31st July 2012
CEO crosses the Track for the sixteenth time and gets green light for the build of the Kokoda College
As part of their ongoing operation, the Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF) team travelled to PNG in July 2012 to cross the Track and monitor the progress of their aid programs along the Kokoda Track. For Dr Genevieve Nelson, the Executive Director of the KTF, it was her sixteenth crossing, this time visiting around twelve of the 40 villages that KTF supports in the Kokoda Track catchment area.
The main reason for this crossing was to deliver three newly graduated community health workers to their respective aid posts. Supplied with a brand new emergency medical kit, Lance, Jackson and Collin were walked in by the KTF team and settled into their new health posts. Their much anticipated arrival made all three see patients from the moment they arrived.
“Every crossing has multiple purposes, but our community health workers were our main focus this time” says Nelson. “After graduating from their two and a half year course, they were keen to get started. It is great to be able to see how they are welcomed by the communities and seeing patients already.”
“I have been going to PNG for many years and it is heart warming to see that despite the many challenges, our aid programs are effective and benefit the ones that need it the most” Nelson added.
KTF also launched their second stage of the Pawa Givim Meri program. The program empowers women along the track, and giving them a chance to earn an income by developing microbusinesses. The first stage of this program was focused on food – microbusinesses and how to catering for the trekkers who come through the village. The second stage is focussed on selling and repairing solar lights.
“Earlier this year we hand-delivered 3,500 solar lights to all of the families along the Track. These lights have made a tremendous difference in the lives of people and are therefore very sought after” says Nelson.
In conjunction with eleven Women’s Groups, KTF developed a business strategy for the selling and repairing of the solar lights. The women in Abuari village put their newly acquired skills into practice straight away and sold three lights before the KTF team even left for the next village.
Following their crossing, KTF finalised arrangements with local communities at Kou Kou village – situated some 20 minutes walk from Kokoda – for the building of the Kokoda College later this year. The Kokoda College will be one of a kind – a college in a remote, rural area able to graduate enough teachers and community health workers to satisfy the need of the whole Kokoda Catchment area within the first three years of operation.
Patrick Lindsay, chairman of KTF said:”We are delighted with the go ahead as we strongly believe this College will be a game changer in PNG. We will be able to educate and train teachers and health workers for an area where the need is great. The aim is to start building in October, so we will be able to open our doors in February 2013“.
KTF proudly announced the launch of the Kokoda College at a fundraising event in Port Moresby.