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

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

 Australian volunteers Rae Smart and Jan Norton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Group of women standing around a table.

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

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

Last Updated: 21 June 2017

Momis Speech : Bougainville’s preparation for a referendum on our future political status

Challenges of Implementing the Bougainville Peace Agreement / Jo

“There is considerable international community interest in the preparations necessary for the referendum. In particular, the United Nations was requested last year to undertake a scoping visit to assess what its roles might be in supporting both the 2015 elections, and the referendum. The UN scoping team visited Port Moresby and Bougainville in February, and has recently provided a report to both governments, highlighting important issues about the work required, and proposing important roles that the UN can play in preparations for and conduct of the referendum.

I know all Bougainvilleans will support and welcome the close involvement of the UN as we continue to implement the Peace Agreement provisions on the referendum”

HON. CHIEF JOHN MOMIS PRESIDENT

AUTONOMOUS REGION OF BOUGAINVILLE  HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 STATEMENT TO THE HOUSE THURSDAY 26 MARCH 2015

 PREPARATIONS FOR THE REFERENDUM  ON BOUGAINVILLE’S FUTURE POLITICAL STATUS

Mr. Speaker:

I rise to make a brief statement about a matter of the greatest importance to Bougainville.

As we all know, the Bougainville Peace Agreement, which was given effect by amendments to the National Constitution, and the making of the Bougainville Constitution, guarantees that Bougainvilleans can vote in a referendum on the future political status of Bougainville. That referendum must include the “choice of a separate independence for Bougainville”.

This is a momentous choice. Very few people’s anywhere in the world have the opportunity for a referendum on their self-determination. The Peace Agreement has been a remarkable achievement for all Bougainvilleans.

The referendum must be held between mid-2015 and mid-2020. In other words, it must be held sometime during the term of the next ABG House.

I am making this short statement mainly to inform this House, and through you, the members of the House, about progress made under this, the second ABG House, in making the necessary preparations for the referendum.

The referendum is the third of the three pillars of the Bougainville Peace Agreement to be implemented. Considerable progress has been made on implementation of the other two pillars. As we all know, those two pillars are weapons disposal and autonomy.

With weapons disposal, the UN mission in Bougainville supervised the weapons disposal process, from 2001 to 2005. Until mid-2003 the UN was assisted by the PMG. Almost 2,000 weapons were handed in by former combatants.

With autonomy, there has also been considerable progress. We have together made the Bougainville Constitution, established our own institutions of Government, held elections for two ABG Houses (one from 2005 to 2010, and one from 2010 to 2015). Transfer of powers to the ABG started slowly, with the first requests for transfer made by President Kabui in 2006. During this, the second House, the progress with transfer has speeded up. We have taken over many new powers, and made new Bougainville policies and laws on a number of important subjects. From 2014, they have included establishing a separate Bougainville Public Service, a separate Bougainville public finance management system, and our own mining laws.

Though we have taken great strides with both weapons disposal and autonomy, there is still work to be done to maintain and keep building both pillars. And much of that remaining work on those pillars is closely related to the third pillar – the referendum on independence. I will come back to those issues, and clarify the relationship of weapons and autonomy to the referendum, at the end of this statement.

Mr. Speaker:

The Bougainville Peace Agreement was negotiated between June 1999 and August 2001. Although all aspects of the referendum that we could properly deal with then were covered in the Agreement, some significant issues could not be resolved at that time. They were deliberately left till later consultation and negotiations between the two governments.

I will outline some of the most important of those issues still to be decided. But before doing so, I must emphasise that it was because there are so many referendum issues to be dealt with, that more than three years ago, my Government took up the issue of referendum preparations in the JSB. As a result, a Joint Referendum Working Group was established. It has been working ever since, and it reports regularly to the JSB.

The ongoing work of that Joint Referendum Working Group has already assisted the JSB to make a decision, in 2014, on one of the most important issued that was deferred by the Peace Agreement. That was the issue of the agency, or body, that will conduct the referendum. The Peace Agreement and the National Constitution provided several options. Last year, the ABG and the National Government agreed that the referendum should be conducted by a completely independent institution, operating under a Charter that must be agreed between the two governments.

