Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Manus island community promoting self-help

Story and pictures by SOLDIER BURUKA of DAL

The people of M’buke Island in Manus province have been praised for their efforts in initiating several self-help projects.
 M’buke islanders on their traditional outrigger canoes welcome the visitors to the launching
 Director for New Guinea Islands region with the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Tom Peni, said the M’buke community had shown that hard work, commitment and patience would bring positive results.
 DAL director for NGI, Tom Peni, and other visitors arriving to a typical Manus style welcome on M’buke island

 He commended the villagers for their initiative in establishing a number of integrated self-help projects to bring development to the area and added that it should be regarded as a model for other disadvantaged communities in the province.
 Peni was speaking during an official launching at M’buke last week attended by representatives of various agencies including DAL, National Agriculture Research Institute, PNG Sustainable Development Program, World Wide Foundation and others. M’buke Island, comprising 13 atolls with a population of around 1, 000 and about 98 km from Lorengau town on the mainland, has survived with resilience from natural and environmental hardship with limited government assistance.
 The community through the M’buke Island Peoples Association has secured its own funding to establish or initiate projects on health, food security, conservation, culture and education.
Their commitment has inspired various agencies, private sector, non-government organisations, individuals and others to provide assistance in one way or another.
 DAL food security director Brown Konabe, on behalf of the DAL Secretary Anton Benjamin, launched a solar water pump system funded at a cost of K30, 000, whilst DAL Mamose region director Masayan Moat launched the coconut replanting programme. Other events included the launching of an improved agricultural technologies project implemented by NARI with funding support from PNGSDP, aid post, double classrooms, two outrigger canoes and a scholarship fund.
 In his address, Peni said the M’buke group of islands situated in the south coast of Manus was vulnerable to the effects of land degradation, declining crop yields and food shortages.
Their main livelihoods are mostly based on fishing and trading.
However, the people have mobilised themselves through the association to raise their own funds and initiate development projects.
A lot of effort has been made by the M’buke community living and working in Port Moresby and elsewhere to raise funds.
Peni commended the community for the outstanding work so far and also involving other stakeholders.
This is a classic example of commitment by individuals and groups to commence projects and seek assistance afterwards.
He said others should look at the M’buke concept and introduce it into their communities. Peni said the association objectives were also in line with the government’s policies and strategies and demonstrated how the public-private partnership could work to achieve long-term and sustainable livelihood.
He assured the community that DAL would work closely with the provincial administration to provide technical assistance to support agriculture initiatives.
 Peni said the solar water pump would help in providing water for drinking, which was a major problem faced by island communities.
He urged the community to look after the facilities.
On the coconut replanting, Peni said coconut was a vital commodity and needed to be promoted vigorously as a cash crop and source of food.
He said the M’buke community had taken the lead to replant and rehabilitate senile coconut trees and urged relevant agencies including Kokonas Indastri Koporesen to support the initiatives.
 Village chief Luke Polangou described the launching of not only one but several projects as a wonderful and historical occasion and praised the M’buke community in Manus and Port Moresby for their support and commitment.
He said the efforts were a result of working in partnership to achieve sustainable livelihood for the people.
 He called on relevant agencies to consider the self-help initiatives undertaken by the M’buke community and provide more support.
 One of the guests who travelled from Port Moresby was Dr Neil Stronach, representative of WWF Western Melanesia Programme based in Papua New Guinea, and officiated in the launching of two outrigger canoes; spoke on the need to make wise decisions regarding conservation and protection of the environment.
He urged the people to use their natural resources wisely for the sake of their future generation.
 Dr Stronach and other officials from DAL were taken to a small group of islands known as Purdy islands where the community is planning to make them wildlife protected area due to its rich marine life.
DAL also plans to rehabilitate rundown coconut trees on one of the islands.


  1. Anonymous4:49 PM

    DAL should spend more time in Manus. The Manus Government must be honest with people to progress work on the millions of kina given by Somare govt for the ring road projects. Agriculture will become a reallity for Manus if this road which is our only hope is built.

  2. Anonymous6:13 PM

    I traveled to M'Buke from Australia to be part of the launching of these self-help projects. I spent my last day in Manus walking around Lorengau town/village. The voting public of Manus and the current and past leaders of Manus must take responsibility for the abysmal state of Lorengau. You have the power to change things through the ballot boxes in 2012. If you keep doing the same things, you get the same results. Wake up Manus!!
    Flora Pondrilei.