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Sharing the Future - Young Papua New Guineans

by Bismark Ramu Group
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Sharing the Future - Young Papua New Guineans
Sharing the Future - Young Papua New Guineans
Sharing the Future - Young Papua New Guineans
Sharing the Future - Young Papua New Guineans
Sharing the Future - Young Papua New Guineans
Sharing the Future - Young Papua New Guineans
Sharing the Future - Young Papua New Guineans
Sharing the Future - Young Papua New Guineans
Sharing the Future - Young Papua New Guineans
Sharing the Future - Young Papua New Guineans
Sharing the Future - Young Papua New Guineans
Sharing the Future - Young Papua New Guineans
Sharing the Future - Young Papua New Guineans
Coordinates-Solwara 1 Duke of York & west coast NI
Coordinates-Solwara 1 Duke of York & west coast NI

Duke of York Islands and West coast New Ireland are two very grave areas chosen as the sight of the proposed Solwara 1 Project world’s first deep-sea mining yet showing a very rich cultural and spiritual tradition to the sea.

Duke of York Islands, a group of islands located in East New Britain Province. They are found in St George Channel between New Britain and New Ireland and forms part of the Bismarck Archipelago. The largest island of Duke of York the other two small islands of Mioko Palpal in the south and Makada in the north.

Duke of York Islands remains the transit point for local seafarers and people travelling by boat from west coast New Ireland to the nearest town of Kokopo in East New Britain. This sea route taken by the travelling public is largely inclined to the lack of basic government services and infrastructure in mainland New Ireland and being located further away from Kavieng the provincial center and in accessing Kokopo is not an exception.

These exquisite and remote isles in the center of the proposed Solwara 1 project continuously strengthen their cultural and spiritual connection to the sea to ban Seabed Mining. The Kinavai ceremony (Duke of York) a traditional parade of the tolai sacred society the Dukduks, traditional mask dancers on the sea and the traditional shark callers from Messi village west coast New Ireland are living paradigms of people who are culturally alive and intimately connected to the sea. These practices are inherent thus making it infinitive for science to separate the local cultures from its spirituality that is tied to the sea.

Sharing the same scenario in geographical location within the Solwara 1 project and having similar close cultural ties the coastal benefit areas (West Coast New Ireland and Duke of York Islands remain a crucial center for a local holistic investigative analysis of the Solwara 1 Project.

Investigative Analysis through Conceptual and Participatory processes has provided a substantive background yet very clear and concise local knowledge.

Locals including men women, young people, children and elders in Duke of York Island were asked to create a risk mapping; write down problems associated with Deep Sea Mining on cards, then rank them accordingly.

Inclusive of the participatory process locals did an illustration of their fishing grounds and mapping out a natural ecosystem that has consistently provided for their livelihood for thousands of years.

Another investigative approach the Conceptual process (developing mental models) of hazard mapping through verbal opinions clearly describes a very comprehensive society. For example to estimate and draw/represent the depth of the ocean, how it looks and what will be the risks of Deep Sea Mining.

Locals together with volunteers assembled a participatory art sculpture on the seaward part of the island facing the sea route of sea travellers from West coast New Ireland. The construction of sculptures stands as a signpost to protest, educate and tell people about the risks of seabed mining; a very westernized fashion yet very informative and effective.

Conceptual and Participatory Art is convincible for the local peoples of West Coast New Ireland and Duke of York Islands because it is practically and theoretical proven that the people are closely connected with the nature and the surrounding environment; the scientific knowledge of the eco-system is more proven and understandable through their daily experiences. The people’s experiences and local knowledge of the sea and the associate environment practically weighs out bold propositions by senior officials in respective authorities most of them seem to be pressed into uncertainty. A local ordinary person with a vast understanding of his or her local environment is better off in telling changes in the ocean natural system and how it influences the society’s hence sea bed mining needs more grounding knowledge in theory and practice.

Duke of York Islanders and New Irelanders from the west coast stand together with hands crossed to BAN Deep Sea Mining in their waters. Their opposition is well presented in their initial view and is further replicated, about and almost all of Duke of York Islands and especially west coast New Ireland.  

Want to save our people's livelihood and the ocean and help us BAN Deep Sea Mining donate now to Sharing the Future- Young Papua New Guineans!

Participatory Risk Mapping-Women & Children
Participatory Risk Mapping-Women & Children
Locals & Volunteers-Sculpture assembling
Locals & Volunteers-Sculpture assembling
Illustration of local ecosystem
Illustration of local ecosystem
Tolai Kinavai Ceremony-Sea Parade
Tolai Kinavai Ceremony-Sea Parade
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University of Goroka Graduation Ceremony
University of Goroka Graduation Ceremony

Bismarck Ramu Group (BRG) is proud to announce that our first class at the University of Goroka just graduated. This is a major milestone for our education program, “Sharing the Future.”

In late 2015, BRG partnered with the Research Conservation Foundation (RCF), a sister NGO, to offer a joint course in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at UoG. RCF takes students for 7 weeks and teaches them on Environment and Conservation while BRG takes the same students in the remaining 7 weeks on Development Tools and Community Approaches.

