EPF’s CEO Jacqui Joseph, in praising the effort of staff and volunteers, said the organisation has had more than a learning experience but also an opportunity to embrace the challenges that the environment has created for EPF to find the best way to work.
“2017 was a good challenge for us as an organization, especially in the autonomous region,” said Joseph.
“We gave our best but we all know giving our best doesn’t necessary mean we did everything right and these are areas we as an organisation want to grow and build from as we keep working.
“In the region alone, we have reached 1,558 boys and 1,704 girls, adding to a total of 3,262 students.
“We noticed a slight gender disparity between the number of male and female students engaged in our program. We are pleased to note the consistency of attendance from female students but at the same time, would want to see their male counterpart’s attendance improve.”
Joseph said EPF recognises the importance of respectful relationships education as a pillar for achieving sustainable development goals in the autonomous region.
“Equal representation of boys and girls in schools provides a platform for a collective effort in addressing not only gender inequality and healthy relationships, but other social problems in the region.”
EPF applauds the partnerships with the Department of Education of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Government and other EVAW key players in the region for their support during EPF’s first year in operation in Bougainville.
“EPF is keen to see these partnerships strengthened in 2018,” she said
Ms Joseph further stated that lessons were learnt from the previous years’ experience and so EPF in the region will work closely with the Education Department in engaging with schools during the 2018 academic year.
Meanwhile, she described EPF’s closing celebrations with the schools in the region as timely period for the students who have had an opportunity to learn and understand that they all have a part to play in the well-being of their communities.
“I sat with students and heard them speak about their EPF4S experiences and how participating in this program has taught them important values. It allowed me to see the genuine love and passion they had for their community,” she added.
(Year 7 students within Kieta District converged onto the Independence Oval in the heart of Arawa Town last year, celebrating successful completion of EPF’s program in Central Bougainville)