CTAL Mar -April 2019

Cookhouses ‘n Tanks a Lot An Australian partnership for clean drinking water and communal cookhouses in remote PNG rural villages


Photo: Rosemary and Darrell Bowyer who kindly offered their garage as a temporary  storage and sorting station. Rosemary is the current dynamic leader of the  lively St Francis Xavier Social Justice Group.  Thanks also to our faithful tools manager, Peter Paggione (R) and Frank Mitchell (above) who helped with this final sorting. 


What a truly  fabulous effort! We  worked our way through many boxes of useful, durable quality used tools that were the result of a mammoth tools drive in Montmorency parish that was organized by the amazing St FX Social Justice Group . Hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, saws and fretsaws, squares and plumb lines, measuring tapes, paint brushes– boxes and boxes of really good stuff. The tools will be taken to PNG as excess baggage when we go up to PNG on September 5th this year. In the meantime, we have months to ensure that the tools are cleaned free of any foreign soil, checked for max working order and packed into sets for distribution. They are particularly needed in the Southern Highlands where, in addition to cookhouse construction, the tools will help in the post-earthquake rebuilding  underway right across SHP and Hela provinces.  Thank you, each and all donors of St Francis Xavier Parish Community. Well done! 


Did you know? A Basic Tool Set is the pathway to a livelihood for a young person in PNG.  

 Young rural villagers can learn the basics in the nation’s vocational schools, but the normal way to become a builder is to learn on the job from an experienced older workman. A donation of the durable tools , sometimes just stored on the dusty shelves of many an Aussie shed, can set up a young person in paid work for a life time. Literally, a hand up instead of a handout!  


As reported in our last issue, we  forwarded AUD $ 36,933.51 in payment for the hardware quote for the water tank, building materials, tables, sink, floor vinyl sheeting and transport costs for the  Goglme  cookhouse.  There has been a short delay in transporting the materials to Goglme, due to the illness of a key person. So Fr John Bike, the parish priest of Goglme and Brendan Gilsenan, of Gilsenan Melpa Hardware met in Mt Hagen on Tuesday, March 12th to plan the  next stage. Fr John needed to give up a full day to drive down from Goglme in the Chimbu to Brendan’s store. He is young, keen and very alert and in charge of an enthusiastic parish; the effort was very generous of him. Brendan had drafted a plan for the footings for the building as he understands the local terrain there, so the meeting gave him a chance to explain his plan.  It would be great to have a photo of the trucks trundling up the mountain range , but cameras may be in short supply there. For the next edition hopefully... 


 Many thanks to all our kind donors for 2019 as we now have almost $5000 in our CTALPNG bank account which is enough to cover the estimated retail cost of the stoves. Keep up the good work as we shall need to pay for transport to the villages and also for a sink and shelves for Pumakos cookhouse. Then we should be free to concentrate on fundraising for one for the Southern Highlands.


2019 PNG Maternal and Newborn Task Force Report Pending 

The 2019 Maternal and Newborn Health Taskforce report is currently being prepared for PNG's Minister of Health. I t estimates 2000 women die each year during pregnancy and childbirth, with up to 20,000 stillborn or neonatal deaths.  Glen Mola, professor of reproductive health at the University of PNG, said after a long gap with no midwifery training there's been recent progress. "We have various levels of midwife, of course. We have the professional university trained registered nurse midwife who is doing it as a post graduate degree, and we've managed to train an extra 700 of these since we reestablished midwifery training in 2012," Professor Mola said. "But 700 in a country of nearly 10 million is a couple of drops in the ocean."  Only 40 percent of women receive childbirth support in health centres, Professor Mola said.  But with 85 per cent of women living in rural areas, only a fraction are getting skilled care close to home, he said. "Clearly we have to make the rural health facilities more credible places, safer places, better places, more attractive places for women to come and have a supervised birth." The government should take the report's recommendations seriously and properly fund safe maternity services, Professor Mola said