• Admin

Network Kokoda

Network Kokoda is a not-for-profit organisation established to protect our wartime heritage along the Kokoda Trail and honour the legacy of Papua New Guinea's Wartime Carriers.

The organisation subscribes to the principles developed by the PNG Department of Community Development which, according to former Minister, Dame Carol Kidu, is based on local communities working together to develop sustainable initiatives which generate income to invest in their future.

Network Kokoda is registered in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

The PNG body is chaired by Major Charlie Lynn (RL). The Board of Directors includes Dame Carol Kidu, former Minister for Community Development; Brigadier Ken Noga, former Chief of the PNG Defence Force and High Commissioner to Australia; and Marianna Ellingson, Secretary to the Office of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

Network Kokoda engaged the services of Mr Sandy Lawson BSc (Agric) as a consultant to engage local community leaders in the Sogeri area and report on the proposal to develop Agricultural Learning Development Centres in the area. Mr Lawson has more than 25 years experience in agriculture in PNG and is fluent in both Motu and Tok Pisin.

As a result of Mr Lawson's recommendation Network Kokoda engaged a recent graduate of the Popondetta Agricultural College, Mr Oggie Erehe who was born in Kokoda and has a diploma in Tropical Agriculture from the University of Natural Resources and Environment in Popondetta.

Agricultural Learning Development Centres

The major challenge in bringing communities together is encouraging local people, clans and communities to work together. This is the most difficult phase and involves much discussion, many meetings, mutual obligations, partnerships and a path to local ownership.

Network Kokoda is therefore establishing a program of Integrated Community Agricultural Learning Centres on the Sogeri plateau.

The program involves a series of carefully structured workshops and activities designed for high impact within chosen target production groups. Two experimental groups were initially selected to trial the process and fine-tune the techniques.

By such an integrated learning approach we sought to enhance the ability of participants to cooperate with each other for mutual benefit.

The aim of the project is to produce more knowledgeable and emancipated farmers capable of making their own farming decisions about their own commercial activities. The learning is therefore sustainable and ongoing, and not dependent on a continuous intensive input from an agriculturalist.

Work with the schools is designed to awaken the students to the possibilities of agriculture as an enterprise and a means of making a good living, rather than something that grandparents and parents used to do, and not something that modern young people do.

Network Kokoda established its first partnership with the Sogeri National High School in 2011. The Headmaster, Mr Benny Rayappan, agreed to provide accommodation for the Network Kokoda Field Officer, Mr Oggie Erehe, and three hectares of land for a market garden.

The market garden has now been operating for 12 months and provides fresh produce for more than 400 boarding students. It also acts as a magnet for the community who are also provided with fresh produce provided they agree to work in the garden on a voluntary basis.

We have since established a partnership with Iarowari High School. The Headmaster, Mr Andrew Moava, advised that the school's vision for agriculture is to instil in students the appropriate knowledge and skills in agriculture so they become competent, productive and self-reliant citizens.