Thursday 12 March 2015, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji –
Two villages in the Oro Province of Papua New Guinea, home to some 1200 people, began to enjoy the benefits of electricity over the weekend, thanks to their partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and a non-governmental organisation (NGO).
Melanesia's Million Miracle Partnership (M3P) is a launching pad for partnerships between community-based NGOs, government energy offices and local communities, especially women’s groups, to bring electricity to one million people in Melanesia (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu) by 2020.
For Papua New Guinea, M3P aims to provide electricity to 82,500 households or 495,000 people by 2020. As an M3P partner, SPC sent a team from its Energy Programme to Papua New Guinea from 28 February to 13 March to install and commission a 12 Volt DC off-grid solar photovoltaic (PV) charging system for Kou Kou and Gorari villages. This, with 200 Solar Pico lanterns, will bring electricity to both villages, which are located along the Kokoda Track.
The project is a collaboration of the Government of Australia and SPC working in partnership with the Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF) and the two communities. It was jointly commissioned by SPC and its project partners on 7 March 2015.
One of the community leaders said, “My people are appreciative of SPC’s support and its partnership with KTF to bring this project to my community; this will provide solar lights right at the doorstep of my people. In the past we normally use firewood for cooking and also lights in the night. With the Solar Pico lanterns, we will have access to good quality lights and improve the livelihoods of my people.”
This partnership serves to empower the women’s groups in Kou Kou and Gorari villages to effectively manage community-based micro businesses. They will run solar shops that serve as charging stations for the Solar Pico lanterns.