Saturday, March 6, 2010

Orohaven - Kokoda Retreat, The best place to stay when starting or finish the Kokoda Trail!

Our Orohaven Retreat is the ideal location to start or finish the Kokoda Trail.

After 8 nights on the trail it is great to arrive at Orohaven to icy cold drinks, a hot shower, a flushing toilet and a comfortable bed. Makes all the aches and pain go away.

Only a few trekking companies use our facilities at present, so before you book with any other trekking company, ask where you will be staying in Kokoda at the end of your hard Kokoda trek. All trekking companies are welcome to use the retreat, so even if you do choose to walk with another company, you could always ask to stay at Orohaven.

I would be dissapointed if I had to stay in a tent, have a cold shower and use a pit toilet, when less than a 10 minute walk down the road you could be staying in a nice guest house, having a icy cold beer after a hot refreshing shower!

Another plus is that Orohaven is located right beside the airport. Instead of sitting in a shed next to the airstrip, you simply walk over to the terminal when you see that the plane is about to land.

Have a look at more photos, of Orohaven, click the link below.

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Kokoda Initiative Update

Welcome to the Kokoda Initiative Update - a monthly electronic update of activities under the joint PNG-Australia Kokoda Initiative, brought to you by the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts on behalf of the Australian Kokoda Taskforce. We hope you find this update useful, and we encourage and welcome all contributions and feedback.

In this issue:
  • Kokoda Initiative achievements and upcoming activities
  • Livelihoods Pilot - Naoro workshops
  • KTA's new staff members
  • Kokoda Track Foundation announces Community Health Worker scholarships
  • KDP Education - February Track walk
  • Meet...Newman Cuthbert, Communications and Marketing Officer, KTA
Kokoda Initiative achievements and upcoming activities

In April 2008 the Papua New Guinean and Australian governments signed a Joint Understanding to work together to protect the Kokoda Track and surrounding Owen Stanley Ranges and improve the lives of communities living along the Track corridor ('the Kokoda Initiative').

Key Kokoda Initiative achievements to date include the reform of the Kokoda Track Authority(KTA) and subsequent payments to communities, implementation of the Kokoda Development Program and the rollout of the Kokoda Track Safety Pack

Below is a snapshot of activities completed to date, and those to be completed by June 2010. For further information on these activities, please contact

Kokoda Initiative

Completed For completion by June 2010

  • Analysis of the physical condition of the Kokoda Track
  • Five toilets built in key tourist areas
  • Track Maintenance agreements signed between the Kokoda Track Authority and on-track communities
  • Degraded sections of the Track upgraded by Conservation Volunteers teams working with locals work crews (6 in total)
  • Improvements to the Kokoda airstrip
  • Urgent maintenance undertaken on Owers' Corner road
  • Sogeri Road bridge repaired
  • Renovation, refurbishment or major clean ups to three health centres - Efogi, Kokoda and Sogeri - completed and ongoing
  • Two additional toilets to be installed at key tourist sites
  • Classrooms for nine schools
  • construct two additional teacher houses at Efogi
  • Toilets installed at two schools
  • New or upgraded/renovated community health posts and aid posts in four villages
  • Waiting houses for pregnant women in three villages
  • Renovation of health staff housing at three villages
  • Toilets at five health posts
  • Survey and maintain reticulated water system in six villages
  • Install water tanks at health posts
  • Feasibility studies of community water supplies
  • Small scale rural electrification survey
  • Village radio network upgraded

Health and education
  • More than 250 children vaccinated
  • Regular integrated health patrols reintroduced in three areas - Efogi, Kokoda and Sogeri
  • Medical equipment and health supplies distributed to all clinics
  • Kokoda Track eye care program developed
  • Seventeen schools received curriculum materials and stationery supplies; ongoing replenishments
  • Supply essential clinical equipment to health posts
  • Support functional rural laboratory in Efogi and Kokoda for testing malaria, STIs and other communicable diseases
  • Monthly integrated health patrols, including immunisation and child health
  • Supply additional teachers and students desks and chairs to one school

