The National,Friday March 11th, 2016
HE smoked marijuana all his life in the village and never thought that one day he would quit and find a better purpose in life.
Weti Misefa is one of the participants from Kaiufa village in the Lower Bena LLG who is involved in the life skills training pilot project carried out by the Eastern Highlands Family Voice.
Training is aimed at equipping and up-skilling villagers in the Ungai-Bena district to be self-reliant and contribute meaningfully to the development of their community.
Misefa said when the project started, villagers took ownership of it and made it their responsibility to integrate what they learnt into their community.
“Naumipelaklia gut long weibilongplanim bulb onion naolnarapelakaikaitu. EHFV I lainimmipelatu long mekimolswitskonnakainkainstailkaikaibilongsalimnamekimmoni. Mi no moa save simukim marijuana nasitdaunnating. Nau me gat bikpelagadennaol onion iklosturedi (I now know the process of planting bulb onions and other crop types too.
EHFV has taught us how to bake and cook a variety of dishes to sell and make money. I don’t smoke marijuana anymore or sit around aimlessly. I have a very big garden and my onions are almost ready),” he said.
Misefa said the participation and involvement of the community in the project made him and many other men like him commit their time to a more positive outcome.
A total of 82 people in Kaiufa village participated under phase one of the pilot project.
Youth leader Gosu Segie said they needed a change in the community and EHFV paved the way for that.
“Olmanmeriino moa pilaikasna bingo long ples, nauolisavetingting strong long mekimgadennaolnarapela wok long kisimmoni (Villagers no longer gamble or play bingo in the village, they now concentrate on their gardens and other activities to generate income),” he said.
Gosu said EHFV taught them how to manage their time, budget their money and also showed them how to differentiate between a need and a want.
He added that other neighbouring villages have also shown interest in this project and indicated that they too, want to see such change in their communities.
“Couples now work together as partners, sharing workloads and responsibilities. Violence at home has decreased, and women now have a voice to speak out during meetings.
“The community is more harmonious that before.”
Under the pilot project in the Ungai-Bena district, EHFV conducts training on adult literacy, organic farming and livestock, baking, arts and craft, peace mediation and village court and time and money management.
EHFV is a key partner of the Strongim Pipol Strongim Nesen (SPSN) programme and is funded by the Australian Government with K1,356,227.