PNG Sustainable Development Program Limited (SDP) is entering an exciting new phase as it works with the Fly River Provincial Government and other partners to complement and supplement services in Western Province in an effort to provide lasting benefits for the people.
Education has been an important priority for SDP because of its firm belief that good schooling is the pathway to a better future. To this end, SDP has been investing to improve school infrastructure, funding school fees, and using modern technology to support teachers and students in the classroom. It is also funding the development of a Balimo campus, initially as a FODE center with 105 enrolled students but soon to be a tertiary institution for training teachers and health workers.
During a recent visit to Balimo, SDP staff caught up with Ms. Rosita Galowa, a grade 12 social science student. When asked how things were going, she responded saying: “Classes in the Balimo campus are going well. Everyone’s really busy and are looking forward to the exams in November.”
She went on to say: “I usually go to sleep in the early hours of the morning after completing all my assignments. “I want to do well for myself and for my two children. My family has been very supportive, and I am very grateful.”
Ms. Galowa said one of her highlights was listening to a talk by their local member and education inspector about the importance of having more local teachers and health workers in the district.
“When we heard that, we were encouraged to push forward and complete our studies, get into teaching and community health work so we can serve in our own district and province,” said Ms. Galowa.
She said one of her friends had been considering withdrawing from school, but Ms. Galowa kept on encouraging her by saying this is a wonderful opportunity for them all to build a better life.
“I reminded her of how understanding our principal is. That he allows us to bring our children to school so we can have them sit or play outside while we study. I found this very helpful personally, and now my friend does too, enabling her to remain in school. I am happy.”
The Balimo project is funded by SDP and managed by Kokoda Track Foundation.
SDP is also paying project fees for school students throughout Western Province. The money is for much-needed equipment, supplies and facilities, not to pay for administration or staffing.
The head teacher of Kwiroknai Primary School, Mr. Jonathan Kolda was very excited to show SDP the teacher’s house that they had built using last year’s funding.
“We want to thank SDP for this initiative as now we are able to provide housing for one of our staff,” he said. The house came with a water tank.
“This year’s funding is going towards purchasing toilet pots and a few more tanks for the other staff houses.”