Well it’s been considerable time since we’ve written an update for the TCA website – over one year infact!
Due to being extremely busy and by constantly putting the ‘Latest Update’ in the ‘to do box’ we have not kept you as informed as in previous years. Those of you on facebook would have seen some photographs and heard some stories here and there but no lengthy update. This update, covering some 15 months, will be short and sharp. A description of the TCA staff is included which will hopefully give you a better picture of how things work day to day at TCA Base-Lumi.
Now if you didn’t know TCA has been established as a non-government organisation (NGO) since 2001. Jean and I have been working full-time for TCA since 2003. This is infact our tenth year at TCA.
Our son Tadji, now nearly six, has spent most of his life in Papua New Guinea (PNG). We are both originally from Melbourne – Australia and have a small property in Don Valley, which is in a semi-rural area within temperate rainforest.
Up until recently we have rented our house and just stayed with family and friends when we returned to Australia for a break each year. As of September 2011 we have changed our lifestyles and the format to which we manage TCA.
Jean and Tadji are now based, most of the time, in Don Valley. Jean is working from home and Tadji is attending Don Valley Primary School. I am travelling in and out of PNG – trying to manage a ‘six weeks in, six weeks out’ roster.
So far this system is working and as a result TCA is building more local capacity. Our staff, which currently is 40 full time personnel, have been trained in many aspects of TCA. We have now begun training in computers. Presently 16 of our staff have laptops. More responsibilities are being placed on local staffs as more time is now needed for them to manage TCA Base-Lumi.
The past year has been full of changes, not just to the organisation, but to the people – the stakeholders of the organisation. In May 2012 TCA officially completed all of its reports and acquittals to the European Union underneath the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Program (RWSSP) – we started this work in early 2010. TCA has successfully completed the biggest program in its’ history! Thirty-nine villages, totalling nearly 10,000 people, have received 243 water tank sets. Each village has established water and sanitation (WATSAN) committees and have worked together to determine tank locations, build better bush toilets and increase hygiene within the village.
The change to peoples’ lives is significant. Women, children and the elderly have a noticeably easier life with access to clean water. People aren’t as sick now that they know the causes and understand them. Real behaviour change is occurring and the data we have collected is astonishing. For example; I have just received a report from one of our teams which tables the numbers of people with different sicknesses, pre and post water tanks. In six months the instances of diarrhoea has decreased from 50 to 12 – that’s over a 75% reduction!
Community development programs coupled with conservation education, establishing protected areas and research is proving a successful formula for broad based biodiversity protection. What TCA is doing in the Torricelli Mountain Range is really quite extraordinary and we are so proud of all the achievements and milestones – long live TCA.
In the last year, as well as the RWSSP, TCA has:
Undertaken more GPS work at villages’ Conservation Areas
Conducted Distance Sampling at 13 research sites
Set camera traps at four sites. Tenkile was photographed at two sites. Many other animals had their pictures taken – see latest photos.
Written, published and printed booklets on ‘Rainforests’ and ‘Biodiversity’
Conducted courses to each village on ‘Rainforests, Biodiversity and Climate Change’
Established sites for ‘Above ground biomass assessments’ – Carbon plots.
Obtained six rice-milling machines and begun a ‘Rice’ project
Distributed over 500 fingerlings (fish) to villages
Built a generator and fuel room at TCA Base-Lumi
Built another guest house (bush materials) at TCA Base-Lumi
Built Grizzled Tree Kangaroo enclosures and refurbished Weimang Tree Kangaroo enclosures at TCA Base-Lumi
Conducted four village representative meetings at TCA Base-Lumi
Printed and distributed newsletters for staff and village representatives
Had its’ first student. Marianne Pedersen from Aarhus University - Denmark stayed at TCA Base-Lumi from August to December 2011 conducting anthropological studies for a Master of Science (MSc). Marianne helped TCA considerably when we were all in Australia. We hope to see you again here in Lumi. Tak!
Transported Zoo Victoria uniforms (old issues) from Melbourne to Lumi. Thank you Chris Banks for facilitating this.
Extended the program to now include 50 villages – previously 40.
Purchased and transported laptop computers to Lumi
Conducted introductory computer courses to staff and stakeholders
All of the above achievements result from a team effort. Many people have played big roles in these outcomes.
For the RWSSP our staffs were placed into teams A to H. The TCA staffs are:
Mathew Akon – Senior Project Officer. Mathew, from Maiwetem village, won the Whitley Fund for Nature Award in 2010 where he travelled to London and met Princess Anne and Sir David Attenborough. Mathew has been involved with TCA since the first signing of the Tenkile hunting moratorium.
Mathilda Yaumei – Facilitator. Wuguble village, the most western of all the project villages. A strong woman in here village and the most educated.
James Oso – Project Officer. From Wilbeite village James is a quick learner and has very good computer skills. James has been full-time since 2008
Alison Kufa – Facilitator. From Maiwetem village Alison shows a keen interest and dedication towards TCA. She started with us in 2010.
Patrick Ikon – Project Supervisor. Patrick is the highest local employee and has been with TCA since 2005. Patrick is well educated and runs TCA Base-Lumi when I’m not in PNG. Patrick visited Australia in 2010 where a highlight was milking cows.
Irene Sobin – Facilitator. Always laughing Irene is from Yomoum village and is the better half of Jerry Sobin. Irene started work for TCA in 2010.
Norbert Maisul – Project Officer. From Nunsi village and the man who gave us a male Weimang in 2005. ‘Nunsi’ the Weimang is still going strong at TCA Base-Lumi. Norbert became a Project Officer in 2010.
