By ZACHERY PER
WHEN he lost all his textbooks during the earthquake which hit Southern Highlands in February 2018, Feibik Kilip Simon was devastated.
Not only the earthquake, but the non-stop violence in Mendi town and unending law and order issues in the area dented his spirit and determination to achieve his plan to acquire a Masters in Public Administration degree at the Divine World University in Madang.
But he resolved to give it another go.
“When you want get something done, you have to work hard for it. You have to struggle for it until you get it.”
Last Sunday, Fiebik, the deputy provincial administrator economic and social services, graduated with the degree in front of his family, friends and tribesmen.
“It is through self-determination, dedication and perseverance amid the volatile situations in Southern Highlands, violence in Mendi town, election-related law and order related issues, the earthquake, I struggled through to graduate at last.”
Fiebik, 32, is from the Nipa Kutubu district. He grew up in Kundiawa town, Chimbu where his parents Anna Mei and father Simon Kilip chose to live. He is the sixth eldest of seven children – including two adopted ones. His other siblings have succeed in their own pursuits in life and have their own families. Fiebik himself is living in Mendi with his young family.
“ When you want get something done, you have to work hard for it. You have to struggle for it until you get it.
He grew up in a well-disciplined Christian home and attended the Kundiawa Grace Baptist Christian Academy School. He proceeded to the Gon Kambua Primary School doing grades one to eight before he enrolled at the then Kundiawa Lutheran Day High School where he completed Grade 10 in 2003.
He then completed Grade 11 and Grade 12 at the Port Moresby National High School before entering the University of PNG pursuing a Political Science course.
In 2010, he graduated and took up a job with the Department of Personnel Management as an Industrial Relations Officer for five months. He then joined the SHP administration as an executive officer for the provincial supplies and tenders board.
He served as an executive officer to the provincial administrator then deputy education adviser. In 2017 he became deputy provincial administrator economic and social services.
After he was appointed acting provincial administrator, “I felt I needed to gain higher knowledge to understand situations better”.
The position required the holder to possess a degree in public administration plus almost 10 years work experience. So he had no choice.
The demand in the workforce also required a highly qualified human resource officer to implement government policies and deliver services to the people.
He therefore decided to upgrade his qualifications and skills to become an effective public servant.
He did not hesitate to apply when he saw the Divine Word University advertising courses for working professionals.
“I quickly negotiated and enrolled in the programme in 2017. The DWU flexible learning opened up the opportunity for me do my Masters in Public Administration.”
It was not easy.
“I encountered challenges to find school fees as I was not sponsored by the Department of Personal Management through the AusAID support programme.”
Through Governor William Powi and the office of the provincial administration, he secured a loan of K15,000 for the course fees and travel expenses.
Then comes the problem of travelling from Mendi to Madang to attend classes.
“It takes usually 14 hours to travel from Mendi to Madang. I faced problems anyone can think of along the road. Sometimes I spent nights on the highway.”
Fiebik was one of the 17 senior public servants including top cop Peter Guinness who graduated.
He thanks his wife Tina and children for putting up with his absence from home. He also thanks his parents, and most of all God, for the guidance and support.
“I thank Mum Anna for her hard work selling second hand clothes at the Kundiawa town market to pay school fees, not only for me but also for my brothers and sisters.
“I also pay special tribute to the Endugla tribesmen particularly the Kondaku clan for their support.”
His family and relatives hosted a big party for him at a resort outside after the graduation on Sunday.
“I thank God for his abundant blessings and motivation that brought me this far.”