The purpose of the course was to shift and change the development perspective of the present and future elites of Papua New Guinea through learning and teaching in tertiary level of education. We aimed to change and impact young minds in various field of expertise to question, challenge and influence societal development mindset. Moreover, we intend to instill Melanesian values of inclusiveness, solidarity, and self reliance in-order to become true Melanesian Warriors to reclaim and carve the future they want instead of being controlled and driven by a foreign dominant model of development.

Eight students successfully completed the first course teaching. Two of the eight students that have graduated chose to work with BRG as researchers and community facilitators where they will be using what they learned to empower grassroots and rural Papua New Guineans.

As our 3-year partnership with RCF is coming to an end, the School of Humanities & Social Sciences through the Discipline of Planning & Development Studies has invited BRG for a direct partnership. Discussions are currently underway. In this new partnership, BRG will teach in the Discipline of Planning and Development Studies. BRG has developed a course guide for the Planning & Development Studies together with other teaching materials. These materials have already been tested and approved by the University. Furthermore, moving forward, BRG is looking to recruit more students from the local universities to take part in industrial trainings as well as to up-skill BRG staffs so that we can offer similar courses taught by our own uniquely experienced team.

BRG has created space for students from universities to come and do industrial training. We’ve had students from Divine Word University in Madang, University of Technology in Morobe Province and UoG. At the time of writing this, we have now two students from the Communication and Development Department of the University of Technology on Industrial Training. These two students are doing research on some of the development issues BRG is working on.

It is one of BRG’s key strategies to invest in young people, the future leaders of tomorrow. The organization wants to continue to expand this space for young people not only to do research but to nurture a new generation of young and conscious Melanesians who will be catalysts/agents to make a difference and change the current status quo.

Want to support BRG’s work to challenge and critique the model of development in PNG through learning and teaching? Donate to BRG’s “Sharing the Future” Project now!

BRG-UOG Graduates with their awards
BRG-UOG Graduates with their awards
Student Industrial Training
Student Industrial Training
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Spoils of a Tropical Paradise
Spoils of a Tropical Paradise

Natural beauty and wonders of a tropical paradise combined with its people and cultural significance has offered a remarkable experience for colleagues and families during the Christmas Holidays.

Family and community is an integral part of BRG’s work. Bringing together families has reignited family values of unity and relationship. A great encounter that brings a lot of good memories and promising hopes for the future for the younger generation, families’ communities and the local village community.

Family picnic on the island, relaxing and enjoying the calm breeze of the Bismarck Sea or just a peaceful natural tropical getaway.

Cultural initiation of young boys in the men’s house symbolizes maturity. Young men are prepared to foresee the challenges of manhood and of living within a communal society and to sharing its responsibilities in a multicultural society.

Surely it is a time of happiness and excitement to welcome a new generation of leaders and decision makers in a grandeur and spectacular style as they came out colorfully dressed and treated to a special cultural parade through the main village with special treats  coming from the sea. That is a marvelous and spectacular dolphin experince.

Dolphins visits is a way of  showing the close cultural connection of the local people with the sea. The coastal environment and its associates holds a deep tie with cultural associated features within the men's house hence enhancing their significance in the local cultural initiation ceremony.

Younger generation showed an aspiring view for the future capturing every moment and beauty of this tropical paradise from dawn till dusk showing a glimpse of treasuring every inch of life’s moment without missing anything. Such appreciation of a tropical paradise gives us a sense of hoping for a better future.

Holiday in a tropical paradise merged with the local culture and livelihood is a worthy cause for saving the future. 

Family picnic
Family picnic
Cultural parade
Cultural parade
Smiles and hopes for a great future
Smiles and hopes for a great future

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A staff of RCF talking to students
A staff of RCF talking to students

Bismarck Ramu Group [BRG], University of Goroka Engagement: 2015 - 2017:

BRIEF:

1: Background-History

Bismarck Ramu Group has reached another milestone in its Education Program with an opportunity to teach at the University of Goroka PNG. This is an outcome of a long history with Research Conservation Foundation [RCF] a partner NGO, dating back in the late 90’s.

Working closer together in many years and sharing the value of work within the respective organizations has created possible discussions for a combined effort that could contribute towards achieving the higher shared organizational goals and objectives.

Over these years, there has been a rich exchange of knowledge and ideas in which BRG has had the opportunity to share from its area of expertise that is in, Community Development Work through;

  • BRG CF’s field engagement in RCF work areas/Crater Mountain Wildlife Management Areas [WMA]      
  • Field/community assessment and Organizational evaluation
  • Other organizational support

While BRG is working within various circles in PNG and in the Pacific in terms of Community Development work, RCF took on the initiative to build research and teach conservation knowledge through its Conservation Education Program with UoG.

Discussions for the need of a possible joint course offer at UoG started in 2013 and in 2014 BRG course preparation began with close guidance/mentoring by RCF.

In early 2014, RCF through its Conservation Education Program at UoG had its contract renewed for another three years with UoG with much appreciation this time BRG was included as a third party to this contract.

