West Papuan Delegates at the RO conference in 2014
Annual Planning- Acknowledging Our Challenges & Celebrating our Success
Annual Planning is an important agenda in Bismarck Ramu Group’s annual calendar. This vital schedule helps all staffs, and community facilitators alike to discuss and develop approaches in leadership that are necessary to organize and facilitate people’s development.
This years planning was something different as it included the revisit of the organization’s history from its beginnings in 1996 as Bismarck Ramu Integrated Conservation and Development Project (BRICAD) a program funded under the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Through various failed attempts as a conservation project it gave way for further reforms for BRICAD and it was granted a new status breaking away from UNDP and working independently as an NGO with the name Bismarck Ramu Group in the year 2000. These changes have influenced BRG to adopt different strategies to diversify its role to suit and facilitate self-reliance thus helping the people to rethink the current model of development in PNG.
The reflections gained from the history of BRG work in the last 20 years has assisted in the reformation of BRG’s work output in the three main programs of community facilitation, Education and Research, Information & Communication)
More importantly all our discussions have brought about a present realization that is a main concern for all of us is to do more to protect our lives from more extortions. That is we are working hard to save our land and sea to counteract inclusive development of both land and the sea. One of these is the increased exploration sites and licenses being granted by Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) to undergo explorations in PNG waters. Please follow the attached link to view map showing possible tenements sites in PNG at http://www.mra.gov.pg/License/EL2016.aspx
Interesting enough the highlight of the two-week planning Bismarck Ramu Group was part of a traditional ceremony with the Madang Maror-a group of elders from the six districts of Madang province.
The traditional ceremony symbolizes an agreement to partnership between BRG and Madang Maror to work together and initiate the Madang Food Festival which will occur mid this year. This will not only be a mere display of accepting responsibilities but captures the essence of BRG’s work- to promote local development entailed with indigenous knowledge and culture and yet preserving land resources and retaining some of the cultural knowledge of food preservation.
This is a new approach that gives a greater awareness to protect our land and resources and secure social stability for our children and the future generation. Therefore for everyone here at Bismarck Ramu group we would like to commend our efforts and commitments whilst having the pleasure to share with you some of the positive outcomes of our work.
Highlights of Bismarck Ramu Group
- Hosted the Rethinking Oceania (RO) Conference in 2014 at Jais Aben Resort, Madang PNG.
A gathering comprised of all the elites in Oceania including academics; students and NGO’s alike coming together to rethink the current trend of development that is intruding our societies in the Pacific. Issues discussed include Decolonization, Climate Change and Free West Papua.
BRG was one of the members that formed the Wan Solwara Campaign that came about after the Rethinking Oceania Conference. It was adapted as a Journalism Programme for the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. In PNG one of its programs is educating Melanesia to strengthen to push for independence for West Papua.
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG
The Church under the leadership of its Bishop had signed a petition addressing the PNG government about its people stance to say NO! to Exploration Seabed Mining in PNG. Taking a related approach this evoke a further extension of similar encounter with the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) in Fiji to voice its stance on behalf of the 6.1 million Christians in the Oceania region to say NO! to Deep Sea Mining.
The University of Goroka has shown an interest in terms of the teaching methods/technique delivered by BRG’s education team. A presentation was scheduled for April of this year for a trainer from BRG to give a demonstration on the collective and participatory method of teaching that BRG is currently utilizing it in its Education program.
Also the academic staffs from specific departments had shown an interest to incorporate the content of BRG's main tool the PNG History Development Timeline into the curriculum of the university.
Thankyou for your time and consideration to support the cause of our work in addressing human rights and building bettter communities.
Saying NO! to Exploration Seabed Mining
Participants attending the RO conference in Madang