Focus to be on rural populace

The Ministry for Youth, Religion and Community Development is determined to see government policy impact the rural population in this term.

Under the guidance of Minister Soroi Eoe, the Department for Youth, Religion and Community Development has been directed to focus on provinces and communities.

Minister Eoe, who is also member for Kikori district, Gulf Province, has volunteered his district to be the guinea pig of the new programs designed to address rural settings.

"I am willing to give my district as the guinea pig where government policies are channeled through. We'll see if there are impacts in gender-based violence, orphanage, sorcery or women and girls’ issues at the rural level," he said.

Eoe said for too long, policies were being implemented at the national level.

"If there haven't been changes, then we have to change the dynamics of how things are," he added.

Eoe said the government will full on partner with churches on ground, as per this new direction, using their programs to address social issues.

So far, a few members have also signed up with the minister and the department for the program as well.

Eoe named Ialibu-Pangia, Yangoru-Saussia, Gazelle and Esa'ala as the first few who may follow suit, based on the success of Kikori.

Department Secretary, Anna Solomon, commended the big step by the minister.

"He will also be supporting us with part of his District Services Improvement Program. If we succeed in Kikori, then we have done our bit for the government," she said.

Eoe said the focus will be on awareness and public advocacy, and thanked the government for a strong budget this year.

He said from K72 million, K10 million has been allocated for awareness on social issues, another K10 million for health like HIV.

Churches have also been allocated K10 million but can also access the K24 million donated by the Australian government, if their programs include assisting with awareness.

"It will be a challenging year," he said.

(Minister Soroi Eoe) 

Gloria Bauai