The Governor-General, Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO, visited a number of AusAID project sites in Papua New Guinea last week.
The trip highlighted AusAID’s efforts in improving education opportunities, promoting health initiatives to combat HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and implementing programs to end violence against women.
On her first day in Port Moresby, the Governor-General was welcomed to the Hohola Youth Development Centre by students performing a ‘sing sing’ in traditional dress. Hohola is a vocational training centre where disadvantaged youths are taught practical skills and trades including carpentry, hospitality, mechanics, sewing and computer use.
AusAID has assisted the centre through its Incentive Fund Program, which has been supporting the delivery of essential services and infrastructure in PNG since 2000 through incentive-based funding to well-performing organisations. The fund has contributed around $4 million to Hohola Youth Development Centre which has been used to build classrooms and workshops, as well as the assembly hall in which the Governor-General gave a speech. Enrolments have increased from 430 in 2005, to more than 660 today.
The Governor-General paid tribute to the centre’s staff and students, and underlined the importance of Australia’s contribution to education in PNG.
‘Australia has contributed more than 110 million kina ($50 million) toward subsidising school fees since 2010, helping more than half a million children to attend school each year,’ she said. ‘It is exhilarating to be among students who are pursuing their studies with enthusiasm, seizing opportunities that will bring confidence, jobs, income security and independence.’