Training (health and leadership)
  • 40 health workers trained in clinical practice, health facility management, maternal care, STI and HIV
  • 62 Village Health Volunteers from Efogi, Kokoda and Sogeri catchment areas
  • Forty one women and two men participated in women's leadership and organisational training programs
  • Five villages (62 people) received food preparation and small-scale business training
  • Commenced Education, Leadership and Management Workshops in all schools
  • 2 sports training programs conducted for communities around Kokoda and Efogi with sports equipment provided
  • 6 locals trained in toilet construction
  • Infection control and waste management training for three community health posts and aid posts
  • Sports training for villagers
Transport and communications
  • Transport study finalised in August 2009 -contributed to development of new Kokoda Track Safety Package
  • Audits of airstrips conducted for Efogi, Manari, Kagi, Milei, Naduri and Kokoda
  • Upgrade and installation of health radios in two villages and track radios in four villages
  • Repair and maintenance of Track radio network
  • Install health radios in all remaining health facilities
  • Further improvements to Track radio network
  • Community notice boards in 14 villages
Kokoda Safety Package

Completed For completion by June 2010

Tranche 1
  • Safety audits of six airstrips
  • Ongoing airstrip maintenance works such as mowing, clearing drains and repairing potholes at airstrips
  • Sogeri Road Bridge repaired
  • New radios installed along the Track and a rolling replacement program is being implemented
  • Installation of airstrip safety equipment (cones, pegs, weighing scales and windsocks)
  • Provision of airstrip handtool and maintenance equipment
  • Kokoda airstrip terminal relocated
  • Urgent repairs to Owers' Corner Road, including gravelling, installing new drainage and repairing nearby bridges
Livelihoods Pilot - Naoro workshops

Consultations and workshops for the first Livelihoods (micro-business support) project have begun in Naoro 1 and 2.

Following a detailed situation analysis undertaken in mid 2009, the first of the projects is now commencing to help communities set up businesses that provide sustainable income generation.

As reported in the November e-newsletter, a key objective of the Kokoda Initiative is to improve income generation opportunities for Track communities, including through tourism. The PNG and Australian governments, through the KTA, are working with the Naoro communities as the first pilot area for this program. The first part of the livelihoods project involves a series of workshops in Naoro to assist the community to determine appropriate business activities, identify the skills and resources required to successfully start and run these businesses, and gain family and clan commitment.

Community consultations were successful, with both Naoro 1 and 2 showing their interest and commitment to participate by signing agreements to move forward. Initial assessments of existing businesses, agriculture, livestock and soil conditions were made. Communities were eager to learn more about trekkers' needs so they can develop businesses that lead to income and ensure a better experience for the trekker. Business and agricultural workshops will be held 21 -25 February in both Naoro communities.

The Livelihoods team is led by KTA, AusAID, National Agricultural Research Institute and Ginigoada. The KTA's Livelihoods and Philanthropy Project Officer, Paulus Bogea, will provide ongoing support for the communities. The Livelihoods team is looking forward to further community discussions and working with communities to develop ideas for potential business opportunities.

Note: The Livelihoods project is being piloted in Naoro before being run in other villages across the region to provide opportunities to further improve the program approach as lessons are learned. By reviewing and incorporating success factors identified in pilot businesses there will be a better chance of improving the overall success rate of this program.

Signing agreements with communities

KTA's new staff member

The Kokoda Track Authority has recently gone through a busy recruitment period since December, with the addition of:
  • Safety Project Manager, Brian Boon -
  • Communications and Marketing Officer, Newman Cuthbert
  • Finance and Administration Manager, Jonathon Tuka -
  • Permits and Licensing Officer, Lilly Gabina -
  • Livelihoods and Philanthropy Project Officer, Paulus Bogea -
The KTA is also currently undertaking recruitment of two additional Rangers, an additional Permit Officer and a counterpart Operations Manager.

Kokoda Track Foundation announces Community Health Worker scholarships

In early February the Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF) launched its 2010 tertiary scholarship program, awarding four Kokoda Track villagers with scholarships to train as Community Health Workers.

This two year training program is an excellent opportunity for the four successful applicants, who will be based at a training school in Veifa, near Port Moresby. The KTF (partnered with Back Track Adventures) will cover the students' tuition fees, travel, boarding and living expenses.

Once graduated, the scholarship recipients will be qualified Community Health Workers and supported to return to their communities (Efogi, Naduri and Enivilogo) to work in aid posts or health centres.