Paula Faro – Facilitator. From Weikint village and a major spokesperson for women in Sandaun Province. Paula’s emotional gratitude of our work has often pulled us back to keep working in PNG.
Samuel Kabau – Project Officer. From Bangam village Samuel has been with TCA since Jean and I started in 2003. Our first impression of Samuel remains the same as the one we have now. Samuel is a very caring and trustworthy Papua New Guinean. He is a highly respected member of our staff.
Fidelis Nick – Facilitator. From Muku village Fedelis joined the staff in 2010. He shows great promise and has taken to the computer quite quickly.
Ricky Waram – Project Officer. From Marakumba village. Not that I’m one to talk about hair but Ricky does have an unusual hairstyle – he leaves a triangle above his eyes and shaves the rest.
Nelson Taingol – Facilitator. Nelson is from Wilbeite village and is the most musical of our staff. A handy guitarist Nelson is also legendary as a songwriter.
Caleb Bulu – Project Officer. Caleb is from Asier and his village gave us our female Weimang in 2008. ‘Asier’ and ‘Nunsi’ the Weimangs have an adult daughter and hopefully more joeys to come.
Jerry Sobin – Facilitator. From Yomoum village the ever-entertaining Jerry is known for his deep voice and unique dance style.
Matthew Rafa – Project Officer. From a village in East Sepik Province – Komola. Matthew has been magnificent in getting enthusiasm to another level. His most famous quote was at a meeting last year ‘I love all of you and all of you love me!’
Leo Aniris – Facilitator. From Yapunda village Leo is a quiet achiever. Leo’s village recently celebrated the opening of their tanks with a placard of me being paraded around the village.
A huge ‘thank you’ to the above staff for really pulling the RWSSP together.
TCA also acknowledges former employee and Australian Volunteer Gerry Melican who spent 14 months working for TCA – September 2010 to December 2011. Gerry, as Project Coordinator, was instrumental in delivering the RWSSP supplies from Wewak to as far as Lumi. Gerry also oversaw the construction of the generator building and the new guesthouse at TCA Base-Lumi. We wish Gerry all the best for the future.
We have a core team of carpenters, caretakers, cooks and security at TCA Base-Lumi who have been a big part of our lives since being in PNG. Again with the bullet points – but this is the best way to summarise a year and not send everyone to sleep.
John Wowi – Maui village - Senior Carpenter. John has been with TCA since 2003 and been the main drive in building all the infrastructure on the Base
Leonard Towaiyu – Maui village - Plumber and carpenter. Leonard joined us at the end of 2003. He’s the oldest of our staff but assures us he’s still strong
Edward Saire – Maui village - Carpenter since 2003. A man with a very funny laugh and has earned the nickname ‘Pato’ - which is pidgin for ‘duck’. Edward has feet which very much resemble those of a duck
John Sumei – Maui village - Painter and carpenter. John has been working with TCA full-time since 2008. John is also Deputy Chairman of the East Wape Local Level Government
Francis Elpiti – Maui village - Caretaker and the longest employee of TCA. Francis began his job of ‘caretaker’ in June 2002. Never short of a betelnut Francis maintained our rabbit and chicken farms for eight years. He now looks after all the other animals at TCA Base-Lumi, which include Weimang Tree Kangaroos, Grizzled Tree Kangaroos and turtles.
Andrew Waisi – Maui village - Caretaker and has been full-time since 2009. Andrew is quiet and often keeps to himself but is a very hard worker. The grass and gardens at the base have never looked so good.
Hilary Oiye – Maui village - Security. Hilary has been the longest serving Security staff having started work in 2004. Ever reliable and trustworthy Hilary keeps our four dogs fed and our sugar gliders breeding.
Thomas Tolie – Maui village - Security since 2006. Always with a big ‘white’ smile the ‘non-betelnut chewing’ Thomas keeps us informed about the goings on in Lumi. His guitar playing is improving but should leave the singing out – especially when practising at three o’clock in the morning.
George Towaiyu – Maui village - son of Leonard and security since 2009. Quiet, friendly and easy to make laugh. He tells it how it is.
Ruth Teni – Lumi village - cook and babysitter of Tadji. Ruth has taken care of Tadji since he was a baby. She is also a very good cook and generally runs the kitchen.
Glenda Ouki – Maui village - cook and been with TCA since 2008. Always laughing and has her own franchise of cigarettes and top-up cards for the mobile network.
Francis Ulel – Security/Organiser; full-time since 2010. From Wilbeite village and a fellow who worked closely with Tim Flannery. Francis is quite a character and is basically my right-hand man when I’m at TCA Base-Lumi. Francis organises vehicles for staff pick-up and freight, calls everyone on the mobile phone to make sure they ‘got the message’ and keeps unnecessary politics from coming to my attention. I really notice it when he’s not at the base.
Finally I would like to add that TCA continues its’ strong relationship with Zoos Victoria. Megan Richardson, a Senior Animal Keeper from Melbourne Zoo, has just completed TCA’s first computer course. This course, conducted at TCA Base-Lumi, has been one of the most successful we’ve ever had. Can we have Megan back again please?
TCA is about to start a two-year program with WaterAid – Australia. So more education and work with water supplies and sanitation.
We are also getting ready for World Environment Day. This year we’re having Zoos Victoria’s Board Chairman Mr Andrew Fairly and their Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ms Jenny Gray.
TCA is still going strong!
All the best
Director - Tenkile Conservation Alliance