Rainforest village homes light up thanks to clean, green energy kits.
Travelling via road from PNG’s coastal hub Wewak to Lumi, nestled in the Torricelli Mountain Range, takes at least a day. Hobert Asari did this journey three years ago, but since then prefers traveling via MAF plane.
“It was quite difficult coming from Wewak by road to Lumi. There are several risks involved,” Hobert said. “One is you come through hotspot places where there are rascals, and the other is the road condition. It takes a whole day to travel. Given the road conditions, you need time to rest when you arrive at Lumi. But with MAF it's easy because we get to travel about 30 minutes through clear weather. When we arrive, we can prepare our training materials and start our project with a clear mind.”
Hobert works as a sustainable development team leader for Solar Solutions PNG and is the coordinator implementing the solar project for the Tenkile Conservation Alliance (TCA).
Out of its base at Lumi, TCA works with 50 villages comprising 13,000+ people who own the Torricelli Mountain Range Conservation Area (TMRCA). Together they protect the biodiversity of the area, but particularly the critically endangered Tenkile and Weimang Tree Kangaroos.
HERE, you can read more about how MAF flights enable the Tenkile Conservation Alliance in PNG to protect these rare tree kangaroos by supporting villagers to live sustainably.
TCA has looked for ways to give back to these rainforest communities, introducing projects to improve health, enhance education and alleviate poverty and hunger.
TCA Project Manager Caleb Bulu highlights the importance of TCA’s two-way approach.
“We have to conserve our biodiversity for the future of our generations. In return, there are livelihood projects that the people benefit within our catchment areas, like water tanks, tin roofs, fish and rice farming,” he said.
Solar power has been identified by the TCA villages as another need. Earlier this year, MAF flew Hobert and his two colleagues to Lumi for solar installation training.
“We started three years ago where we distributed and installed 2690 solar home kits. The current training is for the extension of the project.”
About 200 people arrived at TCA’s campus for the training, an equal number of men and women. They are keen to know more about the Barefoot basic solar home kit, which comes with a 15-watt solar panel feeding a 12 volt unit running four lights and two USB phone charging outlets. Each household has to contribute to the costs. The rest is funded by the PNG-Australia Partnership to support access to clean energy in rural and remote communities.
Hobert raves about the quality, simplicity, and efficiency of this kit.
“All you do is install the control box in your house, install the solar panels permanently on your rooftop and you just plug all your lights in on the control box and switch on your lights,” he said.
With the training delivered this year, 5530 households will be reached.
“I'd like to say thank you to our partners for making this possible, under the PNG Australia Partnership we have the Solar Project ‘Pawarim Komuniti’, the Tenkile Conservation Alliance and Solar Solutions we have this project effectively implemented, and not forgetting MAF for helping us fly through to Lumi for the trainings and returning to Port Moresby,” Hobert added.