LAST week during the mid-term break at the University of Goroka, students Imelda Divina and Arie Uwata and I spent a week at the St Arnold Jassen Human Resource Development Centre at Migende in the Simbu Province.
There we conducted a leadership workshop sponsored by the Simbu Provincial Government through the office of Governor Noah Kool and his deputy, James Kendiyagl.
The workshop brought together 22 ward councilors and five young leaders from upper and lower Koronigle LLG (Kerowagi) to receive leadership training.
It was conducted by Fr. Joseph Sakite, the founder of the Centre and me. Two senior administrators at the University of Goroka, Dr Kapa Malpo Kelep and Dr Gairo Onagi, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Goroka, also participated through a five minute talk recorded on DVD and screened to the ward councillors.
We were also fortunate to have Dick Bomai Witne, a lecturer with the Social Science Department, join the workshop and offer to write up the five-year ward plan for the councillors.
The aim of the workshop was to get the ward councillors to share their success stories and identify difficulties that challenge their leadership.
Another aim was to show how they could work as a team to address the existing challenges through formulating an action plan.
The workshop was successful and ended on a high note with participants presenting their one-year action plan to guests at the official closing ceremony. A follow up workshop will be conducted in August to assess progress.
The long-term goal is to work with the ward councillors to build a community of action. The village leaders will be empowered to educate the community to make their own decisions instead of becoming dependent on people with knowledge and material items.
Together with these leaders, we hope to transform the community. My hope is to identify potential leaders in the village and provide ongoing leadership coaching to develop their leadership abilities and skills and equip them will leadership education.
I am now able to share this knowledge with my students, colleagues, community leaders and community at large.
As a local girl, and being a part of community and society, I am aware of the issues that affect our people every day. As an insider and an outsider at the same time, I am identifying key people in the community, such as ward councilors and young influential leaders, to tap into the existing networks in the community in order to address issues that affect our community.
Leadership is the art of mastering the skills to lead others. The art of leadership is acquired through practice and experience informed by leadership knowledge.
Leadership is complex and challenging because it involves leading people with different interests, mindset, personalities and backgrounds.
Being a leader is not an easy task because you are dealing with human beings and your decisions have to benefit the majority of the people.
Leaders play a significant role in shaping the future of their people and community therefore it is essential to equip the leaders with leadership education which will enable them to make informed decisions to lead their people and bring sustainable change to their communities for a better future.
Some of the questions discussed in the workshop were what are the qualities of good leadership and how can a leader mobilise people to effect change and harness the resources, skills and talents in the community for a greater gain?
In order for PNG to become economically independent it needs to invest in building a knowledge-based community to empower the people so that they can make decisions for themselves.
This program works in harmony with the vision of the St Arnold Janssen Human Development Centre founded by Fr Joseph Sakite and his vision encourages indigenous economy and agriculture; empowering people to produce their own food crops and eat what they grow and save money for education and housing to create a peaceful society in PNG.
It is important to recognise the good work existing institutions such as the Simbu Provincial Government and the St Arnold Jassen Human Development Centre are doing, so I am networking with them to support their leadership and achieve their goals.
Jane Pumai Awi is a Lecturer at the University of Goroka. She is soon to be awarded a PhD from the Queensland University of Technology