindles to schools on Bougainville.

Mr Cowell told Don Wiseman RADIO NZ Bookgainville came about when he was approached by the former president of Bougainville, James Tanis, who was studying at the ANU in Canberra, to help get books to children in the region.

COLIN COWELL: And I said ‘Oh James the shipping rates to Bougainville are huge’. I have a background in technology. I said there has to be an easier way, and that is when I came across kindles. Each of the small kindles – they can hold up to 1400 books, for an Australian value of $99. So it is very very good value.

DON WISEMAN: You started raising money to provide these kindles and you were providing just a number for schools and kids were handing them around?

CC: Yes I have made a number of trips – I am semi-retired so I made a number of trips to PNG. And we set up a base in Arawa and we have a large database there. We use the idea that was developed here in Australia by the indigenous communities to encourage reading and literacy. They are very effective. Because young people they really like reading off an i-pad and it really encourages them to read. On my first trip up there I tried the kindles and we had kids reading 24 hours a day, just to get that knowledge and so forth, because they have very limited access to books. And so it has been very successful in improving their literacy.

DW: There are many schools on Bougainville aren’t there. Just how many?

CC: About 350. The population of Bougainville is about 300,000 and obviously they are very small schools. On my first trip up there we actually established some schools. They can build a school for about a $1000 New Zealand dollars. So we actually built a few schools as well. They had nowhere to actually learn, so we have facilitated the schools and teachers and so forth.

DW: So how many of these kindles have you provided so far?

CC: We have put out about five kindles per school and there are about 11 schools we have completed so far, in the early stages. We have got some educationalists assisting us in assessing literacy levels and so forth and that will probably occur over the next couple of months and then we can take it to the next level.

When you consider that if you bought the Harry Potter book it might cost you $NZ30, if you get a thousand books, that is $30,000 worth of books on one kindle – you know what I mean. So there are a lot of repositories around the world where we can get free books. So it is very cheap to get the books into the schools.

DW: Do you load the books on before they go up?

CC: We do. We have a database, and it is open access, books that we use. We have a database in Arawa, like a library system and people can top up from that particular library system.

DW: As you say, you are planning this – how big do you think you can go?

CC: I think we could do 100 schools. We are looking at new technologies at the moment. In Africa there is a world-wide organisation, called World Reader, that is actually recycling old phones, and putting the technology on old phones and then loading up the books onto old phones. So there is a lot of modern technology we are looking at at the moment.

World Reader is concentrating on Africa but we are negotiating with them to say that ‘Papua New Guinea we really need some educational levels raised’, so there are all sort of opportunities.

We have done this out of the kindness of our hearts. I have had friends in Australia, teachers, friends throughout Australia who have donated these kindles.

Another thing, we have got to do the feasibility study now to evaluate the project, and I think when people see the results of the evaluation, the cost efficiencies of developing the system, I think we will get some good international aid support.

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September 2014

Ms Lillian Ahai, Former Principal of Sogeri National High School, a core member of E Reader Leadership group presents kindles to Uruna Primary, Pokpok Island on behalf of Bookgainville, witnessed by James Tanis the Founder.

Project contact

Colin Cowell (Project manager) Email: colincowellredcent@hotmail.com 

Tel Australia 0401 331 251

International: +61401 331 251

Follow us on TWITTER @bookgainville

Bougainville Education News: Fundraising sports day in Panguna raises education funds for kindles

 

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“There are strong indications that the benefits of mobile reading like kindles are long-lasting and far-reaching, with the potential to improve literacy, increase education opportunities and change people’s lives for the better.

A revolution in reading is upon us…”

For now BookGainVille cannot afford to buy a kindle for every child but what we do afford to give every child here and now is the dream to have access to one

 James Tanis co-founder Bookgainville Education Revolution

The BookGainVille Cup Children’s Soccer kicked off last week at Kamex Children’s Field, Okangsira VA, Panguna District in Bougainville PNG

No uniforms, no boots and one soccer ball for both boys and girls.

