“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
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.
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)
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
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
Project Management and Knowledge Sharing.
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.
The World Bank (State and Peace-building Fund) has contributed US$2.5 million for this project
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
Jubilee, which claims to be a “scientific research body”, prepared the report jointly with two highly partisan organisations, the International State Crime Initiative and the Bismarck Ramu Group.
Kristian Lasslett, an Ulster-based Australian academic who is a constant purveyor of attacks on the Bougainville leadership, generally with little or no evidence, was heavily involved in the preparation and writing of the report.
In response to criticism of the report in the social media, Lasslett has defended himself and Jubilee notably in posts on the PNG Mine Watch blog (run by the Bismarck Ramu Group) and on Facebook’s Bougainville Forum.
Australians, Vicki Johns and Dantares Midway Jones (aka Andrew Jones) and Australian-based Bougainvillean, Clive Porabou, have all joined Lasslett in defending the report on the Bougainville Forum.
Jubilee and these others domiciled abroad will have us believe that they know more about Bougainville than anyone living on Bougainville and that they are privy to the personal views of the majority of Bougainvilleans today, including mine site landowners.
The spread of these dubious “research findings” in Australia can be likened to a new malady that is about to hit Canberra, the cure for which only the bearers of the ill tidings possess and can administer.
Jubilee is at the forefront and is in this for exposure and publicity, not for the benefit of Bougainville.
Every time these desktop researchers return to their own countries after a very brief foray into their own mystical Bougainville, they carry a hastily packaged fantasy that reveals the ‘undeniable truth’ about what the majority of Bougainvilleans think about Panguna.
Jubilee is in Australia. They believe that a brief visit by anti-mining Bougainville researchers to Panguna, armed with questions to which they already ‘know’ the answers, provides better credentials than they had as remote-controlled observers of Bougainville from afar.
After ticking off their questionnaires, the organisation can make a jubilant exit, highly satisfied that their “research” confirms what they always believed.
With a prejudice and orientation against anything and everybody engaged in, or supportive of, what they see as the sordid business of mining, organisations like this will always be predisposed to searching and commenting to satisfy and confirm their very own views, which they can then confidently sell to Canberra.
Kristian Lasslett works and schemes from Ulster in Northern Ireland (UK). On matters concerning Bougainville he is the self-made expert – chopping, pasting and moulding Bougainville like plasticine to be forced into his desired shape and form.
Like the operatives at Jubilee, he drives a metal car, flies in metal planes and eats, I assume, mainly with metal cutlery. He and the Jubilee operatives do not suffer from metal fatigue, despite their disdain for industries that extract useful minerals.
Kristian will swear by his comments and views, defend them and feed them to anyone who likes to lap up tales of deceit and conspiracy against Bougainville by mining giants and governments.
At best he is a socialist, born to save the world’s downtrodden. At worst he is a Trotskyite, peddling and romanticising his thoughts around Melanesia.
He is a smooth operator, armed with mind-boggling academic qualifications, but why should PNG and Bougainville take notice of him?
He does not add value to our attempts to resolve our issues on Bougainville island, or in PNG for that matter. His activities simply feed his own ambitions.
He tells us that he knows Bougainville from the 1960s, though his appearance indicates he was barely an adolescent at the time of the Bougainville crisis.
He arrived after the crisis, well after the peace process took hold, only to collect the crumbs when the smorgasbord was over. This is obvious in his comments about wanting to return to Bougainville’s past. Bougainvilleans be warned: this fellow cannot be trusted.
There’s little I can say about Vikki John. I believe she’s relatively harmless because I understand she rarely expresses her own views, assuming she has some. Apparently, her function is to cut, paste and disseminate any anti-mining material she comes across, in order to alert poor, ignorant Bougainvilleans to the dangers of doing further business with notoriously nasty mining companies.
I don’t know who DAntares Midway Jones (aka Andrew Jones) is, but I gather he has been searching for his ancestry/roots, as his interchanging name suggests.
He has suddenly splashed himself onto the Bougainville scene with grandiose ideas for the salvation of the island and its population. He believes he has a profound proposal to rid Bougainville of its muddled past.
He proposes a Peoples Tribunal with draft terms of reference comprising Bougainvilleans who will preside as judge, jury, prosecutor and terminator. He even has a Tribunal Facebook page.
He claims he has aboriginal ancestry. He dons a Fidel Castro type cap, is clad in khaki clothes with an Australian Aboriginal flag badge sewn on the breast and he sports a Fidel Castro beard. He is calm, cool and does not flinch at his critics.
I don’t know where he popped up from. He says he made a single visit to Bougainville, a lone trip that has convinced him that he knows Bougainville well enough to insert a Tribunal there to disable the culprits responsible for the island’s demise.
