Bougainville leads the way in PNG developing and using digital education technology

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Founders of the book-gain-ville project Colin Cowell and former ABG President James Tanis were at the Pacific Adventist University (PAU) PNG Symposium to give a presentation on the Bougainville education revolution using Kindle e-readers known as ‘Bookgainville’, an initiative to improve literacy throughout Bougainville.

As reported in Port Moresby by EMTV

Bookgainville is the brainchild of Colin Cowell, from Canberra in Australia who once lived in Bougainville almost forty (40) years ago.
Cowell spent twenty-four (24) years working with and training Aboriginal communities across Australia.
He found his calling to help the people of the former crisis-torn island of Bougainville on a trip to deliver e-readers to students in a remote Panguna village.
Cowell started the Bookgainville project in Australia, with the guidance and support of the Indigenous Reading Project.
The project was launched at the Narinai Elementary school in Panguna district, the home of former ABG President James Tanis. It was then that the first 20 kindles were given, with feasting and celebration to signify the importance of the occasion.
The Bookgainville project is gaining momentum, with support technology and trained staff at the Arawa Women’s Training Centre. Cowell affirmed that sustainability is the key to the Bookgainville project.
A leadership group on ground, led by Mr James Tanis, is comprised of teachers and IT volunteers. The Kindles can contain up to 1400 books inside and cost $99 (Australian dollars).
The use of Kindles in third world countries has proven to be an outright success, using digital platforms and mobile connectivity to make books available to children and families who need them the most.
And with mobile use being prevalent in developing countries, such as PNG, World reader has also created a mobile app for android and featured phone devises. For the first time, folks have access to a library of books using a devise they own: their mobile phones.
In developing countries throughout the world, it has been seen that after 5 months in the e-reader Kindle program, children show significant improvements in fluency and comprehension.
The Bookgainville initiative has developed 11 libraries already in schools that never had libraries or books before, with each requiring 5 e-reader kindles with each kindle able to hold up to 1400 books.
The Bookgainville project received positive feedback at the PNG symposium and both Mr Cowell and Mr Tanis were greatly pleased by the outcome.
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Donations to support the project to purchase Kindles for schools in Bougainville can be made by contacting Collin Cowell on or +61401331251 or you can visit www.bookgainville.com for more information.
“Bougainville now leads the way in PNG developing and using digital education technology”
–       Colin Cowell
Photo Source: Colin Cowell

Bougainville Political News :Bougainville’s referendum does not guarantee the region’s independence

Momis with Pokawin

 

Bougainvilleans must work to ensure all the pre-conditions of the referendum set in the Bougainville Peace Agreement are met to enable the self determination of Bougainville is done consensually,”

Former Manus Province and Chancellor of the University of PNG, Stephan Pokawin pictured above with President Momis

Story and photos Anthony Kaybing

Bougainville’s referendum does not guarantee the region’s independence but is the process in which Bougainville must follow to determine its political future

Former Manus Province and Chancellor of the University of PNG, Stephan Pokawin said this during the Gathering our Intellectual Capacity toward our Journey to Referendum Seminar hosted by the Bougainville Students Association at UPNG last Saturday.

Mr Pokawin explained that referendum is only exclusive to Bougainville as guaranteed by part 14 of the PNG Constitution and is only available to Bougainville between 2015 and 2020.

“If the Constitutional Commission allows for referendum to be exercised in Bougainville then the ABG is obligated to ensure that it is followed through,” Mr Pokawin said.

Mr Pokawin also warned that if Bougainville misses this five year window then it will not be given another chance as agreed to in the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the ensured with the Bougainville and PNG constitutions.

Mr Pokawin said that Bougainville since PNG’s Independence has charted the course of the country’s politics from the early calls of autonomy and decentralization of which ABG President Chief Dr John Momis is regarded as its key architect.

He also urged Bougainvilleans to create a safe and secure environment that is conducive for the referendum to be held.

“Bougainvilleans must work to ensure all the pre-conditions of the referendum set in the Bougainville Peace Agreement are met to enable the self determination of Bougainville is done consensually,” he said.

Mr Pokawin who was an instrumental figure in brokering peace on Bougainville also shares the same view as President Momis emphasizing that for Bougainville’s referendum to be successful there is an urgency for unity amongst the people.

“Bougainville has given the true meaning of Autonomy in Papua New Guinea as it pursues it political future while also paving the way for decentralization in the country,” Mr Pokawin remarked.

“It has set the pace for development in this country but in order to get to where we want we must work together and to work with the government, ABG to strengthen its capacity,” Mr Pokawin said.

