New footbridges in Kieta will provide safe access to markets, work and schools
A series of new footbridges in Bougainville’s Kieta District is now benefitting more than 4,000 people enabling safer access to health facilities, schools, markets and work without risking being swept away by fast flowing rivers.
The K110,000 project was initiated by the people of Poma village in Central Bougainville last year after two students tragically died while attempting to cross over.
The community participated in the project by providing labour and raising more than K8,000, which was supplemented by the Australian Government’s community grants program under the Bougainville Partnership.
Women, men and school children from the local ward and inland communities of Darutuei, Kongara and Sipuru now regularly access the footbridges along the ‘bush highway’.
Paramount Chief John Katu said the project has had a positive impact on people in the area.
“Local communities were united behind the initiative, setting aside past differences to work together to ensure the project was realised,” he said.
He said local youths who were engaged in construction gained valuable skills and knowledge on welding and carpentry and that these new learnings will benefit them and nearby communities.
Australian High Commission representative in Buka Ms Alison Edye said the three footbridges will help save lives and stimulate economic activities.
“Australia is proud to support projects that are community led and make positive, sustainable impacts on the lives of Bougainvilleans”, Ms Edye said. She congratulated the community on its initiative and hard work in bringing the project to fruition.
Since 2018, there have been more than 60 community projects supported by the Australian Government in partnership with the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the Government of Papua New Guinea. The projects improve the livelihoods of Bougainvilleans through high-quality infrastructure, economic participation and improved health and wellbeing.
Feature Pic: Torobau footbridge is one of three bridges constructed. When the river floods the large rocks are covered with fast flowing water.