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A humble beginning to a big dream to self-raise funds to buy kindles for every child in Bougainville schools.

Using e-readers (like the Amazon Kindle) and potentially recycled phones the BookGainVille project wants to provide Bougainville children and families access to hundreds of thousands of books, giving them an opportunity to change their lives.

In May 2014 the Kindle project was launched in Bougainville and 11 schools now have donated kindles ,the latest this month being the Guava School near Panguna (see picture below)

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The increasing ubiquity and diminishing costs of digital technology enabled BookGainville  to solve these problems in a simple and straight-forward way. Wherever possible, they will be building on digital platforms and mobile connectivity to make our books available to children and families who need them the most. To date they have been providing e-readers to schools in need through both sponsorships and sales.

In the first stage BookGainville has utilized Amazon Kindles that cost originally Aus$99.00 and can hold up to 1,400 books each. If you consider 1 hard copy of a book could cost say 35 Kina , that’s potentially 50,000 kina worth of books potentially on just one Kindle. Each school 250,000 kina of books

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BookGainVille will be actively curate books by Bougainville authors for our library. The more relevant and engaging a student’s first reads are, the more likely they are to continue learning and reading throughout their life

James Tanis continues to negotiate to ensure ABG adopts the kindle project for all Bougainville Schools . Recently Minister Michael Oni committed to funding kindles

The Bookgainville Cup and Kindles were donated by Colin Cowell, Simon Pentanu, Zhon Bosco and donors from PNG, Bougainville and International

Background to Bookgainville Education Project

In 2013 James Tanis the ex-President of Bougainville was studying at the Australian National  University and teamed up with Canberra based Colin Cowell a communications consultant (who had a 44 year  association with Bougainville)  to find a solution to the problem “that most Bougainville school children not have any books to read.”

James from the Nariana community (via Panguna) and his friend Simon Pentanu from Pokpok Island believed there were strong indications that the benefits of mobile reading technology could be long-lasting and far-reaching, with the potential to improve literacy, increase education opportunities  and change Bougainville students lives for the better

The need to improve literacy in Bougainville schools

According to UNESCO “Literacy is transformative: it increases earning potential, decreases inequality, improves health outcomes and breaks the cycle of poverty “.Yet there are still 740 million illiterate  people in this world and  in Bougainville there are many children of primary school age who lack basic reading and writing skills.

Books are necessary for the development of these skills, and still many schools in Bougainville have few or no books at all.

 The BookGainville education vision

BookGainVille Education project Leadership group will be the voice for

1.Students to do their best and achieve their best;

2.Parents to make education the first priority in the family;

3.Demand those in possession of arms to replace their guns with pens and papers;

4.Tell landowners to negotiate for educational scholarships instead of cash payouts as  compensation;

5.The political leaders to allocate the highest budget to education;

6.Reserve some resources now and leave some to our own children so that they will harvest when they acquire the technology,

7.Donors to advocate that education must form the highest portion of aid to   Papua New Guinea (Bougainville) and

8.Advocate for all groups that contribute to education and knowledge.

How can you donate a few dollars or kina ?

DONATE HERE

Bookgainville  Project on Bougainville PNG

 

Bougainville Political News: PM O’Neill wasn’t consulted over new Australian mission in Bougainville

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Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has said he was not consulted by Canberra over plans to set up a diplomatic post in Buka ,Bougainville, a politically sensitive autonomous region expected to hold a referendum on independence.

Report from The Australian online VIEW HERE

The federal government announced on Tuesday it would open five new overseas missions as part of this year’s national budget, including one at Buka in Bougainville.

Australian diplomats will also be dispatched to Doha, Mongolia and Phuket as Australia seeks to expand its footprint and spruik trade and investment opportunities.

But Mr O’Neill said there had been no consultation and no agreement to establish a post in Bougainville.

