The Tribal Foundation and the EU have partnered under a project entitled, “Combatting Violence in Papua New Guinea”. This initiative is in partnership with Member for Wabag, Dr Lino Tom, the Wabag District Development Authority, and other local organizations to improve accessibility to essential health and justice services.
To date, the Tribal Foundation has completed a number of programs in these vital areas. They include providing “Village Court Official Training” to village and district court officials and police officers. This training concentrated on human rights, crime prevention, alternative dispute resolution all through emphasizing key laws and good dispute resolution. Next, Ward Development Committees in Wabag have been trained on their roles and responsibilities. Also Ward Recorders were trained on the establishment of ward books for Local Level Governments for data collection, research, and evidence building.
Furthermore, the Tribal Foundation’s energetic Project Coordinator Tommy Aiok further elaborates on the importance of these projects and the strategically significant partnerships this way:
“We are grateful to the EU, and leadership of Minister Dr Tom Lino; to have implemented most of the programs successfully over the last two to three years. Rural communities have better access to services within the law and justice sector following capacity-building programs conducted at community level. Supported by the Department of Justice and Attorney General (DJAG) we have improved the capacity of the village courts as well as Local and District Courts, by training their officers on SARV, human rights and crime prevention. The overwhelmingly positive feedback from the participants has convinced us this training is extremely helpful. A number of village court officials told us they had never attended any similar training programs in over forty years! This shows the importance of this program aimed at improving accessibility to legal and community justice services. DJAG and other agencies in the law and justice sector provided the learning materials.
Tribal Foundation has also worked with other government agencies and institutions. For instance, in partnership with the Department of Provincial and Local Level Government Affairs, we conducted training of the LLG ward councillors and ward recorders. We realized most ward councilors don’t know their roles and responsibilities as per the LLG Act and other laws that apply to them in terms of the resolution of disputes and maintaining harmony and peace within the ward areas or local communities. This program was an eye-opener for the majority of the 64 ward councilos of Wabag Diztrict, who previously lacked any level of formal training.
To improving access to rural health services, we have established two community health posts (CHP) – in Tumbeliam Village and the other in Yokomanda Village. Interestingly, these two communities have had decades-long history of tribal fighting. They suffered great loss of human life, destruction of homes and food gardens – and essentially entire livelihoods had been almost wiped out, leaving several hundreds to thousands of villagers homeless in recent decades. Children have grown up lacking education due to the continuous tribal conflict – that resulted in the closure of schools or complete destruction by being burnt down.
Thankfully, that hopeless situation is beginning to change for the better! With the generous funding support and partnership of the EU and the gifted leadership of our MP, Minister Tom and the Wabag District Development Authority, we have completed the two clinics. The Yokomanda CHP represents the first form of any kind of basic service delivery. This facility will benefit a rural community of over 9,000 people, with better access to basic health services. The existing high levels of maternal and infant mortality rates are due to the fact that the closest health facility is almost two hours away. The people sincerely appreciate these CHP/clinics which are designed to cater to prenatal services and delivery rooms as well as a three-bed ward to help stabilize patients before transferring them (if necessary) to the district hospital for further treatment. The CHP/clinic in Tumbeliam Village will positively impact more than 6,000 people.
As the Tribal Foundation’s project co-ordinator and as a local from Wabag District, I am grateful to the EU and PNG Tribal Foundation for their unique partnership and for bringing to bear much-needed resources and their unique capacity to implement and deliver these projects despite project implementation delays and other challenges we initially faced. And I am also grateful to our local MP and Government Minister, Dr Lino Tom, for providing such uncommon, once-in-a-generation servant leadership that enables him to deliver to his people such a transformative positive impact across the entire Wabag District during only his first term in Parliament (especially with the network of newly built CEPs/clinics, schools, markets, roads, bridges, rural electrification projects and such other essential infrastructure projects). I am inspired! And I know that with our continuing partnership, more will be accomplished in the years ahead!”
Then excitedly, the training of these groups culminated in an extremely successful Peace Festival in Wabag in 2020. During the Peace Festival many different and opposing groups came together. In the words of EU First Counselor Rene Mally, “People want peace, and that’s why we support it.” A video highlighting the Peace Festival can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmA7yCNV8FQ.
And the great work continues. Although the COVID pandemic and other factors contributed to a slowdown of work under the initiative, “Combatting Violence in Papua New Guinea” we continue on.
In January 2022, the two new health clinics at Yokomanda and Tumbilyam respectively, will be handed over to the Wabag District Development Authority. A ceremony will be held with officials from the European Union, Papua New Guinea Tribal Foundation, as well as Minister Tom.
The Tribal Foundation has deep appreciation for the EU, their partnership and their commitment to Papua New Guinea. Further, the Tribal Foundation has immense appreciation for Minister Tom and his commitment to the Wabag District Development Authority and the people of Wabag District.
“We at the Tribal Foundation are committed to supporting values-based leadership. This is why we have partnered with Minister Lino Tom. We are also extremely excited for the completion of the clinics at Yokomanda and Tumbilyam, and the handover ceremony next month.” said Tribal Foundation President GT Bustin. He further stated, “The Tribal Foundation is also looking forward to completing other projects under the partnership with the EU.”