Funded by Australia through the Kokoda Initiative, the K3.4 million project includes a double classroom each for Kokoda Elementary and the Kokoda Skills and Technical College, seven staff houses and a general maintenance package to upgrade existing buildings. The project also incorporates the installation of water tanks, toilets and new furniture for all buildings.
“These new and upgraded buildings provide much-needed space for the Kokoda school community. Providing infrastructure and services, particularly in remote centres, is of fundamental importance for development,” Minister Fierravanti-Wells said.
“Australia is committed to the communities of the Kokoda region. This is part of our enduring partnership with Papua New Guinea, which recognises our shared values.”
The project was delivered through the Kokoda Initiative, a longstanding partnership between Papua New Guinea and Australia to support community health and education, protect the environment and improve safety on the Kokoda Track for locals and visitors.
The new infrastructure was launched on Kokoda Day as part of the commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the recapture of Kokoda Station from Japanese forces.
The event was also marked with the launch of a new children’s book by the Kokoda Track Foundation to help keep the memory of the Kokoda campaign alive. Butterflies Along the Track is a story created by the children of Kokoda Primary School and Haileybury College in Victoria, Australia.
“Many children in both Papua New Guinea and Australia have grandparents who fought in the battles that saved our two countries, or provided vital care and assistance along the way. The stories told through the children’s book reflect the enduring relationship that was forged out of those battles 75 years ago,” Minister Fierravanti-Wells said.
Through the Papua New Guinea-Australia Partnership, the Kokoda Initiative has built 23 double classrooms and 5 health facilities since 2008, as well as facilitating a variety of training, service delivery and other infrastructure projects.