Perhaps the most critical issue that was deferred by the Peace Agreement was the decision on when the referendum will be held – the date of the referendum. It was agreed, however, that it could be no earlier than 10 years after the ABG was established, and no later than 15 years. It was also agreed that the date within that 5 year window would be agreed between the ABG and the National Government.

In consulting about the date, the two governments are required to take account of:

“whether:

  1. weapons have been disposed of in accordance with the Agreement; and
  2. … it has been determined that the Bougainville Government has been and is being conducted in accordance with internationally accepted standards of good governance.”

It is very clear from the wording of the Agreement and of the National Constitution that these matters are to be considered only for the purposes of setting the date within the five year period ending mid-2020. Issues about weapons and good governance cannot in any way be used to delay the referendum beyond mid-2020.

Because the decision on the date was deferred, that is going to be one of the most important matters that the third ABG will need to consult about and agree with the National Government. I have already begun the discussions on the issue with Prime Minister O’Neill, suggesting that 2019 should be considered. But as yet there has not been a decision on the issue.

Many other aspects of the referendum arrangements must also be agreed between the two governments. Perhaps the three most important aspects that will need to be resolved are:

  • The wording of the question, or the questions, that will be asked in the referendum – but I emphasise that whatever is decided, the Peace Agreement and the Constitution are clear that the “choice of separate independence for Bougainville” must be included.
  • The Charter for the agreed independent agency (which will spell out the duties and responsibilities of the agency, for those have not yet been defined); and
  • The qualifications for enrolment to vote in the referendum for Bougainvilleans not resident in Bougainville.

The most important issue of all has also been deferred, till after the referendum. That is the decision on implementation of the decision of the referendum. Under the Peace Agreement, the two governments are also required to consult about that. But the compromise on the referendum made in 2001 was that power to make the final decision on implementation rests with the National Parliament.

Mr. Speaker,

Clearly, there are many significant issues about:

  • the preparations for,
  • conduct of, and
  • implementation of,

the referendum that will have to be negotiated.

In addition, because neither the National Government nor the ABG has any experience of the conduct of referendums, there are many aspects of practical arrangements for the conduct of the referendum that will have to be decided jointly.

The two governments agreed last year on obtaining a report from an administration expert on the streams of work that will be needed to prepare for decisions on the major issues I’ve mentioned, as well as on more general administrative preparations for the referendum. The report was prepared in October, in close consultation with the two governments. It identified seven major work streams. In summary they are:

  1. Close consultation with the people of Bougainville and PNG, and the two governments, so that they can participate in decision making about the referendum;
  2. Weapons disposal assessment (important in terms of setting the referendum date, as well as for other reasons I will mention later in this statement);
  3. Determining the criteria for enrolling non-resident Bougainvilleans on the voters roll for the referendum;
  4. Good governance assessment (also important for setting the date, as well as for other reasons);
  5. Determining the referendum question or questions;
  6. Establishing the independent agency to conduct the referendum, and providing the funding needed to conduct the referendum;
  7. Review of the constitutional provisions for the conduct of the referendum.

The report recommended setting up a joint secretariat of the two governments to oversee the implementation of those seven work-streams. No decision has yet been made on that issue.

At the recent meeting of the JSB in Arawa on 13 March, the two governments noted the report, and agreed to meet to decide on the issues of the date of the referendum, and the charter for the independent agency to conduct the referendum, as well as other milestones for the conduct of the referendum.

My Government has also moved to establish our own structures to oversee preparations for the referendum. In 2014, we established an ABG Ministeral committee to provide oversight, direction and monitoring of referendum preparations. It will need to liaise closely with the counterpart committee established by the National Parliament.

Then in January 2015 the BEC approved the establishing of the ABG Office Bougainville Referendum  to oversee referendum preparations on behalf of the ABG. Its mandate is to:

  • Coordinate and implement ABG policy on the referendum;
  • Liaise with the National Government and development partners on referendum preparations;
  • Coordinate awareness-raising and communications for the referendum, and provide support to referendum sub-committees as may be established;
  • Develop and manage on behalf of the President and BEC, a work plan for the referendum arrangements;
  • Identify resource needs and report to BEC.