“We were shocked to learn from the budget documents that Australia is planning on establishing a diplomatic post in Bougainville,” Mr O’Neill said on a visit to Sydney today.

“I want to say that there has been no consultation on this proposal and there is no agreement to proceed,” he added.

“As we respect the territorial integrity of others, we expect others to respect ours as well.” He said that the region was a historically and politically sensitive area for PNG, with Bougainville voters expected to elect authorities in June who will call for a referendum on independence from the country as part of a 2001 peace agreement.

Under the agreement, Bougainville was promised the right to hold an independence referendum between 2015 and 2020.

It followed an almost decade-long, bitter guerilla war beginning in 1988 that claimed 10,000 lives.

The separatist conflict was the bloodiest in the Pacific since World War II, and ended when the New Zealand government helped broker a truce signed by all factions in 1997.

An Autonomous Bougainville Government was established in June 2005 as part of a United Nations-sponsored process.

O’Neill said that PNG Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato was requesting more information about Australia’s proposal.

Pato Thursday described the plan as “outrageous” and “mischievous”.

“I’ve directed the acting secretary to call in the Australian high commissioner to explain the media accounts of this mischievous proposal to open a foreign mission on Bougainville,” Pato said in a statement, local media reported.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop insisted the matter was discussed with the PNG government during a visit she made to the country last December.

“Australia has a significant and growing development program in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, which is almost 50 per cent higher than 2012/13, and will continue to partner with the PNG government in supporting economic growth throughout PNG,” her spokeswoman said.

Bougainville is home to the giant Panguna copper deposit. A Panguna mine run by Bougainville Copper, a subsidiary of Australian-listed Rio Tinto, was forced to close in 1989 during the conflict.

Rio Tinto has said the PNG government as well as Bougainville’s leadership were supportive of restarting operations at what is one of the South Pacific’s largest mines for copper and gold.

Bougainville Development News: Kieta has a rich history that is now flying

 

Bombadier Q400 named after Kieta

“THERE CAN ONLY COME POSITIVE LEGACIES FOR DEVELOPMENT FOR BOUGAINVILLE AFTER OPENING OF KIETA (AROPA) AIRPORT.” Simon Pentanu reports

The Bombadier Q400 under the cloudless Bougainville blue sky after its naming, parked and patiently waiting in full bloom like the dancing Raggiana Bird of Paradise displaying its colour and plumage.Foto credit: Bruce Mallar, PBA Inc.

With the effervescent sea breeze from the Solomon Sea soothing sweats and high humidity under the tropical noon day sun this Bird of Paradise was aptly named Kieta after a township that needed a huge spiritual lift after it descended into the abyss of sorts as many famous places often do in the confusion and decadence resulting from human conflicts.

Much of the early history of what is now Kieta District may be offshore somewhere in Germany in a historical, anthropological or natural museum and some bits and pieces may well be in Canberra. The old site of Kieta was the first German settlement where ruins and remnants of the old township still stand by the shores that form the Kieta harbour.

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PHOTO: A church tower and spire on pokpokisland. Foto credit: Simon Pentanu, PBA Inc.

The first Marist missionaries also landed here on August 7 1901 on Pokpok Island on a schooner that travelled from Faisi in the Shortland Islands in western Solomons. Kieta was also the headquarters of Bougainville District after the HQ was moved from Sohano Island near Buka. At the time Papua and New Guinea were jointly administered by Australia, the former German New Guinea as mandated territory under the United Nations and Papua annexed by Britain, as a protectorate or colony.

 Pangkaradomoto Reef (pre WW1 German navigation aid position)

An old German reef marker that had lamp markers, at the outer mouth of entrance into Kieta Harbour. Able bodied men from Pokpok Island were employed to paddle soil and gravelmix in canoe loads from Uruna Bay to the reef and were used to mix the concrete to erect this monolith which still stands innocuously stuck on Pangaradomoto reef. Foto credit: Simon Pentanu PBA Inc.