 

Bougainville Political News: Many questions on Bougainville’s unity -Momis

President Momis welcomed by Bougainvillean students

“The only intelligent and legitimate way of bringing about unity is to create a structure that empowers people and recognizes the important principal of subsidiarity and only then will we work together in solidarity,”

President Momis pictured above being greeted by Bougainville students

There are currently many questions on Bougainville’s unity but this unity cannot happen with the imposition of uniformity amongst the people.

Autonomous Bougainville Government President Chief Dr John Momis expressed this sentiment during a Seminar hosted by the University of Papua New Guinea Bougainville Students Association themed Gathering Intellectual Capacity toward our Journey to Referendum.

“The only intelligent and legitimate way of bringing about unity is to create a structure that empowers people and recognizes the important principal of subsidiarity and only then will we work together in solidarity,” President Momis said.

“Human solidarity will only come about when we recognize the differences between us and the importance of working together,” he added.

The President said the people of Bougainville have a vision and that is to reject corruption, they are rejecting manipulation, they are rejecting the syndrome of dependency and they are rejecting disempowerment and injustice.

“People are demanding the right to forge a new society based on natural justice and perennial principals that outlast any political or economic system,” he said.

President Momis also warned that people who are not imbued with such a vision are very dangerous, they maybe skilled but their skills will be abused and misused against the very society which they are called upon to build.

President Momis told the students that it is very important that education institutions must put a lot of emphasis on human formation.

“People must be formed on perennial values that outlast any of the pragmatic things that people are pushing in the world today,” he said.

“Bougainville as we discern the signs of the times, it is quite clear what the people want; they want to be intelligent active agents of change and mere passive reciepients of benefits,” the President said.

President Momis said this does not mean the people of Bougainville want to do things on their own but it means they want to take an active part in development and to be engaged in an intelligent and collaborative manner.

President Momis with Sam Akoitai

Amongst the key speakers at the seminar were several Bougainvillean leaders such as the Regional Member, Joe Lera and former Minister for Mining, Sam Akoitai as well as UPNG Vice Chancellor, Albert Mellam and several Bougainvillean students.

President Momis with UPNG students

Bougainville media news: Speed of media information is crucial for rural audiences in PNG

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 We are using a mix of conventional media tools and mobile technology.

“The speed of information is crucial, if rural audiences are to contribute, and be informed.”

 Bougainville News and New Dawn FM Aloysius Laukai, Speaking at the opening day of 10th OUR Media conference at the University of Goroka

DOWN LOAD THE 80 Page Program HERE

OURMedia-Program-Final-web

VIEW EM-TV INTERVIEW with Aloysius HERE

EM TV transcript

The 10th OUR Media conference at the University of Goroka has brought together participants from five nations and the twenty provinces of Papua New Guinea.  
 
Over the past two years, the University of Goroka has been at the forefront of developing media content through community participation.
 
Over the next five days, array of topics will be discussed here in Goroka of primary importance, are the production of local content and the various applications of tools and technology related to the media.
 
Now Goroka is of significance, because it used to be the heart of PNG’s film industry.
 
Now over the last twenty four months, the University of Goroka has been heavily engaged in community produced documentaries.
 
It’s an encouraging movement to this still in its infancy. Participants at this conference have come from various parts of the world, Colombia, Australia, Japan and a few more, experiencing the feel of a buried and thought provoking, with ongoing social challenges faced by communities in PNG, the focus here has been to give communities a voice, that can influence political and social change.
 
One of the tools most highlighted, has been the use of visual media.
 
Dr.Michael Mel from the University of Goroka is one of the many, who want to see a re-emergence of the film industry in a big way.
 
Goroka’s film industry once strived, but largely unsupported the industry, slowly dwelled into non-existence.
 
The renewed interest in the film industry using rapidly evolving technology has been encouraging for those driving the development.

Bougainville Aloysius Laukai, is using a mix of conventional media tools and mobile technology. He says the speed of information is crucial, if rural audiences are to contribute, and be informed.

Diverse communities, diverse media, it’s a theme that echoes what needs to be done and, what’s evolving. 

Bougainville Investment News: Update Nevis Announces Investment in Bougainville Development, LLC

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PRESS RELEASE : Nevis Announces Investment in Bougainville Development, LLC
Jul 21, 2014
OTC Disclosure & News Service Lake Kiowa, TX –

Nevis Capital Corporation (OTC: OCEE), is pleased to announce that they have signed a final agreement with Bougainville Development, LLC, a Mississippi Limited Liability Company, to acquire a 50% ownership of Bougainville Development in an all-stock transaction consisting of Nevis common stock.

