Sogeri Pineapple Festival is on

IF you’re in Port Moresby and enjoy the Sogeri pineapple, well it’s going to be celebrated in festival style up in the cool mountains of Koiari land next month.
Not only the fruit but the local culture and the sights of the Sogeri environs will all be there for the visitor take in.
Note down Nov 21 as the tentative date for the event. The organisers may shuffle things around a bit but thereabouts is when the crowned fruit comes into full season so what better time to celebrate than when there’s pineapples galore.
The Sogeri Pineapple Festival is one of several other annual events planned by the Destination Sogeri Tourism Association. It is also fully endorsed by the Koiari LLG, Central provincial government and the NCC
The association sees this festival and its other related activities as catalysts for economic development in Sogeri and Koiari region. The association provides activities, services and facilities for residents of Port Moresby to enjoy when they get out of the city.
The association encourages, trains and promotes landowners products and services.
Launching the Sogeri Pineapple Festival on Friday, Sept 25 was the culmination of over 12 months of hard work by volunteers from various professional backgrounds including Destination Sogeri Tourism Association co-founders Michael Babul and Miku Singin-Agarobe.
Guest at the lauching included Central Governor Robert Agarobe, Kairuku-Hiri MP Peter Isoaimo, National Cultural Commission acting executive director Steven Kilanda, Dr Iwamoto Hiromitsu from the Japanese Embassy and Yasmin Davis from the Australian High Commission.
Hiromitsu recalled the kindness of Koiari people from a personal experience he had as a 20-year-old walking the Kokoda Track. Someone who was to pick him up at Ower’s Corner had left and he was worrying about lcoal raskols when the Good Samaritan showed up and gave him a lift to Port Moresby.

National Cultural Commission acting executive director
Steven Kilanda (right) presenting a letter to Destination
Tourism Association co-founder Michael Babul.

“I want to spend time here,” he said.
Erigere Singin who has spent years in promoting tourism in the country, and a mentor to the Destination Sogeri Tourism Associa, said in order to improve tourism in the Sogeri area, a cluster community tourism concept was seen as the best way forward.
The search was on for the products and services available for tourists to enjoy in this cool mountain region just half an hour away from the capital.
The concept of cluster community tourism obviously formed the basis of registering the association with the Investment Promotion Authority to assist them connect and receive assistance.
The association seeks to source funding support for resource and human development, connect the product owners to relevant government agencies and the PNG Tourism Association, organise training, marketing and promotions and create major annual events and festivals in Sogeri to bring people to the area.
Governor Agarobe said the provincial government encouraged the initiative and the provincial administration’s commerce division would be tasked to train locals in tourism and hospitality so they could confidently entertain visitors and make money to improve their livelihoods.
He added that the Sogeri Pineapple Festival was one of several products his government wants to promote. Others include setting up of plantation lodges, promoting church historical sites such as the Yule Island where the pioneer French missionaries first settled and the Bisiatabu SDA church site.
The event is also intended to promote the provincial government’s aspirations in encouraging rural landowners to go into agriculture and community tourism. Sports, an important part of community life in the province , could also be turned into a money spinner for villages, Agarobe said.
The Central administration has given K86,000 to host the Sogeri Pineapple Festival while the Kairuku-Hiri District Development Authority has pledged K40,000 towards the hosting association. The acting director of NCC Steven Kilanda said the festival was now officially on the national calendar of events and pledged to give a K10,000 assistance to the organisers.
Through Sogeri Pineapple Festival the Koiari people can be united through their culture, agriculture, tourism and sports activities with the residents of National Capital District and Central.
Preserving and documenting the local culture and its various forms of art, craft, music and folklore is also one of the main objectives for the Destination Sogeri Tourism Association.
Association co-founder Michael Babul said the association engaged local volunteers to identify and develop their own tourism products so the association could help promote them.
John Manase is one such local drawing interest in his Escape Island Getaway on the Sirinumu Dam.
“You can spend a night on the island, go fishing, or hunting on the mainland while enjoying the scenery,” Manase said.
“You can find out more about Escape Island Getaway on Facebook.”
Come on up next month and sample a Sogeri pineapple straight out of the garden.
You might even be served a pint of fizzy pineapple punch too!

Graduates were given a passbook each from Women’s Micro Bank. Pictured is Bobby Mua receiving his from bank general manager Gunanidhi Das.

Reaching out to the needy

THE Human Development Institute in Port Moresby has embarked on a programme to rehabilitate gender-based victims and perpetrators through its Personal Viability Business Class education system.
The first lot of over 20 such persons graduated on Sept 16, along with a group who had completed Level 3 in the PV Business System.
This course was the first “loving service to the needy” training course conducted outside of correctional institutions in PNG, said Samuel Tam, founder of Human Development Institute (HDI).
More such training will follow this initial one, in partnership with the recently launched Change Foundation Inc.
Change Foundation Inc is a PNG association, incorporated by Papua New Guineans from all walks of life who have decided to act to help eliminate the cause of gender-based violence and to rehabilitate victims and perpetrators. Founding members of Change Foundation include doctors, nurses, trauma counsellors, lawyers, accountants, entrepreneurs and ordinary Papua New Guineans in public and private sectors, both male and female.
Change Foundation is also supported by founding partners like Women’s Micro Bank, Human Development Institute, Rapid Response Ltd, Boroko Motors, Keko Cleaning & Beautification Services Ltd, Eagle PV Business Scheme Ltd, 4-Mile Medical Centre and others.
The foundation mission is to give love, faith and hope to GBV victims and perpetrators; its philosophy is Papua New Guineans caring, helping and supporting Papua New Guineans, and its purpose is to help rehabilitate victims and perpetrators of GBV in all provinces.
The foundation’s objectives are to:

  1. Provide a tracking system to help prevent GBV
  2. Provide real time rapid response system to rescue victims of GBV
  3. Establish rehabilitation centres in all provinces which will become houses of love, faith and hope
  4. Provide professional help and support services to GBV victims including medical, legal and social matters
  5. Provide training to change mindsets using HDI Personal Viability Training programme
  6. Maintain a data base to record and track complaints, victims and perpetrators
  7. Establish income-generating projects for victims and rehabilitation centres to become self-reliant and financially independent
  8. Provide entrepreneur development using HDI business-class education system (PVBS) to help alleviate poverty
The highlight of the graduation on Sept 16 was the “adoption” druing which the graduates from the GBV group selected godparents or mentors to guide them as they practise their new-found knowledge and skills.

Among the group that graduated on Independence Day were re 11 GBV victims and perpetrators in the inaugural rehabilitation course and 10 volunteer workers who provided support to GBV victims. Also, seven trainee PVBS coaches attended to assist in rehabilitation work to change mindsets from poor to rich mindsets.
The course was conducted from Aug 31 to Sept 10 at the Human Development Institute office at 6-Mile Port Moresby.
One of the trainees in the group Bobby Mua testified of how he had struggled with a young family while fishing in Port Moresby waters to make a living.
“I am from Chimbu in the highlands but grew up with coastal people, learnt to fish and made that my means of survival. My group has been struggling to make money but with the training I have received, we can now organise ourselves better,” Mua said.
He presented a mounted black coral to HDI founder and training Samuel Tam (Papa Sam) in appreciation for what he said was life-changing knowledge and skills he had gained in the week-long PV training.
Tam was impressed with the interest shown by this group of students.
“This class is one of the best class I have ever trained because students are street-smart. They know how to survive in the streets and as a result they are street-savvy and their questions to me were from that street background,” he said.