Kieta has a lot of history than we might care to find out. The efforts made by the National Government, ABG and the Aropa landowners adds to its more recent history with the reopening of Aropa for Air Niugini to commence normal commercial services after 24 years in the abyss. Last Friday 12 December 2014 was history capped with a huge gesture on the part of PNG’s Independent Public Business Corporation (IPBC) and Air Niugini management to name one of its the Q400 aircraft Kieta.

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Kieta today with Pok Pok Island (backleft) Photo Phil Staley

You can now fly back into the annals of history as Air Niugini resumes its service to Aropa (Kieta) this week.

As the Member for Central Bougainville Hon Jimmy Miringtoro MP said at Aropa, the opening is a huge relief for him and his people after many efforts over the last twelve years following the restoration of Peace on the Island.

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Prime Minister Peter O’Neil and President John Momis in auspicious pose after unveiling the name of the aircraft Kieta after and as part of the opening of Aropa airport

Foto credit: Bruce Mallar PBA Inc.

 

Bougainville News: Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop visits Buka and Arawa


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Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop arrived in Buka on Tuesday after chairing the annual Australia-Papua New Guinea Ministerial forum in Port Moresby.

Ms Bishop was accompanied by Australian High Commissioner to PNG Deborah Stokes and other dignitaries from the Australian government.

Story from Papua New Guinea Today and Pictures from Aloysius Laukai and Ishmael Milton Palipal

Read all Julie Bishop/ Bougainville background notes and watch Video interview here

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She was met at the Buka airport by the ABG Finance Minister Albert Punghau, Bougainville Regional MP Joe Lera and Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police in Bougainville Chief Superintendent Paul Kamuai at the foot of the plane before being led to the VIP lounge by the Kulubou cultural group dancers.

In welcoming the Australian minister ABG Health Minister Mrs Rose Pihei on behalf of the ABG thanked the Australian government for their long term assistance that has really helped in rebuilding Bougainville through the support in funding and human resource to see us through in our political future.

Ms Bishop said on behalf of the Australian Prime Minister and the government we want to see a peaceful, prosperous and safe Bougainville with a strong autonomous government as Australia and Bougainville are friends and we live in the same neighborhood.

“Since the conflict, Australia has provided continuous enormous support as we were witnesses to the Bougainville Peace Agreement and we want to assure that the BPA is implemented to the fullest extent,” said Ms Bishop.

“We were also supporting the Truce Monitoring Group (TMG) then the Peace Monitoring Group (PMG) from the outset and we have been focusing our support in the areas of education by providing new classrooms and teacher’s accommodation and we have already completed 20 schools in the region and in 2015 we will be looking at more schools,” said Ms Bishop.

She said health is another area of focus to roll out infrastructure to other hospitals and health centers so that people have better access to health care and we are also looking at improving the roads as most Bougainvilleans live within 7 kilometers away from the main roads for them to access service.

“We also put support in the Law and Justice issues with New Zealand and today we will be introducing the new pre-recruit education program for young Bougainvilleans have the opportunity to be involved in security for the people,” Ms Bishop said.

The recently concluded Operation Render Safe led by Australia that involved Canada, Sweden New Zealand, United States and Solomon Islands was also the support by Australia to help the people of Bougainville improves their livelihoods and that support will continue to see Bougainville achieve its destiny.

The delegation will be visiting Arawa to attend and launch the GIF funded mobile radio, then visit the Panguna Peace building strategy office, the women’s micro finance office.

 

And on Wednesday they will visit local women who form a part of road maintenance in Tinputs and then proceed to Buka to conclude Bougainville Womens Federation Forum (BWF), then a brief tour of the ABG parliament and finally the opening of the new police training center barracks at Hutjena before departing for Port Moresby.

