In 2008 Adventure Kokoda funded the establishment of Network Kokoda as a not-for-profit charity to honour the legacy of our Kokoda veterans and the PNG Wartime Carriers. Network Kokoda has since been approved as a Developing Country Relief Fund which provides allowable taxation deductions for donors.
We subscribe to the principles developed by the PNG Department of Community Development which, according to former Minister, Dame Carol Kidu DBE, are based on local communities working together to develop sustainable initiatives which generate income to invest in their future.
Network Kokoda initially engaged the services of Mr Sandy Lawson BSc (Agric) as a consultant to engage local community leaders in the Sogeri area and report on a proposal to develop Agricultural Learning Development Centres in the area. Mr Lawson has more than 25 years’ experience in agriculture in PNG and is fluent in both Motu and Tok Pisin.
As a result of Mr Lawson’s recommendation Network Kokoda engaged a young graduate of the Popondetta Agricultural College, Mr Oggie Erehe as a Field Manager. Mr Erehe was born in Kokoda and has a diploma in Tropical Agriculture from the University of Natural Resources and Environment in Popondetta. Network Kokoda are funding his ongoing studies to allow him to obtain his degree in Tropical Agriculture through the University of Technology in Lae.
The Australian Board is chaired by Brigadier Phil McNamara OAM (Ret). The Executive Officer is Lieutenant Colonel Rowan Tracey (Ret). Both served as officers with the Pacific Islands Regiment in Papua New Guinea during their army careers and are fluent in Tok Pisin.
The PNG Board is chaired by The Hon Charlie Lynn OL. The Board of Directors includes The Hon Dame Carol Kidu DBE and Marianna Ellingson, Secretary to the PNG Minister’s Office of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
The most challenging task in the development of village learning centres is to encourage local people, clans and communities to work together. The initial phase involves much discussion, many meetings, trust, mutual obligation, partnerships and a path to local ownership.
We believe agriculture is the most effective gateway to community development along the Kokoda Trail. We therefore aim to change the subsistence mindset of villagers to one of business entrepreneurship and have established a partnership with the Sogeri National High School and Iaowari High School to establish market gardens at each school to improve the nutrition of boarding students and to demonstrate the economic benefits of marketing produce to local communities. [Read more…]