Popondetta Town was full of people and filled with traditional singsing on Tuesday as the Wawanga Co-Operative Society Limited (WCSL) was launched. It was a day that the people of Wawanga had been waiting and preparing for as this co-operative society is the first of its kind in their area. WSCL’s main objective is to bring economic empowerment and basic social services to the people of Wawanga, to help them economically by venturing into Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
WCSL is located in Upper Kumusi river – Wawanga, in Sohe Electorate of Kokoda District, covering wards 21, 22, 23, and 24.
People of Wawanga are the forgotten people of Oro Province because of their geographical location which is mainly mountainous. There are about more than 5000 people living in the Wawanga area without access to proper government services, having been neglected and overlooked for many years.
‘They were crying for help for many years but nobody heard them, Wawanga people are known as the back page of Northern Province,’ said Badia Kibidi, the Chairman and Director of WCSL.
Wawanga co-operative society was formed in February 2019 in heed to the cries and needs of the Wawanga people. This co-operative society will work towards addressing and fixing these ongoing needs in every little way it can.
‘These people have waited long enough for socioeconomic developments and have found their way to participate in the change they want to see through WCSL’ the Chairman stated.
WCSL intends to provide basic community social services in each ward including upgrading of two airstrips, aid posts, school facilities, wireless radio communication, law and order offices, lucas mills, install solar lights, water supply, community vehicles, university and college study sponsorship, support churches, and emergency occurrences.
Sohe MP, Henry Amuli, urged for the event to be held in Popondetta town because he wanted to show that the people of Wawanga are part of the province. To show their support and in happiness, the people of Wawanga who were scattered over the National Capital District, Central Province, and those from their villages in the Sohe Electorate, walked to Popondetta town to attend the event.
The event which attracted more than 300 people included Henry Amuli and the Oro Governor, Garry Jufa, who were there as invited guests. They both assured the people of Wawanga that they would support them through WCSL and in any way they can.
Mr. Kibidi thanked the Sohe MP for his support in maintenance of Tetebedi Airstrip and his other donations towards the people. He also appealed to the three Northern MPs, Northern Provincial Deputy Governor, Kokoda LLG President, Wawanga Ward Councilors, and WCSL team to work together to implement the policies of this co-operative society.
The first program hosted through WCSL will be a training on how to start SMEs. This was confirmed by the Managing Director of SME Net Solutions, Koren Maso. He said that the training will be held in November this year.
By Michelle Auamoromoro – EMTV Cadet Journalist