More pictures from Arawa Below

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

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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

Bougainville News: Bougainville voices raised in anger in new PNG Crocodile Prize Anthology

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Overall award for the book of the year, the inaugural winner of which was Leonard Fong Roka for his memoir, Brokenville, which brings a child’s eye view to the civil war on Bougainville. Pictured above in Buka where he is now working for the Bougainville Government.

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DRUSILLA MODJESKA | The Australian

THE better part of a decade ago, Papua New Guinean writer Regis Tove Stella said what his country needed was writers, far more of them than there were, to claim, or reclaim, the role of ‘‘visionary’’ and witness.

He concluded his 2007 book, Imagining the Other, with an elegant argument that it was only when the writers and intellectuals served as ‘‘watchdogs’’ alert to the ‘‘bleak’’ political realities and spoke out against corruption and greed — ‘‘the rape of a country’’ — that change would begin where it mattered: in the minds and hearts of a people.

In 2007 in PNG, a time of little publishing and all too few writers, let alone readers, it seemed a frail hope.

But PNG’s people have always been great storytellers and debaters, and while there may not have been many novels published and read since independence in 1975, there have consistently been a few noble souls who have taken the role of witness and poet.

Oral storytelling remains a reality for many, the stories that are told folding recent histories into those handed down from past generations. And newspapers do a busy trade in markets across the country. You see them read, and being read to those who cannot read.

So maybe Regis Stella, who died in 2010, would not have been surprised had he lived to see publication of the fourth Crocodile Prize anthology, a celebration of PNG poetry, fiction, essays and heritage writing.

When I reviewed the second anthology, towards the end of 2012, I was celebratory, but also tentative — as were many of the writers.

Two years later, in this anthology with 66 writers represented — among them writers from previous years and a heartening number of new, young voices — much of this tentativeness has gone.

A new generation of Papua New Guineans is claiming the written as part of their storytelling, debating inheritance — theirs as surely as any technology that comes with a post­colonial modernity.

I write and write / Like my forefathers before me / My blood is the ink on my paper …

This, from Diddie Kinamun Jackson’s Crocodile Prize winning poem, As a writer, opens a meditation on Melanesian expression that would have pleased Regis Stella.

But for the most part the mood of this anthology is less meditative. Anger is a dominant emotion — anger and loss — which could hardly be otherwise for a generation living with high levels of urban dysfunction, violence and ­corruption.

There are tough stories to be told, and so we read short stories about children finding neighbouring children shot dead; a girl killing herself because she’s pregnant; a widow struggling to raise her children with no money for school fees; a girl in a green dress raped and dumped in a drain.

The Crocodile Prize-winning story, Agnes Maineke’s, While war raged in Bougainville there was a miracle at Haisi, is about a woman giving birth in a remote hut during the civil war on Bougainville.

Bloodlines and dynasties / Disrespected and destroyed / Love, respect and honour / Erased by the power of rifles

With these lines, another Bougainville writer, Marlene Dee Gray Potoura, begins her story of a little girl woken at dawn during that vicious war.

As men with guns surround the village she escapes the carnage that follows by running into the forest, the gun-toting ‘‘crawlers’’ in pursuit.

‘‘The whole forest was angry,’’ Potoura writes, and in a smooth movement she takes us from the stark realism of the guns to a forest in which trees think, feel and act in unison.

And so a ‘‘grandfather tree’’ uproots itself ‘‘in seconds known only to the secrets of the forest’’ and its ‘‘hard old trunk’’ falls on the crawlers and kills them.

As it falls, its branches lift the girl to safety. The tree as a talisman for the power of an endangered inheritance.

‘‘Your guardian trees,’’ writes Michael Dom, a previous poetry prize winner. ‘‘No more you flame.’’

Gary Juffa’s poem on the ‘‘supposed concern’’ and ‘‘pockets filled’’ that accompany the widespread and often illegal felling of the forests, ends each stanza with the refrain: ‘‘And the trees keep falling.’’

It is in the essays that the corruption and greed underlying the violence and the dispossession are named. Where the essays in the earlier anthologies hinted and gestured, here there’s a confidence, a refusal to collude or be silenced.