The principal asset of Bougainville is a wholly owned subsidiary, Tall J(PNG) Ltd. of Papua, New Guinea, that has the contractual rights with the Papua Government to harvest the timber and to explore and develop the underlying minerals on 255,000 acres in Section 1645. Bougainville has a current investment in excess of $ 4,000,000 USD in this project.
Mr. Stephen Strauss, BD Director, estimates that production should commence within 12-15 months for delivery of finished materials to Asian markets. Surveys from ITTO estimate that this tract contains approximately 2.5 million cubic meters of timber valued at $ 1.3 Billion at current prices, generating estimated revenues of $ 37 Million annually over a 35 year production and reforestation cycle.
The Papua Government has endorsed the economic growth and development of their natural resources. Exxon Mobil has recently invested $ 19 Billion in Papua, NG, building one of the largest Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) projects in the world which began shipments in May with anticipated annual revenues of $ 7.2 billion.
Nevis Capital expects the operational profits from this investment, the previously announced US producing oil and gas investment and expansions thereof, the Macau Live Online Gaming investment, and initiatives to acquire interests in profitable Medical Marijuana ancillary product producers to rapidly increase shareholder value for this development stage holding company.

New Dawn report June 2014

President of Bougainville, Chief John L. Momis, today challenged “Me’ekamui Government’s” Philip Miriori to be honest about Bougainville mining issues. He was responding to a statement saying discussions about mining can happen only after the referendum on independence, and calling for Australian advisers to “go home”.

President Momis said:

“It’s amusing to see Mr. Miriori say mining can happen only after the referendum. For it’s widely known in Bougainville just how deeply involved Miriori is already involved in mining. It was he who worked closely with the Americans involved in Tall J Foundation Ltd. That company tried to do industrial mining of gold on the tailings on the Jaba River. But the people chased them away. Then a Chinese investor in Tall J. Tried to get his lost money back by bringing in Chinese to gather and sell scrap metal from Panguna. Then there is the Australian, Ian Renzie Duncan, at different times involved with Australian mining companies Zeus Resources and Trnaspacific Ventures. It was he who wrote Mr. Miriori’s speech delivered when Prime Minister O’Neill visited Panguna. It’s widely talked about in central Bougainville that Miriori is investing with Mr. Duncan, and that Duncan is taking alluvial gold supplied by Miriori.

“These are just a few of the mining interests that Mr. Miriori is involved in. It’s these and other mining interests that have take him off so regularly to meetings in Cairns, Brisbane, Perth, Singapore, and other business tourist destinations. Everyone around Panguna knows one thing for sure: no other Me’ekamui President has done more foreign travel than Miriori!

“But with all his deep involvement in mining already, how can he talk about decisions on mining waiting until after the referendum? I challenge him to be honest about his long history of mining interests.

“I also challenge him to be equally honest about foreign advisers. He says Australian funded advisers are not welcome. But these advisers have all been requested by the ABG to help us fill in gaps and weaknesses in the Administration. Although Australian funded, many are not Australian. They include Bougainvilleans. Until recently our legislative drafting adviser was from Vanuatu. Our Policy Adviser was from Bermuda – all paid for By Australia.

“For the ABG, the two most important things about our advisers are these. First, we only have them when we have a gap we cannot fill with a Bougainvillean. Second, they must follow the directions of the Bougainville Government. I am absolutely confident that they do  that. They do not control the ABG. They are not here to make money for foreign companies.

“I challenge Mr. Miriori to tell us about his foreign advisers, and what they are doing to make money for foreign interests. They included two Americans with the Tall J Foundation, Stewart Sytner and Thomas Megas. There are documents freely available on the Internet that show they claim that Mr. Miriori sold them mining rights in areas to the north of the Panguna Special Mining Lease. I challenge him to tell us is what Sytner and Megas claim is true.

What about the other investors in Tall J? What advice did they give to Miriori? What about the Tall J investor who brought in the Chinese scrap metal dealers? What advice did he give? What about the advice that Mr. Ian Renzie Duncan gives?

“Mr. Miriori is not being honest about the future of mining. His hands are not clean in relation to mining.

“Mr. Miriori is not being honest about foreign advisers. Again his hands are not clean.

“I challenge him to be honest on these matters. I challenge him to enter these debates only when he has clean hands.

Tall J, O’orang & MTRL alluvial mining in the Tumpusiong Valley

Leonard Fong Roka Feb 2013

As way back as 2008, an Edwin Moses from Sireronsi village and an Amos Ove from Kongara were in an underground contact with Americans, Steve Strauss and Mike Holbrooke. Their dialogue was an interest to tap into the lucrative alluvial gold panning in Central Bougainville.

