The National, Monday 06th August, 2012
AUSTRALIA and Papua New Guinea last Friday announced the release of the first four community development small grants under the AusAID-funded Strongim Pipol Strongim Nesen (SPSN) programme.
Strongim Pipol Strongim Nesen is a democratic governance partnership between the governments of PNG and Australia. The K256,000 in grants will enable four Northern-based community-based organisations to improve access to education, reduce family and sexual violence, increase disability services and improve awareness of health and HIV issues in the province.
AusAID will provide K50 million through SPSN in small, medium and large grants over the next two years to help civil society and non-government organisations deliver community development projects to improve the lives of communities across PNG.The Australian aid programme head in PNG, Stuart Schaefer, said SPSN was helping Papua New Guineans to work inside their own communities to make them stronger. “AusAID is pleased to be supporting organisations committed to improving maternal and child health, supporting those living with HIV/AIDS, addressing violence against women and increasing participation for all people, particularly people with disabilities,” Schaefer said.
The SPSN grants are unique in PNG. All stages of the grant development and implementation process involve provincial and district government officers working jointly with local community workers.
A local grants committee, nominated and coordinated by Oro’s provincial administration, screens, selects and approves projects for funding. District government officers with local community workers will collaborate with each community-based organisation to monitor and evaluate the impact of its project.
SPSN deputy programme director Martin Syder handed over approved funding deeds to the four successful organisations in Popondetta. “SPSN is proud to be working with Oro’s provincial administration to strengthen community groups, their members and their service to the province,” he said.
Oro provincial administrator Owen Awaita said the province was committed to transforming communities and the lives of people.“Such funding opportunities signify the partnership between PNG and Australia to improve Northern province and PNG. The province is grateful to be the first to receive small grants funding under SPSN,” Awaita said. Through these grant agreements the Oro Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee will receive K66,000 to support a Family and Sexual Violence programme that will aim to empower 120 male advocates against family and sexual violence in the three local level governments of Higaturu, Oro Bay and Kokoda. Anglican Health Services Popondetta will receive K72,000 to run a village health and HIV project to strengthen the services of two of its health clinics, providing access for people in four LLGs. The Oro Kinise and Disabled Association will receive K65,000 to strengthen its services to people living with disabilities and their carers. A further K53,000 will be given to the Northern Provincial Volleyball Federation to continue its community awareness on healthy living, HIV, family violence and drug and alcohol abuse. The four organisations are among 37 projects expected to sign small grant agreements this month and September. Twelve organisations received large grants in May.