Blogger and social media activist Martyn Namorong writes of counter-corruption, of corrupting the corrupters.

Bernard Yegiora questions the voting system, the pork-barrelling, the ‘‘wari-vote’’ that can get a corrupt politician back into power when the voters want the handouts back.

‘‘The race within the race,’’ Bernard Witne calls it, as money outstrips policy, and everyone, in large ways and small, is out to ‘‘thicken their purse’’.

Is a Westminster system developed over centuries on the other side of the world the best model for a country of 800 languages and tribes? What would, or could, a Melanesian democracy look like?

And so the question is reopened, first raised in 1980, of whether there is, or can be, a ‘‘Melanesian Way’’ out of this mess.

What system of government would, or could, give back to its people the resource-rich wealth of opportunity? Is it neo-colonialism that rules, as Namarong suggests? He ends one of his essays with the hope that his colleague Nou Vada, who appeared in the earlier anthologies, will one day be prime minister.

‘‘The day a boy from Hanuabada becomes prime minister will be the end of colonisation,’’ he writes. Another frail hope?

There’s been many a local boy, though not from Hanuabada, who have taken the role. Some of them did it well, but were too often replaced by those who fill their pockets from the coffers of state.

On the other hand, if anyone doubts change is possible, contemplate Gary Juffa, who has 10 pieces in this anthology. His story of going on a picnic as a child with a saved packet of noodles, picking tomatoes and shallots in the gardens as the picnickers walked to the river, is one of the best in the collection.

The clouds come over and the group scrambles up the rocks to the road. They make it home to discover two children shot outside their father’s tradestore.

Juffa is now a member of the PNG parliament and, since 2012, governor of Oro Province that takes in Kokoda and its famous track. One of his first acts as governor of a once deeply corrupt province was to put a moratorium on all land deals, logging and resource extraction pending audit and review.

“‘The days of watching our resources be shipped out for whatever scraps have been throw at us is over,’’ he said.

His essays are tough and fearless, impressive by any standard and from a politician remarkable. From a politician in PNG, they could also be considered foolhardy. His first term in parliament showed him how reluctant his fellow members were to speak on national issues for fear of losing access to government funding needed to keep their electorates happy.

In Tribe Versus Nation: Observations on PNG’s Core Challenge, he writes of being warned ‘‘by a particular minister’’, and it indeed proved the case that when this year’s budget was handed down, he saw that he and his province had been well and truly ‘‘punished’’.

There are those who urge him to keep quiet, to think only of what he can do for Oro with the money silence buys, but he says he will not.

While tribalism ‘‘is necessary for the preservation of culture, language, [our] unique identities’’, the future of PNG — the ‘‘core challenge’’ if there is to be any possibility of a better way, a Melanesian way — depends on a leadership willing to renounce the power of playing tribe against tribe, and speak for the wider collective consciousness.

Even if it costs him the next election, he will continue to speak out, he says, because something has begun, ‘‘the stirrings of change’’ are afoot. ‘‘The concern is now a small seed, but it is growing and growing fast.’’

We can only hope he is right. Change will not come easily, and it will not come fast. At the time of writing Juffa, halfway through his, was facing a vote of no-confidence, orchestrated, according to media reports, by corporate interests.

ANOTHER sign of PNG’s literary stirrings is that this year there were two new categories in the Crocodile Prize. One was for children’s writing, sponsored by Buk bilong Pikinini, the children’s library organisation that is growing apace, bringing books and stories to children from impoverished urban settlements.

The other was an overall award for the book of the year, the inaugural winner of which was Leonard Fong Roka for his memoir, Brokenville, which brings a child’s eye view to the civil war on Bougainville.

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The war, for him, began in class 2A at Arawa Community School. There was a commotion along his row of desks: the son of a policeman reported fighting in the mountains.