Jaba Industries company logo

Then they connected the Americans and their company Tall J whom were said to be specialized in small scale mining to the so called Meekamui Government of Panguna led by Philip Miriori (president) and Philip Takaung (vice president) a pair that, when talking about BCL to the media had being so anti-mining.

In early 2009, Edwin Moses, Amos Ove and Philip Takaung formed their own company under the blessing of the Meekamui Government which they named O’orang with all executives from their respective villages and Amos Ove as the manager and Edwin Moses as director to start formal negotiations with the Americans.

Tumpusiong Valley sedimentattion that hosts the gold

After O’orang was established, Tall J money began entering Bougainville. O’orang was assigned to lay out the ground work for possible mining operations in Panguna, especially the Tumpusiong Valley where Amos Ove was married. The valley had tones of gold washed from the Panguna mine’s long operations and today it is one of the main alluvial gold attractions in Kieta. The company’s attempts to lure the targeted people were often met with opposition but the report that went to America was of positive progress.

So back in America, there was excitement to have established a link on one of Pacific’s richest islands and their landowners, from debriefs O’orang passed on from Bougainville. Thus money flowed in and O’orang members earned American money and drove around in new vehicles.

In mid-2009, the Americans and O’orang met in Honiara to finalize a go-ahead for a joint venture on establishing an alluvial gold mining operation in Panguna. A week later, a team of nine Americans arrived in Panguna with a Komatsu front-hand loader and three other equipment for sampling and other preparations under the leadership of Steve Strauss to learn that nothing had being done out of their money.

Jaba Industries operations site in the Tumpusiong Valley

Spending months in Panguna, with Philip Takaung also renting rooms to them, they tried to sort things out themselves. Half of the Americans returned seeing that their money was wasted on liars that the people hardly respected. Even Amos Ove was making his own money by having the mechanical loader on hire after they were chased out of the Tumpusiong Valley in their first attempt. But the other half stayed on under the leadership of Steve Strauss and Mike Holbrooke.

With the Americans around them and Amos Ove gone due to illness, Philip Takaung and Edwin Moses began to fast track negotiations with various people around Kieta. They visited the Eivo area; went into certain parts of Kokoda; frisked the whole Panguna valley for partners, especially the Tumpusiong Valley. They entered Kupe, where an Australian company once had a gold mining operation in the 1930s, three times and on the fourth visit, angry Kupe people chased them.

By Christmas 2009, all Americans left accept Strauss who was so concerned in finding ways to recover the money they had spent. By early 2010, the Americans had spent some K1.7 million through O’orang in order to secure alluvial gold mining operations with the people.

Mr. Michael Tona, MTRL deputy chairman

As the year was fast winding down Strauss saw no hope and was packing to leave Bougainville when a Michael Dendai and Michael Tona who were not involve in Tall J first attempts in the Tumpusiong Valley walked into him in Panguna with a claim that they and their families owned much of the west Tumpusiong Valley tailings area.

Strauss was relieved and forged an agreement with the pair and also donated an open bag land cruiser to serve the Tumpusiong communities that was controlled by Michael Dendai since.

In a series of meetings held at Panguna within a period of two months, a new company, Middle Tailings Resources Limited (MTRL) led by Michael Dendai and Michael Tona was born. O’orang also fought hard not to be left out in this new relationship and was accepted and Strauss again fought to secure more off shore funding for this new operation.

Closer look at the camp in the middle of the BCL created barren land

This time funding was secured from a Chinese partner and more Americans began to arrive to pave the way forward for the Tumpusiong project. And seeing the Chinese money on their hands Dendai and Tona carelessly fast tracked the go-ahead of the project without engaging the majority of the west Tumpusiong community members in decision making. But still the project was steaming on with the happy MTRL gang.

So the joint venture named as the Jaba Industries was consisting of O’orang owning 33.33% shares; MTRL owning another 33.33% and Tall J holding the last 33.33% of shares. In all three joint venture partners, the unidentified Chinese financier was catered for; that is, the Chinese were shareholders in all three companies. At the same time, Tall J had certain percentage of shares in the 33.33% shares owned by O’orang in Jaba Industries concerning the K1.7 million Tall J money O’orang corrupted.

All things sorted, equipment and plants, funded by the Chinese, began arriving one at a time for the whole of 2011 and half of 2012; plants were kept at Birempa on the Morgan-Panguna mine access road near Edwin Moses’ home. Plants include dump trucks, an excavator, a front-hand loader, a number of open bag land cruisers and gold processing equipment. And during the Christmas break of 2012, establishment began at Toku village in the western section of the Tumpusiong Valley.

