|Children from Latep in the upper Watut are among a number of communities, enjoying the benefit of clean reliable water supplies better than seasonal river flows brought right to their doorsteps|
Health, education, agriculture and infrastructure development projects are the four major programmes currently being implemented through MMJV’s community sustainable development plans for the people of Wau / Bulolo district and Morobe province.
The projects include construction of water supply systems, roads and bridges including emergency repairs and ongoing maintenance and upgrade of the Lae – Bulolo highway, health and sanitation awareness, training in fish farming, cocoa and coffee growing, and other extension services and school fee assistance and construction of classrooms.
Community water supply projects are well underway and will cater for up to about 40 villages including landowner villages right through the Watut River communities.
To date the people of Golden Pine, Manki 1, Tsili Tsili, Mafranazo and Uruf are now enjoying the benefits of clean fresh water brought right to their doorsteps while progress on awareness, feasibility, soliciting village commitment to ensure ownership, ordering and delivery of materials are being progressed.
This covers Kwembu 1, 2 and 3, Nauti, Winima, Manki 2, Latep and Leklu for the upper regions, Biamena, Gawapu, Dambi, Kapin Nayakes, Piu, Babuaf Madzim, Pekumbe, Wawas in the middle Watut areas; and Maralina, Wongkins, Kapungung, Chiatz, Goraris, Wampan, Bavaga, Kasek and Magaring.
Also on water supply programmess, MMJV recently came to an agreement with the Minister for Health (also the Member for Huon Gulf), Sasa Zibe, to match the district on a kina-for-kina basis up to K1 million for water supply projects as nominated by the Huon Gulf joint district planning and budget priorities committee (JDP and BPC).
MMJV is sponsoring training for small-scale alluvial miners from the landowner and Watut villages at the Wau Small Scale Mining Centre (WSSMC) school of alluvial mining to help them improve their mining yields.
This year the company also paid education subsidies for the children of the Hidden Valley mine landowner villages of Nauti, Kwembu and Winima, affected Watut villages and Wafi-Golpu project area.
Infrastructure development in the three landowner villages of Nauti, Winima and Kwembu, including aid posts, school classrooms and community halls and construction of the Babuaf clinic in the Lower Watut area at Wongkins is also nearing completion.
Plans are also in place to construct six double-storey classrooms and three teacher’s houses in Wau, Baiyune, Bulolo and other selected schools down the Watut River and along the Lae-Bulolo highway in partnership with the provincial division of education.
These programmes were developed following extensive community consultation with all stakeholders, including the different levels of government taking into account the five-year development plans of Morobe provincial government, local level government (LLG) and district wards.
Following these meetings a number of private public partnership (PPP) agreements involving MMJV, the different levels of government, business houses and NGO groups such as Lutheran Development Services, Adventist Development and Relief Agency, Bris Kanda, Morobe Fisheries Management Authority, NARI, dational and provincial departments of Works, health and education and Mainland Holdings Ltd, were developed to help facilitate the delivery of the programmes and projects.
General manager - sustainability and external relations, David Wissink, said that the focus of a number of the projects, such as aquaculture and agricultural training and extension services, was to help affected communities create non-mine related revenue generating activities, and to be self-sustaining.
“We cannot and will never take over the role of government but as a responsible development partner concerned for the livelihood of the people of Wau/ Bulolo, Morobe and Papua New Guinea, we will always proactively seek to engage, support and assist all stakeholders through working partnerships that will deliver benefits for everyone involved in this project,” he said.