There had been rumours and strange behaviour among the adults, and this time even the teacher stopped to listen. The division was right there in that classroom, between the dark-skinned children of Bougainville and the ‘‘redskin’’ children of parents from the mainland.

At first it is clear enough for the young Roka. It’s us against them. Our island. Their government. Our land. Their mine.

The reality, of course, proves less clear cut for a boy whose father was a ‘‘redskin’’ from West New Britain and whose mother is from Bougainville. He has relatives on all sides. There are those who depend on the economy generated by the mine; there is his uncle, Joseph Kabui, a senior man in the militant interim government.

Over the next years, before he can return to school, Roka will learn a great deal about war and tribalism, the contradictions of a nation drawn from colonial borders, about moral ambiguity, about betrayal and possibility.

‘‘I owe much to [that] crisis,’’ he writes in his acknowledgments. ‘‘It made me who I am.’’

It is in such writing from Bougainville, perhaps not paradoxically, that the pulse of change ticks most strongly.

Drusilla Modjeska’s most recent novel is The Mountain. She is founder of not-for-profit SEAM Fund, which supports literacy in remote communities in PNG. www.seamfund.org

The Crocodile Prize Anthology 2014, edited by Phil Fitzpatrick, Pukpuk Publishing, 512 pp, $15 from Amazon

Brokenville by Leonard Fong Roka, Pukpuk Publishing, 239pp, $10 from Amazon

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Bougainvile Education News: Applications now open for prestigious Australia Awards scholarships

Applications now open

 

 

James Hall, the Australian High Commission’s Minister Counsellor with representatives from the PNG Assembly of Disabled Persons at their bi-annual conference held in Port Moresby.

On 1 October, the Australian High Commission opened applications for the prestigious Australia Awards scholarships. PNG’s next generation of leaders will have an opportunity to undertake tertiary study, research or professional development in Australia in 2016.

The Australia Awards team will conduct promotional roadshows across the country about the Awards. Visits will include provinces that have not been well represented in previous years including the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Further information about the Australia Awards can be found at: www.australiaawards.org.pg

The first Australia Awards information session was held on Friday 3 October at the regional PNG Assembly of Disabled Persons meeting in Port Moresby. Factsheets, information booklets and posters were provided to each representative to disseminate through their regional disability networks.

Australia’s Minister Counsellor for Development Cooperation, Mr James Hall said, “More than 2000 Papua New Guineans have participated in the Australia Awards program since 1996 and are making a significant contribution to the future of PNG. This year, women, people living with a disability, and people living and working in the provinces are particularly encouraged to apply.”

“I would urge you all to reach out to young Papua New Guineans, especially those living with a disability, and support them to pursue an opportunity of a lifetime by applying for an Award,” Mr Hall said.

The Australia Awards program is an initiative of the Australian Government. The Australia Awards aim to contribute to PNG’s long term development needs by awarding scholarships in areas that align with PNG’s development partnership with Australia including health, education and law and justice.

Scholarships are highly competitive with selection based on academic ability, leadership, employment record, the developmental benefit of the proposed field of study, and overall preparedness to study in Australia. Each year the Australian Government offers around 150 Australia Award scholarships. At least fifty percent of these will be awarded to women.

Applications close on 16 February 2015. The Australia Awards team will conduct promotional roadshows across the country about the Awards. Visits will include provinces that have not been well represented in previous years including Manus, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, East Sepik, Enga, West New Britain, Gulf, and Oro. Further information about the Australia Awards can be found at: www.australiaawards.org.pg

The Australia Awards PNG Information Centre is equipped with institutional handbooks and internet access to help potential applicants research courses. Staff are available to provide assistance with applications and to assist alumni to look for employment where they can apply their newly obtained skills. The centre is located in Port Tower, Hunter St, Port Moresby, and is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 4.30pm.

And do not forget our current project for our young kids to get this opportunity  ; DONATE TODAY

Bookgainville  Project on Bougainville PNG