SDP remains focused on its development initiatives in Western Province as evidenced by the following update on new projects.
Daru Water: Following the installation of filtration systems on individual Daru water bores, SDP decided to upgrade the whole water supply system on the island. It canvassed the idea with the Provincial Administrator, Mr Robert Kaiyun and Hon. Sekie Agisa, Member for South Fly before commissioning a technical evaluation of the options to select the best solution for fixing this seriously degraded system.
An MOU was recently signed by Water PNG and orders have now been placed to purchase the equipment for the upgrade. Installation is scheduled to commence early next year.
Daru Power: SDP is also making good progress with another major and very necessary infrastructure project on Daru. It has signed an MOU with the Provincial Government to undertake a major upgrade to the unreliable power system which has plagued the community with frequent blackouts for years. SDP is currently working with potential developers who can design, build and operate the new system.
Balimo Campus: In Middle Fly, SDP is upgrading the Balimo Campus into a teacher training and health worker training facility. SDP is providing the funding and working with the Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF) and Western Sydney University (WSU) to complete the accreditation process in readiness for the first intake of tertiary students in mid-2021. The campus facilities are currently undergoing major renovations to accommodate the increase in student numbers (constructing a new dormitory, kitchen and mess hall as well as staff housing).
Mrs. Juddy Aoae, the Guidance Officer with the National Department of Education in Western Province said she is very happy with this development. “As a Guidance Officer, I always thought we should have a college in the province so when SDP and KTF came to Balimo and set up the FODE Centre with the intention of developing it into a tertiary college, I was very happy. This is really a golden opportunity for all of us in Middle Fly and Western Province, we must embrace it,” she said.
Over the coming months, SDP will rebuild the Balimo road to provide all-weather vehicle access between the campus and town. Some 30 locals are now employed in SDP’s different construction projects happening in Balimo.
North Fly Schools: In North Fly, SDP is funding the construction of new dormitories at Kiunga Secondary school and rebuilding another two at St. Gabriel’s Technical Secondary School. 2
St. Gabriel’s principal, Br. Johnson Chacko said: “This is a timely help to the school. Most of our students come from remote villages so having additional boarding facilities will ease their burden of regular travel or having to arrange other accommodation in the township.”
St. Gabriel’s has an enrolment of 635 students from grades 9 to 12, including 200 boarders. With the new dormitories, the school will be able to accommodate another 200 students.
SDP is also sponsoring St. Gabriel’s and Awaba Secondary School’s move towards e-learning. Last month, SDP delivered 400 tablets to St. Gabriel’s and another 100 tablets will be delivered to Awaba Secondary School this month.