It is now vital that this new Office receives the support, especially resources and staff, necessary to carry out its import work. In the very near future, it must begin work on:

  • Consulting Bougainvilleans on options for the question or questions to be asked in the referendum, inclusive of independence;
  • Defining options on the links non-resident persons will need to be regarded as Bougainvilleans for the purposes of enrolment for voting in the referendum;
  • Reviewing the Rules for the Conduct of the Referendum agreed in 2001 and incorporated into the Organic Law on Peace-building in Bougainville, and in doing so taking account of experience in the conduct of the three ABG general elections (2005, 2010 and 2015) and the 2008 Presidential by-election;
  • Developing and implementing a general awareness campaign for Bougainvilleans on the process of, preparations for and issues in the referendum

Mr. Speaker:

There is considerable international community interest in the preparations necessary for the referendum. In particular, the United Nations was requested last year to undertake a scoping visit to assess what its roles might be in supporting both the 2015 elections, and the referendum. The UN scoping team visited Port Moresby and Bougainville in February, and has recently provided a report to both governments, highlighting important issues about the work required, and proposing important roles that the UN can play in preparations for and conduct of the referendum.

Mr. Speaker:

I know all Bougainvilleans will support and welcome the close involvement of the UN as we continue to implement the Peace Agreement provisions on the referendum.

So, Mr. Speaker:

While there is much to be done, important steps have been made. Much more will need to be done by the ABG after the election. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that negotiations about referendum preparations will be one of the most important responsibilities of the third ABG, taking office in June 2015.

Mr. Speaker,

Those responsibilities will include making strenuous efforts to continue achieving progress in relation to both weapons disposal and good governance. Progress on those matters is important in at least four distinct but also closely connected ways.

First, they are important in setting the date for the referendum, between 2015 and 2020. Disagreement between the governments on our weapons disposal status or good governance could push the date back towards mid-2020. But of course, such disagreement cannot delay the referendum after mid-2020.

Second, weapons and good governance will be very important in determining whether the referendum is “free and fair”. Under the Peace Agreement, we have all committed to a free and fair process. There is provision for international observers to be involved. If weapons are available and in use, and if the ABG does not provide good governance, for example in the form of law and order, there are serious risks that observers will decide the referendum is not free and fair.

Third, when the National Parliament comes to make its decision on implementation of the referendum outcome, it can decide what issues it takes into account in making its decision. If there are serious weapons disposal and good governance issues, they will be free to argue that it will not be safe for the people of Bougainville if independence is considered.

Fourth, and finally, the international community will be watching closely. When Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, persuaded the Bougainville leaders in late 2000 to make a compromise on their position that the referendum vote be binding on the National Government, he indicated that the international community would support implementation of a free and fair referendum with a clear outcome. The truth is that we may need to rely on international community support at that time. So we Bougainvilleans need to make sure issues about weapons and good governance result in loss of international community support.

Mr. Speaker:

There is clearly still much to be done to prepare for the referendum. But an important start on make preparations for this momentous decision-making process has been made in the five years this House has been in office.

All of us here look forward to seeing the steps being made by the new, 3rd House, President, and BEC, taking office in June, as they take the major next steps towards the conduct of the referendum.

I thank all those who have contributed to the progress we have made so far.

The referendum will involve the single most important joint and democratic decision ever made by Bougainvilleans.

I call on all members of this House and all Bougainvilleans, whether resident in Bougainville or living elsewhere, to work together to ensure that the referendum is a complete success, and provides a secure foundation for the future of Bougainville.

 

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bougainville Education News : Bougainville schools can win Laptop and Kindle in essay competition

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

Please share with your schools and networks

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

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

BW

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

Pic 1

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.

Map 2

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

Pic 5

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

hona

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 Cultural Tourism News: Buin’s Tuiruma cultural festival ends on a high

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By Aloysius Laukai

Additional photos Bougainville Travel

The first ever three-days TUIRUMA FESTIVAL ENDS IN HIGH NOTEthat was held last week in Buin ended in high note with participants and the public wanting a permanent date set to attract more local and overseas tourists to visit the show in future.

