The Digicel PNG Foundation’s mission is to empower our people and our communities
How do we do this?
We work with communities to develop and build sustainable and meaningful projects and programs focusing on the areas of education and health. The core of the Digicel Foundation’s work is encouraging positive community ownership to improve the lives of people of PNG.
Improving elementary and primary school infrastructure
The Digicel PNG Foundation was established in October 2008, 15 months after Digicel’s launch in PNG. Over the first 24 months and with a budget of US$2 million the Foundation focused on increasing access toin 15 of the 20 provinces in PNG. Each primary school double steel frame classroom includes 40 school benches for 80 students, an office, water tank and toilets. The elementary school classrooms include a library with 300 books and basic school materials.Supporting community based projects
Another area Digicel PNG Foundation focuses on is improving communities self sufficiency through establishing Community Learning Centres (CLC’s). This is in line with the Ministry of Community Development’s “Integrated Community Development Policy” whereby communities are encouraged to develop their communities using a bottom-up approach. They are encouraged to establish their own Community Learning Develop Centre to fulfill their community’s needs. The facility is owned and managed by the community itself. Close to 40 CLC’s have now been set up across PNG. Most CLC’s are used as pre and elementary classrooms but often also provide learning for adults i.e. literacy, cooking and sewing skills and some are used as a community based health centre. Through the established CLC’s more than 1,500 disadvantaged children nationwide are given basic numeracy and literacy skills.
Improving health in rural areas and fighting gender inequality
A third area that Digicel PNG Foundation focuses on is rural based health facilities and gender equality. Government services generally in PNG are in a state of neglect, particularly in the rural areas and in the areas of education and health. To improve basic health services in the rural area Digicel PNG Foundation has partnered with the Foursquare Church to provide mobile clinics that treat up to 1,000 people a month. During the Cholera outbreak in June 2010, in the capital of Port Moresby and other more remote areas of Central Province, Foursquare Church’s medical clinic was used as an emergency response unit, treating close to 700 Cholera patients in the rural areas in the Province over a two week period, which helped prevent the spread of the killer disease and saved many lives. The Digicel PNG Foundation has funded three mobile clinics through its partner Foursquare Church in three different Provinces in PNG and continues to roll out this highly effective programme. In the area of gender equality and domestic violence Digicel PNG Foundation partners with UNICEF and the Department of Health to provide co-funding for Family Support Centres attached to Government run hospitals which give emergency treatment and shelter to abused women and children. Furthermore it partners with local NGOs to establish community based women’s resource centres to support women to learn a life skill and become more self reliant as well as offering them counseling and shelter if needed.
Working with Partners
Digicel PNG Foundation works together with Government, churches, NGO’s and the private sector to fund and operate projects in the focus areas of Education, Rural Health Services and Domestic Violence. Since the Foundation’s inception in October 2008 it has funded the WeCARe Foundation, a local NGO, that helps young women and children from marginalised squatter settlements in the capital of Port Moresby. Through the WeCARe Foundation more than 1,000 of the poorest children in the city are given basic shelter,food, education and health services. Hundreds of disadvantaged school aged children’s school fees are paid giving them an opportunity to be educated and look out to a more positive future.
Working with partners is important for the sustainability of the projects funded by the Digicel PNG Foundation. This is a critical focus area for the Foundation for 2009 – 2012. The Foundation has started a Sustainability Programme in 2009 for its community based projects. A pilot training programme for 60 community based volunteer pre and elementary school teachers in Port Moresby was completed in July 2010 and is being followed up with a one year Mentoring Programme in 2010-11 to ensure that the children receive a quality basic education. The objective of this “Easy Learning Programme” is to ensure that disadvantaged children, mainly from the squatter settlements, are taught basic numeracy and literacy skills, giving them the opportunity to continue their education in the formal sector.
Why we do it?
In the midst of the poverty in which the majority of the people in PNG live today, there is an urgent need to foster community development initiatives and to empower people so that they can reach their true potential through self sufficiency. In today’s situation where Government is struggling to provide the country, especially the rural areas, with basic health and education services it is paramount that we, together with our partners, step in to give the extra resource boost needed to enable communities to strengthen themselves and develop into a stronger community and country as a whole for the future.