The Kokoda Track Foundation has announced its Board has given the green light to start the physical construction of the Kokoda College. This means the Foundation is moving ahead with its ambitious plan to build a college in the jungle of Papua New Guinea.
The idea to build this college originated about a year and half ago, when the Foundation realised that the shortage of teachers and community health workers was preventing the development of the communities along the Kokoda Track back.
Genevieve Nelson, executive director of the Kokoda Track Foundation, said: “When we started researching, we discovered that some 500,000 children are currently not going to school because of a shortage of teachers.”
“And in healthcare, things aren’t looking much better, with a severe shortage of community health workers for PNG’s population living in the rural areas” she added.
The Kokoda Track Foundation has been working in PNG for over a decade in the areas of education, health, community development and microbusiness supporting the communities along and around the Track. Building the College is a necessary step and the Foundation’s most ambitious project yet.
“It’s busy days at our Sydney office and our PNG project officers are in full steam.” Nelson comments.
“Sending engineers to Kou Kou village where the College will be built, to survey the land, liaising with the builders about how and when to start preparing the site for construction, shipping and transportation of the building materials and tools – all before we can start the actual construction.”
The Foundation is on track to open the College doors at the end of 2014. The College will be capable of graduating 50 elementary teachers, 30 primary teachers, and 30 Community Health Workers each year. That’s enough teachers and health workers to satisfy the needs of the entire Kokoda track catchment area within the college’s first 3 years of operation. Kokoda College can then open its doors and accept applicants from other regions throughout PNG.