The show was officially closed by the ABG member for BABA, WILLIAM SILAMAI who called on all participants and the people of Buin to maintain the good example they set during the festival to show unity of all Bougainvilleans.

MR. SILAMAI said that the smiles in all the participants faces only indicate one thing that is all were happy to be part of the three- days show.

MR. SILAMAI said that as declared by the co sponsor and member for South Bougainville, STEVEN KAMMA PIRIKA to rotate the venue they would prepare for the next show to be held in Siwai in 2015 and BANA in 2016.

The Show has 44 cultural groups, Arts, Crafts and carvers who were also excited to be part of the first TUIRUMA Festival.

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In his opening remarks the ABG President, Chief DR. JOHN MOMIS said that cultural festivals is one sure way of uniting the people of Bougainville and his government will continue to support them in the future.

The Member for South Bougainville, STEVEN KAMMA PIRIKA also pledged ONE MILLION KINA in the next five years.

The Regional member for Bougainville, JOE LERA also contributed funds towards the staging of the TUIRUMA Festival and said that he was also committed to fund the Tuiruma festival and other festivals throughout the region.

Meanwhile, New Dawn FM managed to talked to several people regarding the three-days Tuiruma festival.

Police Commander for South Bougainville, Commander JOHN POPUI praised the people for maintaining peace throughout the festival.

He told New Dawn FM in Buin that 46 police personnel were engaged to look after the festival with the support of the South Bougainville Veterans Association.

One church worker said that the festival made it possible for their group to meet many people and a Businessman said that he had made extra monies during the festival.

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For International visitors you can book your 2015 Bougainville Festival Tour here

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Bougainville News: Promoting literacy with mobile phones in rural Papua New Guinea

Bougainville should be promoting literacy with mobile phones ?

hey, my ears are ringing -- might that be the Ministry of Education calling with today's lesson?
hey, my ears are ringing —
might that be the Ministry of Education
calling with today’s lesson?

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

Note: The image used at the top of this post of men from Koroboa in Papua New Guinea (“hey, my ears are ringing — might that be the Ministry of Education calling with today’s lesson?”) comes from the Wikipedian Yves Picq via Wikimedia Commons and is used according to the terms of its Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Bookgainville  Project on Bougainville PNG

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

Bougainville News : Major survey report finds re-opening of the mine should not be linked to independence of Bougainville

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Jubilee Australia has released its report ‘Voices of Bougainville: Nikana Kangsi, Nikana Dong Damana (Our Land, Our Future)’ at a series gathering of academics, representatives of non-government organisations and community members throughout Australia including Canberra which Bougainville News attended

The report reflects the voices of people living in the vicinity of the Panguna Mine, regarding the proposed re-opening of the mine by Rio Tinto subsidiary Bougainville Copper Ltd. Closed in 1989 by local communities devastated by the damage it had caused their environment and social structures, the mine’s closure was followed by a brutal ten-year civil war during which more than 10,000 people were estimated to have died.

For a copy of the report, see:   http://www.jubileeaustralia.org/page/resources

‘The people from the villages in the Panguna Region are those who have been most affected by the mine, and who will be most affected in the future should it reopen. It is vital that their insights be more deeply understood and considered by all of the parties involved,’ commented Brynnie Goodwill, CEO of Jubilee Australia.

Sixty-five people individually and one group of seventeen people, from villages in the vicinity of the mine, were interviewed regarding their feelings about the mine, the war that followed its closure, its potential re-opening and issues that still need addressing.

‘Huge number of abuses are still buried inside people’s hearts,’ said one villager from the Panguna region. (Report, p39).

People interviewed were also asked about how they saw development of their communities for the future. Concerns were raised that pressure to re-open the mine from the Australian and Papua New Guinea Governments, with the Autonomous Bougainville Government, have been linked to the long-sought after independence of Bougainville.

An almost unanimous view from those interviewed was that they did not want the re-opening of the mine to be linked to independence of Bougainville, but rather independence to occur first, and for Bougainvilleans to then determine their options for going forward. The report documents significant concerns about land being held for future generations, and an interest in exploring alternatives to large-scale mining to support an independent Bougainville.

‘While the report focuses on perspectives held by villagers in Panguna and the surrounding communities, these same views are shared by many Bougainvilleans across the island,’ said a member from the north of Bougainville attending the event.

For more information contact Brynnie Goodwill 0404 896 396 International +61404896396 brynnie@jubileeaustralia.org

And from the Guardian

A survey of Bougainville villagers has revealed strong opposition to the proposed reopening of the mine which was at the centre of the island’s decade-long civil war.

Media reports had suggested there was support for the Panguna copper and gold mine as a source of national revenue, with a referendum looming on the island’s independence from Papua New Guinea. The mine has been closed since 1989.

The Jubilee Australia research foundation conducted the survey in 10 villages or hamlets around the Panguna mine at the end of 2013, and found “near universal” opposition to the reopening, as well as unhappiness and mistrust of the consultation process.

The mine – majority owned by Rio Tinto’s Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) – has been central to Bougainville’s economy since the 1970s, but dissatisfaction with the way it was run and its environmental and social effects escalated into a civil war between 1988 and 1998.

It’s estimated as many as 15,000 people died by the time of the 2001 peace agreement, which included a deferred referendum for full independence, scheduled to occur between 2015 and 2020.

The Jubilee report, Voices of Bougainville, found continued resentment and mistrust of the PNG defence forces, Australia and BCL because of their roles in the conflict, and that this has led to mistrust of discussions around reopening the mine.

The report found a “sizable majority” of respondents felt that lasting peace had not been restored, despite an end to the violence. Smaller groups felt the peace process was an initiative to serve the needs of Australia or Papua New Guinea.

Respondents were also “deeply critical” of recent consultations about the mine, which they said had not fully included affected communities and certain demographics such as young people, women and elders.

“Others felt that there had been misleading statements in the media about the enthusiasm of Panguna residents for the mine reopening, and about what the reopening would mean,” the report said.

“We’ve been getting such a strong message from the media, but hearing things on the ground was quite different,” Jubilee’s chairman, Luke Fletcher, told Guardian Australia.

Fletcher conceded there was always the chance of self-censorship among respondents, and that the surveyed villages still had some connection to the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, but said the research was strong.

“I think we felt that the results are so clear that even if there has been a bit of self-censorship the picture we’ve got is certainly enough to question the main narrative.”

Fletcher suggested particular groups were pushing for an early referendum and this was likely to be linked to discussions around reopening the mine.

“Our feeling is that this urgency is one of the reasons why there is some pressure being placed on landowners to make a decision quickly,” Fletcher said. “Once Bougainville gets its independence, Bougainvillians might have more of a say in their future,” he said.

“It seems plausible to see the push to get an agreement in before the referendum as a push for certainty, both for people in Bougainville as well as outside interest groups, for example BCL.”

The Greens leader, Christine Milne, Labor MP Melissa Parke and independent MP Cathy McGowan will launch the Voices of Bougainville report in parliament next month.

Milne said it was “increasingly apparent” that Australian mining companies were not consulting local communities, that they were “making deals” with governments and that as a result local people had suffered.

“The civil war in Bougainville should really remain very front and centre in people’s minds, because there is no doubt that the mine was front and centre to that whole war erupting,” she told Guardian Australia.

“It’s pretty apparent the local community don’t want it, they see the environmental impacts and the social impacts, they don’t trust that they would ever see any benefit from the mine, because they haven’t in the past.”

In August, Rio Tinto announced it would be reviewing its options in BCL after the Bougainville parliament passed a bill stripping the company of seven exploration licenses and its special mining lease for Panguna.

BCL chairman Peter Taylor told the ABC the legislation was confusing and described it as a setback.

“It may be that Rio Tinto decides to pursue its investment, it may not, but I can’t speculate.”

Bougainville president John Momis said the legislation gave BCL the first right of refusal on the mining licence, but no more.

“If we didn’t [cancel the licences], the landowners and the ex-combatants wouldn’t have allowed BCL to come back,” Momis told ABC.