The Digicel PNG Foundation announced, at a media event today, that K7m was invested in a total of 53 community based projects in the areas of basic education and health in financial year 2011/12. The event marked the launch of the Foundation’s Annual Report outlining the organizations roll out of projects during the last financial year and the plans for 2012/13. The Digicel Foundation’s achievements in 2011/12 in the area of education have included:
- Construction of 24 primary school classrooms in rural areas, providing 960 primary school students with a much improved learning environment and clean water and sanitation facilities
- Construction of 42 elementary school classrooms in rural areas, providing 840 children which a much improved learning environment and clean water and sanitation facilities
- Ongoing operation of 31 Community Learning Center (CLC) schools which provide basic education to 1,500 children in marginalized communities
- Continuation of the ‘Isi Learning program’, teacher training course, in partnership with Unity Foursquare Church training 52 grass roots community based teachers in the CLC schools in Port Moresby.
While in the area of Health & Community development the Foundation has developed and funded the following:
- Four Mobile Health Clinics, providing free health services to more than 15,000 people in rural areas.
- Established a Basic Life and Business Skills Program, in partnership with local NGO (Ginigoada Business Development Foundation), providing life skills and job opportunities to 1,000 program graduates
- Providing financial and skill based support for WeCARe Foundation aiming to improve the living conditions of children and young women living in the settlements of Port Moresby.
Reflecting on the past 12 months Digicel Foundation’s Executive Director, Marina van der Vlies, said; “Digicel Foundation has continued to focus on improving access to basic education for children living in rural areas through the building of permanent double classrooms including water and sanitation facilities and through the three year Community Learning Centre (CLC) Sustainability Program. The CLC Sustainability Program came to a close this year, showing very encouraging results. More than 75% of the 31 CLC’s reached the highest levels of the Sustainability Performance Model, a model which was developed by the Foundation whilst working closely with the CLCs and their communities. We are extremely proud of how far these CLC’s have come within just three years. They are proof of the extraordinary capability that communities have to improve their living standards when provided with the necessary resources. They have become a part of us in our ongoing commitment to empower and build stronger communities across PNG.” Looking at the plans for this financial year (2012-13) Digicel Foundation’s Chairman, Richard Kassman added; “Digicel Foundation will continue to increase its footprint in the community and PNG as a whole in the focus areas of basic education and health. We have already started with a strong first quarter of activities. Our end of year goal is to construct 40 double classrooms for 40 primary and elementary schools benefiting 1,000 students living in the more rural and remote areas of PNG. The redesigned double classrooms all include solar power providing the students and teachers with lighting and a source of power for a computer and a printer to increase their productivity. We have approved funding of double classroom projects for more than 20 schools that have applied and have completed our first school projects for this year. We are also expanding our community based programs into other geographical areas so more marginalized communities can benefit. The core of the Digicel Foundation’s work is encouraging positive community ownership to improve the lives of people of PNG.” To date the Digicel Foundation has funded 148 community based projects covering 22 provinces in PNG and put K13 million back into marginalized PNG communities which has directly impacted more than 100,000 people. The Digicel Foundation plans to continue the funding of community projects in the area of basic education and health aiming to support communities as they become more self-reliant in the future.