With heavy sedimentation intact, the project could last

Alongside the development conflict also surfaced. The locals were brawling with the MTRL executives over decision making processes as landowners witnessing the fact that Michael Dendai was running the MTRL as his private business because on paper, collective decision making was the way and that majority beneficiaries should have being the community.

Also despite the fact that the men involved with the creation of MTRL were the close relatives of current ABG mining mister, Michael Oni, the parliamentarian have being said to knew nothing of this development. So people also public condemned MTRL and Jaba Industries as illegal businesses.

The main village of Toku further boiled with strikes. In a launching and dedication ceremony held in December 2012 just before Christmas at the mining site, the other half of the Toku villagers did not attend nor did they ate the food that was brought to them.

Furthermore, the locals were angered by the project when, all executive positions in the joint venture was held by the O’orang who were not even landowners in the Panguna mine site or the Tumpusiong Valley but were from the inaccessible by car hinterland villages of Pangka and Mosinau to the south-east of the Panguna mine who now squat in the remains of the Panguna township causing a lot of disharmony with the people owning the Panguna mine and town areas like the Moroni people and even the Panguna District administration.

Tumpusiong Valley

Most of the Tumpusiong men were employed as security guards earning a K75 per fortnight. Plant operators and so on were the O’orang employees. And point of argument was, to the former BRA fighters, Mr. Dendai was not at home during the conflict and now was walking over them thus he was not accepted to be a sole decision maker in this project.

Somewhere in late 2012, the Chinese partner under the cover of Jaba Industries announced that it shall be releasing a K300 000 community development packet and two vehicles for the Tumpusiong Valley around the 2012 Christmas period. The people waited as they watched the test-run of the operations that produced a positive result in a week’s operation in January 2013 that was shipped overseas as a sample.

But to their dissatisfaction in the mid-January of 2013, a new accusation surfaced that the awaited K300 000 development packet was already deposited into Michael Dendai’s bank account in 2012. Without any hesitation, the villagers torched the gold processing equipment in broad day light.

After this, all Tumpusiong men working as security guards at the mining site walked off, with a demand to Jaba Industries to solve the issue or pack up and leave.

Posted by Leonard Fong Roka at 18:10

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Bougainville Education News :Book-Gain-Ville boosts access to books with e-reader project

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“The kindles has changed the lives of our teachers and students forever “

James Tanis Ex-President of Bougainville and founder of Narinai Elementary School in the Panguna District.

Book-Gain-Ville boosts access to literature with e-reader project

Originally published http://www.bougainville24.com/

Our thanks to Leonard Fong Roka for support and promotion of Bookgainville

An Australian man, so affected by a trip to bring e-readers to students in a remote Panguna village, has launched an initiative to improve literacy throughout Bougainville.

Colin Cowell started the Book-Gain-Ville project in Australia with the support and guidance of the Indigenous Reading Project.

Cowell’s original visit with 20 kindles was to the Narinai Elementary School in the Panguna District, the home of former Bougainville president Mr. James Tanis. Here the Book-Gain-Ville project was launched and welcomed to the community with dancing, singing, speeches and slaughtering of two pigs to mark the importance of the occasion.

“Travelling around I saw broader need across the whole island, so we have added ten more sites for trial of the Book-Gain-Ville initiative,” Mr Cowell said.

“By the end of June 2014 we hope to have over fifty kindles in ten pilot schools and over the next few years I would like to see over one thousand kindles in Bougainville schools with the support of all the local level governments.”

Cowell, who hails from Canberra, Australia, has 24 years of experience working with and training Aboriginal communities across Australia and stated that the key to the Book-Gain-Ville project is sustainability.

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“We now have in place at the Arawa Women’s Training Centre the support technology and trained staff to take this project forward in years to come,” Cowell said.

“Guiding this project on the ground is a leadership group lead by James Tanis and group of teachers and IT volunteers.”

“The Kindles with up to 1400 books inside cost $99.00 and a lot of communities including the pilot sites have already begun fundraising to buy extra kindle on top of our donations.”

Update 11 July 2014

We are packing another 40 Kindles in Canberra to send to Bougainville on Monday 14 July

kindles

Colin Cowell is no stranger to Bougainville having lived there some 40 years ago and return he spent the whole month of May travelling the length and breadth of the island.

He met his old friends like Linus kunokong from Buin and visited cultural shows in Siwai, South Bougainville; visited tourism development sites across the island and even participated in the Bougainville Remembrance Day, May 17, in Arawa.

He will be returning soon to Bougainville with more kindles In September after shipping in July (see above)

More information about the project is available at www.bookgainville.com

 

 

Bookgainville  Project on Bougainville PNG