He has some strange ideas about what might be best for Bougainville. He impresses me as someone who has probably been wandering around admiring rock drawings in arid caves and sacred aboriginal sites and suddenly thinks he is sufficiently indigenous to transplant himself into another traditional society like Bougainville.
Clive Porabou is the next best thing to cheese, biscuits and shiraz. Just as these tasty and intoxicating items make party conversation flow freely, Clive’s presence and discussion with the likes of the people I have mentioned above make their adrenalin flow from both excitement and anger.
Clive lives abroad and, for those who have no personal experience on Bougainville, he is the Bougainville expatriate expert who satisfies the appetite of a certain mould of Australian academic, environmentalist, social psycho and welfare benefactor.
Always with an acoustic guitar in hand, he longs for the day when Bougainville might be governed by Me’ekamui, financed by Noah Musingku’s new Bougainville currency.
Hearing from Clive is enough to convince most non-Bougainvilleans that they have a duty to rescue Bougainville from bondage, and the government outfit to accomplish this is the version of Me’ekamui that Clive peddles abroad.
In truth, the Me’ekamui in central Bougainville have been consulting and beginning to work and cooperate with the Autonomous Bougainville Gobvernment (ABG), which was always bound to happen.
I can’t be too critical of Clive, because in his heart of hearts he will always remain a true Bougainvillean, but suspicious of his expat friends. It suits him fine if they are gullible enough to believe him, because as long as this unfortunate business lasts, he can continue to enjoy peace and a relatively convivial lifestyle offshore.
Take heart, the reason why most Bougainvilleans won’t whinge about, or flinch at, research that is carried out overnight from abroad is because it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.
If you were to enter the same Bougainville communities in the same locations and conduct your own research to extract a ‘yes to mining’ response, you would get it. It really depends on how the comments and questions are framed. The Jubilee research is simply a means to an end.
Jubilee, Kristian, Andrew Jones and all of these parties will always support such research and support each other. They are birds of a feather, flocking, scheming and screeching together. As some Bougainvilleans have commented in the Bougainville Facebook forum, this is all “bullshit”.
The ABG must make the Australian government aware that Jubilee is going to the Australian Parliament entirely of its own accord, without the knowledge, authority or respect of the ABG and most Bougainvilleans.
If we are not careful and if the ABG turns a blind eye, the confusion, disunity and anger these people can generate could pit Bougainvillean against Bougainvillean, community against community, clans and families against each other, and even the people against their leaders and government.
These are people coming into a society they really don’t know much about or understand. They are attempting to ride roughshod over the programs and projects the ABG and landowners have been involved in towards resolving every issue in Panguna.
There has been steady progress towards addressing many outstanding Panguna grievances that affect everyone, not just the sampling of villages Jubilee has selectively interviewed.
There are senior ministers in the Abbott government, like foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop, who always have an ear and heart for Bougainville. There is no reason why the president and senior bureaucrats who have the carriage of different aspects and areas of discussion over Panguna, e.g. Steve Burain, Raymond Masono and advisers like Dr Naihuwo Ahai, cannot approach Canberra and confront the Jubilee research.
This is how absurd it is: Jubilee operatives come to Bougainville, do their fact finding visit up the road, fold up all the work and turn up in Canberra unbeknownst to ABG and most of Bougainville.
They do not even have the courtesy to call on the authorities on Bougainville to explain or share what they have done. If this is not conspiracy against ABG, for reasons only known to themselves, then I don’t know what it is.
There is a real risk that foreign elements that have no responsibility or obligations on Bougainville and that are not accountable to anyone can derail fifteen years of peace process and reconciliation achieved without meddling from uninvited offbeat academics, latter day NGOs, busybodies and socialites that have nothing better to do in their own countries.
If they have nothing to contribute to their own governments and people, it is hard to accept the claim that their reconnaissance on Bougainville will enhance our future.
The US Aid Regional Director Maurice Knight says that Bougainville women are effective peacemakers, community leaders and champions of civil and human rights.
He says Bougainville women have been at the forefront of steering recovery efforts and influencing policies such as the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.
Above: Maurice and the US Ambassador recently visited Bougainville and met with Arawa Women’s Training Centre board
Under the funding, a series of grants are to help counselling for victims of violence and programmes to improve living conditions.
Background Maurice Knight
Maurice Knight is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and currently under appointment as the director of the Pacific Mission of the United States Agency for International Development based in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
As a senior member of USAID’s staff, he is directly responsible for ensuring USAID’s full portfolio (environment [terrestrial and coastal/marine], climate change, health, economic development, conflict mitigation and HIV/AIDS [in PNG]) is meeting its objectives in the Pacific including the countries of Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
He reports directly to the US Ambassadors in the region, and to the USAID Mission Director in Manila, Philippines on progress of all USAID Pacific programs and projects.
As its Chief of Party (team leader), Maurice in January 2014 completed the 5.5 years Coral Triangle Support Partnership (CTSP), the largest component of USAID’s support to the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF).