Feature Articles

Welcome to this week's feature stories. The stories are from various Papua New Guinean writers. The main highlight this week is the story on .....

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sago ministry in Malaita


MAKING sago to minister to the Malaitan people in the Solomon Island is testament that God works in strange ways to extend his Kingdom.

And this is an area that the Assemblies Of God church (AOG) PNG will use to starts its missions work in the Solomon Island by going into sago making in Fiu village.

The sago making art and the variety of sago food product is already raising eyebrows and stimulating taste buds among the villagers to embrace the Pentecostal revival breakout among our Melanesian brothers and sisters.

The tropical rainforested Malaita is just like any typical coastal PNG Province where it has similar village settings with rivers, swampy and mountainous areas. They are subsistence farmers and fishermen with vegetable gardens, various wild lives, birds, insect inhabited forest and rivers, swamps inhabited with various fish and marine lives.

 Along these rivers and swampy banks are an abundance of sago palms.
Despite having similar village daily lifestyles that includes living of similar indigenous foods like us, they don’t know that these sago palms contain a huge warehouse of delicate food products.
 They became aware of the potential of eating sago products when they were informed by the first AOG mission team that visited last April.
Pastor Philo Kasseng, who was part of that team, told them that sago can provide food them for months.
“I also told them that they can produce sago bags and bring it over to Honiara and sell them to a huge PNG population and generate income for their other household needs,” he said.

A surprised Fiu village Anglican Renewal center Pastor Eliot Bula said that they only use the leaves (commonly known in pidgin as morota) to make sago thatched roof and spathe (commonly know in pidgin as pangal) to make walls for their houses.

“But not for food. We know that pigs love to eat the spongy part of it located in the center of the trunk,” he said.

This spongy part can also be known as pith or starch.
So he requested Pastor Kaseng if the PNG Team would teach them the art of sago making.
Pastor Kasseng said that the current team were ill prepared but assured the villagers that the second team would return and teach them how to make sago and cook a variety of sago food products.

So when the first team returned to Gerehu AOG New Life Family Church, they briefed the second team members to take sago beating sticks with them. The 14 members of the second team were mostly women from Sepik, Gulf, Oro and Simbu Provinces.

Before the second team went back to Fiu village last November, they sent word to the villagers a week in advance to cut down a sago palm tree.

So when the team arrived in Fiu, they rounded the villagers and proceed to remove the trunk to expose the spongy substance and pounded the spongy substance by grounding it into a reasonable soft powder. They then built a trough from the huge hollow part of the stem of the sago palm leaf. The trough is supported with strong sticks firmly placed upright into the ground. The powder is kneaded in water over empty rice bag. The water then is collected in a dish at the end of the trough. After the water is collected, sago pulp is settled at the dish.

The villagers even tried their hands out in the sago making art by beating out the spongy part and squeezing out the sago into the dish.

The collected sago pulp was then processed into nangu with boiling water which is popular among the Sepiks and the sago was wrapped in banana leaves mixed with banana to make poe which is popular among the Gulf.

These two sago products have become a favorite among the villagers and the team members have vowed to teach them how to produce more variety of sago food products.

This was one of an activity that had been shared and enjoyed by both people that prompted Solomon Island High Commissioner to PNG William Nii Haomae to reveal that relations between PNG and Solomon Island are growing stronger in all aspects.

“It is getting stronger at present in cultural ties, economically, politically, educationally, spiritually, musically,  in all aspects of live,” he said.

Mr Haomae said that during the launching of the AOG PNG-Solomon Island Mission at the Assemblies Of God (AOG) New Life Family Church at Gerehu in Port Moresby last month.

Mr Haomae also thanked the AOG PNG for contributing to strengthen relations in the spiritual area by working with AOG Solomon Islands to bring development to Solomon Island.

In supporting Mr Haomae’s comments, AOG Solomon Island General Secretary Pastor John Subu thanked PNG’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neil for giving K20million to the Solomon Islands Government. Mr O’Neil last month presented the money to the Solomon Islands Government in Honiara.

Pastor Subu said that not only AOG PNG church is providing supporting but PNG Government and people of PNG are providing support to the Solomon Islands people.

Pastor Subu thanked AOG PNG for donating a computer and printer set for the AOG Bible College at Auki in Malaita Province, in the Solomon Islands last year with a workabout sawmill and chain saw to build an academic school at Fue village also in Malaita.

Pastor Subu also gave a valuable and sacred traditional shell money neck laces (taboo) to AOG PNG missions Director Pastor Paul Hambukie as a symbolic and customary appreciation for this partnership. 
Defence step up to restore pride

Defence Media Unit

PNGDF Soldiers participating in the Wantok Warrior exercise. Both the PNGDF and the Department of Defence (Defence Organziation) is working closely to make sure all capability development potential of the Defence Organization is fully realized and developed to meet the requirement of the Government and its people. Picture Courtesy of PNGDF Archives
It is of Papua New Guinea’s national interest that the Defence Organization is well administrated both financially and administratively to meet the government and the peoples’ requirements and expectations by building the organizations capacity to deal with the current global/regional security challenges as well as nation building.

Despite many years of being crippled by heavy criticisms of mal-management, Defence has successfully turned yet another stone this week in its continuous progress to restore back the long lost dignity and integrity of the Organization.

The Organization Activity Managers both within the PNGDF and the Department of Defence gathered since Monday last week in a closed door yet very noteworthy Defence Organization Mid-Year Budget Review week where they were all tasked to present specific and detailed reports on their expenditure according to their initial Expenditure Plans put together in January 2013.

Last week’s Mid-Year Expenditure Review held at the Non Commission Officers (NCOs) Mess at Murray Barracks has set the platform for Activity Managers and the Organization as a whole to confirm that all expenditures are accordingly spent on the activities that were planned for and outlined within the 2013 expenditure plans.
Troups in Tari during the 2012 National Elections. Defence is working towards creating a new look PNGDF that would capable of dealing with the current global/regional security challenges of the 21st century as well as nation building. Picture by Alexander Nara

As the Organizational Heads, Commander PNGDF – Brigadier General Francis Agwi and Secretary for Defence John Sini Porti both strongly highlighted that the organization’s budget is the key element to successful progress and achievement of the organization goals and developments and all managers must be administratively focused to drive and achieve the expected outcomes.

Defence has also taken a largest cut of 2013 Government budget apart from Education and health and this require sharp administrators to prove that Defence can meet the demand of the Government and provide necessary output for the people of Papua New Guinea.

The review workshop also established the underlying challenge to all managers to be administratively focussed and to identify the remaining appropriate planned activities indicated in the expenditure plans within the last remaining months of 2013 and to implement them accordingly before 2014.

The one week workshop also allow an indirect audit of all expenditures in the past six months and enable the organization to focus on the last remaining months of 2013, which would establish the platform for the end of the year Budget Review as well as it would create the framework to put together the Defence Annual Report at the end of the year.

Defence is effectively resourced by the Government this year 2013 to carry out its core function of service delivery and to protect the people of Papua New Guinea from unnecessary threats to its national security, which ignite the need to be accountable in the way the peoples’ money is budgeted and used within the organization.

Over many years, expenditures have not been spent according to expenditure plans, which have always develop serious allegations of misappropriation, mal-practices and misuse within the organization.

The offices hold by the officers belong to the state and the people of Papua New Guinea and the significant move to tightened all expenditure and review plans according to the set development and progress plans all year around is a unique turn around by the Defence Organization to monitor and make sure the allocated budget is spent extremely well for the benefit of PNG Government and its people.

This week, all Activity Managers reconvened again for an intensive 2014 budget workshop.

The organization believe it is essential for an early start to prepare the 2014 budget to allow enough time for all Branch Heads and Activity Managers to critically identify and capture every possible activities throughout the organization.

The Heads also strongly pointed out that there are two different structures, which are financial structure and the Organizational structure that must be very well understood before all visions and plan would be achieved within Organization.

Brigadier Agwi and Secretary Porti highlighted that there are lot of work within the Department that is yet to be accomplished and all appropriate branch heads and the Organization as a whole are set to support and work together.

All participants are now putting their heads together to cautiously visualize, point out appropriate activities, analyse on possible avenues of capability developments and create a budget that would carry the Defence into a more effective organization that can protect the people of PNG from both internal and external threats as well as Nation Building.

Meanwhile, allegations of misappropriation, mal-administration and fraud has been levelled against the Secretary for Defence John Sini Porti and staff of the Department of Defence over the last few months which Secretary Porti said are serious in nature and required attention.

The Secretary confirmed his office has instituted measures to address these allegations and that involves requesting Auditor General’s Office to audit all books of accounts plus systems in the Defence Organization. The Auditor General’s Office had already commenced work since last week.

The Defence Internal Audit has also being instructed to carry out its own internal investigation.

We have also requested Audit Support from Department of Finance, Treasury, Planning and Department of Personal Management to assist our internal audit team.

 Treasurer Don Polye and his host at the University of Goroka education conference where he stressed the need to cultivate a savings culture
Education conference a success in Goroka

THE 2013 National Education Conference ended on a high note at the University of Goroka with participants unanimously agreeing for the establishment of a national curriculum assessment and authority (NCAMA).
The conference theme “Calibrate Education for my future’ is a major attempt to reform the education sector to deliver on the demands of the Government expressed through the Vision 2050.
Apart from the endorsement of NCAMA by participants including policy-makers, implementers, especially teachers and academics, the conference endorsed recommendations of the recent Madang Small Medium Enterprise (SME) for business education to be included in the school curriculum.
Treasurer Don Polye, who is acting Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology, in his opening remarks stressed the need to cultivate a savings culture through sound financial education that will spur economic growth.
He said Papua New Guineans lacked basic financial management skills that led to mismanagement of finance from the family unit level to high public and private sectors.
Polye called for the introduction of financial management in the school curriculum and committed to take up the recommendations of the conference to the National Executive Council (NEC).
The conference holistically calibrated and recalibrated the education sector taking on board various issues confronting the current system in light of the Government’s determination to deliver quality education.
The meeting was jointly sponsored by the Prime Minister’s Department through the Office of Vision 2050, the Office of Higher Education, Department of Education and the University of Goroka.
It is part of the initial stages of implementing strategies toward the achievement of vision 2050, the first five years of the 50 years are the years of calibration that started in 2011 to 2015 for vision 2050.
In 2010 was the first year that the vision became operational for the alignment of departments and state-owned bodies.
Although 2011 was the first year of implementation it did not eventuate due to lack of funding. However, when the Peter O’Neill-led government came into place later that year, the funding was made available through a shift in the budget strategy focusing on the sub-national levels as desired by vision 2050.
The Goroka conference is partly incompliance of the Morobe communiqué in 2009, however, the actual allocation of the fund was done this year.