In late second semester of 2015 – BRG was officially welcomed into The School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

In the next two [2] years [2016-2017] BRG will be teaching in the division of Indigenous Environment and Development Studies [IEDS] under School of Humanities & Social Sciences – University of Goroka.

COURSE TEACHING:

A; RCF teaches  - Indigenous Knowledge and Environment studies

B; BRG teaches Development [Development Tools – course name]

3: Purpose

To shift and change the DEVELOPMENT mindset/perspective of the present and future elites of Papua New Guinea through learning and teaching in tertiary level of education.

4: Aim

To change and impact young minds in various field of expertise to question, challenge and impact the societal development mindset.

Our interest is to build a strong impact on undergraduate (BA) Education students [Graduating Teachers] with the idea that they will continue to build a much more stronger impact within their field through empowering;

  • Young minds in schools [Primary/Upper Primary and secondary school students]
  • Peer teachers within schools
  • School Board of Management/Parents and communities

Students taking other courses within the school of Humanities are also targeted

5: Challenges

  • Being new to the University environment is a huge challenge in getting to know the whole university its structures, systems, culture and the protocols
  • Documentation of BRG field learning’s/knowledge into a recognized teachable content within the university standard
  • BRG content impossible to deliver within the allowed timeframe [7-8 weeks]. We have to stream down for the allowed time
  • Need additional resources for teaching – increased student registry to IEDS means more work, more resources and more time
  • Need more staff capacity upgrading to qualify for lecturing/tutoring at the unversity level

6: Achievements

With RCF’s guidance/assistance BRG successfully  

i) Developed course content,

ii) Delivered the course,

iii) Conduct students assessments as per the university requirements

iv) First course teaching, eight [8] students successfully completed the course Development Tools

v) Final year [2015] students taking up Industrial Training with BRG and RCF

vi) Increased students registry to BRG/RCF course for 2016

Given the extensive knowledge in research and teaching Development Tools, Indigenous Environment and Development studies [IEDS] has invited BRG to sign a direct contract in 2017 a joint offer with the Planning & Development Studies.

Other divisions within The School of Humanities & Social Sciences [Melanesian Studies] has shown keen interest in similar arrangements.

Want to support BRG’s work to challenge and critique the model of development in PNG through learning and teaching? Donate to BRG’s Sharing the Future Project now”.    

A staff of BRG conducting a lesson
A staff of BRG conducting a lesson
Signing of the MOA between RCF and UOG
Signing of the MOA between RCF and UOG
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Alliance of Solwara Warriors Campaign banner
Alliance of Solwara Warriors Campaign banner

Seabed mining pursued without due diligence to extensive FPIC

The issue of seabed mining in Papua New Guinea has received more resistance than acceptance as communities, stakeholders and citizens are becoming aware of this untried process of mineral extraction that is scheduled for testing in the tuna rich waters of PNG.

With the established understanding of the detrimental effects of land based mining in the country, and the fact that seabed mining is a process never tried before in the world, compounds the fear of the negative consequences seabed mining will have on the environment.

Islanders in New Ireland have continually expressed opposition towards seabed mining in their waters since it was given the nod by PNG and New Ireland governments on their fishing and ritual waters. The world famous Shark callers of New Ireland have no doubt their ancestral ritual is in danger of virtual extinction.

The call to stop the highly controversial experiment of seabed mining in Papua New Guinea is now a national issue of importance as the current political events unfolding with the O’Neill government.

This untried and potentially dangerous process of mineral extraction is scheduled for testing in the tuna rich waters of PNG, off the coast of New Ireland province under the Solwara 1 project.

And what makes this process more contentious is the utter lack of peoples’ free prior and informed consent (FPIC) to the idea of seabed mining. There has not been any form of extensive consultation on the peoples’ views and feelings about seabed mining, nor has any research or fair awareness on the issue of seabed mining being carried out to make people aware of what processes are involved and stakeholder-ship or the matter of benefits from this mining process.

Throughout PNG there has been continual calls from the people towards the government to stop seabed mining due to the fact it is an experimental process. The resistance to seabed mining has been nothing short of phenomenal, with communities and the church and even world governing bodies expressing grave concerns.

The newly formed national representative body of the Alliance of Solwara Warriors is now demanding total ban of seabed mining in Papua New Guinea.

The Alliance of Solwara Warriors is an innitiative undertaken by BRG and other local and regional stakeholders to stand up against such explotive industry in the sea. So far The Alliance has taken the fight to all levels of discussions in local communities, churches,NGO's, schools and cultural socities.

It is an indigeneous people's struggle to claim their livelihood and that the Alliance of Solwara Warriors is content that all necessarry processes will be used to address the issue of Sea bed mining in PNG.

Awareness Campaign to ban Sea bed Mining
Awareness Campaign to ban Sea bed Mining

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Organization Information

Bismark Ramu Group

Location: Madang - Papua New Guinea
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Bismark Ramu Group
Julianne Sapi
Project Leader:
Julianne Sapi
Madang, Madang Papua New Guinea

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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