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31 March 2017


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Peter, yeah great, sounds like that. Now tell the same to the headwater people at Kaveve and Nupaha, waters that feed into Goroka town water supply.

These villagers have been waking up at 4 o'çlock in the morning everyday for the last 60 years to walk into town with their cash crops on their back.

Nupaha and Kaveve are only 7 kilometres away from Goroka town and the good gravel road terminates a kilometre in at the top of the race whilst the rest of the way, 6 kilometres of it, has become a goat track.

Their road, if it were maintained or sealed and maintained, would have encouraged massive trout farming, good picnic grounds and no problems about siphoning water into Goroka town.

In citing quid pro quo, I am suggesting the project proponents do it holistically including consulting all parties for their participation including ILG's for standing and provincial authorities so that the project is sustained.

William Robinson raised an issue here on councils and committees, I am inclined to run with the incredulous 'ýou must be kidding'.

Baka Bina, your plan sounds like something a local council comprised of councillors, who have a genuine interest in local issues and are adequately resourced, could execute as part of its works program.

AusAID, WaterAid, EU and all project proponents, remember that Papua New Guineans are not good at taking care of public infrastructure.

I guess it would be an ennui that is for the most part endemic in our make up, the type of people we are. Only a small smattering of communities can take care of public infrastructure.

Working with 21 villages is going to create a lot of problems.

And committees must have standing in the next community to be effective. The Eastern Highlanders are conservative people and take their conservatism too far so most times decisions are hijacked by agitated youngsters and this leads to all manner of problems.

The Goroka people have for a long time maintained respect for the elderly leader. Never mind if you had wealth or a university education, if the elder with white hair had the floor, he had the floor and no young upstart could take that away from him, at least in the Goroka valley.

It may be very different now but generally the elderly would have the floor in the village, their own village.

What happens outside the village is another issue, a matter of standing in that village or community. Committees must have standing in their own village and along all villages where the pipe flows.

The elder who has respect in his own village may not necessarily have respect in the next village or community unless the committee member’s standing has gone beyond his own community.

Another problem is where a village has lost its leadership; it is very difficult to get in there. That is another issue for the committee.

The Mimanalo area further west from Gahuku is having its second attempt at piped water. This recent one expired at my village and is in drips.

A couple of years ago, the piped water from Akameku was cascading outside my driveway in the village but the pipe was dug up last election. Now we go to Nosagopato or Paketo for our water.

There was one for the Gahuku baret starting from Kotuni down to Ufeto done by the someone. I don’t know if it was done by the member or the provincial government. That too never lasted.

The idea of piped water from one source high up is good, only if relations along the route of the pipe are good. It is not being jealous, it is caused by ennui and committee members not having standing.

If such knowledge that I put forward here is incorporated into the project plan, it will be clear that the water project should be localised to one village. Would that be cheaper. No initially it will not be cheaper but over a period of time, it would be.

My suggestion to all persons wanting to bring piped water supply to villages is to think locally. That particular project will have some longevity if it is dealing with one village, never mind greater coverage.

For my village, I think a Southern Cross tank, sump pumps and solar panels and a well can provide better longer lasting water solutions.

These are components for localising a project. I hope we will be able to pool together to make this happen but, as I said before, it takes a long, long while to 'bungim' the money and we hope to get on the WaterAid or AusAID bandwagon - if we don't get a 'you must be kidding' in our face.

We need a local well that will supply our own village first and foremost and a committee that will have unfettered standing.

If suggesting that a local project is not feasible as the project proponents would like to see a greater community benefit, then there must be something in return for the up-water pipe people at all times.

Say if there was in the AusAID program to fix the road going to Mt Gahavisuka. The road going to Mr Gahavisuka is bad most times and the villagers at the foot of that park have to walk down a long way to the highway.

Those highway people who have it easy and now get piped water. The head water person is not going to be happy walking a long way to town and a long way home from town.

When if the road was good, a PMV could roll up to his village like the highwayman and the water source man can be happy and not curse his luck that he was placed by fate in the wrong place.

When that type of thinking is in his head, he can go ballistic and be irrational at the best of times. When he is happy, the highway water user will be happy. I think the terminology is 'quid pro quo'.

It sure will help as these head water people are known to wake up at 4 am, walk with market supplies and their kerosene lamps down to the main highway to catch the morning bus sometimes late in the morning.

They surely would be glad to see a PMV roll up at their village morning and afternoon and not for them to go looking for the PMV.

In the Goroka District, I know the villagers at Gahavisuka, Kotuni, Hobe, Akameku, Wande, Nupaha, Ghaveve who live along the mountains and headwaters of rivers flowing into the Goroka valley.

We need to be aware of the quid pro quo that may be particular to them and that must also be on the cards for any water projects arising out of these headwaters. They have had this before.

William Robinson, when I suggest quid pro quo I don't mean monetary compensation to the landowners.

I might suggest the Goroka water supply is stifled by the lack of discussion on this particular item. When one takes water, they must ensure the mechanics to ensure that the road is good at all times in in place and all parties agree to this including the LLG and the authorities that be, quid pro quo.

Good question Rob. I have also seen politicians and aid donor organisations purchasing brand new cars for health centres,schools, government divisions youth groups etc without extra funds to pay the driver, fuel and maintenance costs.

Eventually, the car seems to become the property of the person driving it. But where does he get the money to run it?

I have seen projects that have been funded,designed & delivered with very little input from the villages.
It seems at times there is a death wish from the Organisation that once the Ex-Pats leave the Project crashes.Are they trying to prove something ?

I was involved with the first trial villages to be beneficiaries of the European Union Rural Water Program in Central Province (1990-92)

The main projects had boreholes and submersible pumps with solar power. We spent a lot of time in getting Village Water Committees to take responsibility for the ongoing upkeep and maintenance of the systems.

We trained committee members in maintenance and supplied tools and spare parts.

Everything that is now written about sustainability was factored into these projects, however, 90% of them were not functioning 12 months after they opened.

Much of the problem was caused by inter-village jealousies, greed and complacent attitudes. The EU funded high school maintenance program covering 150 schools throughout the country had similar outcomes.

None of the projects were sustained once the EU pulled out its project officers. I spent eight years of my life trying to make these projects work but in PNG, I have to say, I was an abject failure.

I was a VSO Volunteer and EU Consultant in High School Maintenance from 1987-96 and subsequently remained in PNG until 2013.

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