This program complements the Kokoda Development Program (KDP) activities funded under the Kokoda Initiative. For example, the KDP administers the Village Health Volunteer (VHV) program, which trains villagers in first aid and preventative health measures, and links villagers with qualified health providers, including the Community Health Workers. Other KDP health activities also include outreach patrols in the Efogi and Sogeri catchments and health infrastructure work in Vesologo and Manari.

Further information on the Community Health Worker scholarship program, including interviews with recipients can be found on the KTF's website at community-health-worker-scholarships.html

Scholarship recipient, Collin, from Enivilogo

KDP Education - February Track walk

One of the KDP service providers, Basic Education Development Program (BEDP) walked the Kokoda Track from 2 to 10 February 2010 to introduce communities to BEDP's new Infrastructure Officer, Tyrell Maring. The purpose of the Track walk was to inform communities about the KDP's education activities planned for villages in 2010, to collect feedback from communities and to assist new teachers to settle into village postings.

In addition, in January 2010, BEDP and Janet Philemon (KDP Senior Program Officer, AusAID) conducted workshops at Kokoda Station to strengthen the Board of Management for Kokoda rural elementary schools. Sessions included gender equality, education reforms, education planning, roles and functions of board management.

Meet...Newman Cuthbert, Communications and Marketing Officer, KTA

Each month we will feature someone personally involved in delivering projects along the Kokoda Track to provide an insight into the life and background of the people dedicated to Kokoda Track work. This month's featured profile is Newman Cuthbert, Communications and Marketing Officer with the KTA.

Newman started work with the KTA in December 2009 as the Authority's first Communications and Marketing Officer. Newman is well-known in PNG media circles, having formerly worked as a journalist with the Post Courier newspaper, and as Press Secretary to four of PNG's Governor Generals.

Newman hails from the Kokoda end of the Track and is excited about his new position with the KTA, which will enable him to play a role in supporting Track communities.

Newman Cuthbert on the Track with a Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel

Born: On a leap year - in 2008 I turned 12!
Lives: Port Moresby
Previous work: Political Journalist/Features Writer - Post Courier newspaper and Press Secretary to four PNG Governor Generals

Interesting anecdote about working in the PNG media: PNG media is unpredictable in the issues it pursues and each day is also unpredictable. Politics still makes the front pages and radio news headlines, but the consumer is also unpredictable in its taste for news. It is evident that positive news, where ordinary people are involved in projects and taking initiatives gains high interest.

So do good features on people and places. Business news, the stock market and domestic travel is also beginning to interest a lot of readers.

Why did you take the job with the KTA?: I was invited by Minister Charles Abel to join him in the historical Ministers walk last year and during the nine day walk, I fell in love with the environment, and noticed the difficulties communities faced in their everyday life and believed in what the KTA and Kokoda Initiative activities were doing to assist these communities.

Before this walk I had taken the Kokoda Track for granted and wrote articles about the Track without knowing what it was all about. After that walk I decided that I also had a role to play and that it was time I too offered my skills and experience to benefit communities. Hobbies/interests: You can't take me away from the telly when a Cricket test match is on and especially when Australia is playing the West Indies. I am a diehard Broncos fan and think the Queensland Reds will need to lift their game this year.

I love the sea and my canoe in which I go fishing when I am at home at a little place called Oro Bay in Popondetta (Oro Province).
  • Favourite song: I am into Country music and can't get enough of Troy Cassar - Daly, but my song is that Slim Dusty trucking classic "Lights on the Hill"
  • Favourite food: Cheese cake
  • In my spare time I am either cooking, eating drinking or going for long walks.
  • Most unforgettable experience on the Track/Track region: climbing Mount Wilhelm and running out of puff just before the summit.
  • Top three things about living in PNG: It is home, where my friends are, the most beautiful undiscovered places in the world, which I continue to discover and want to show off to others. I am well travelled in the region and am passionate about home.
  • Aim for your role as KTA Communications and Marketing Officer: to make the Track known to the lands beyond PNG and Australia and say to the world..."The Kokoda Track is much more than just a track".

Kokoda Initiative

Other recent projects and upcoming events relating to the Kokoda Initiative include:
  • The KTA and the PNG Tourism Promotion Authority will co-host pre-season Tour Operator forums in late March (22 March, Port Moresby and 26 March, Brisbane). Venues to be announced - for further details please contact
  • Upcoming KDP - Education Program activities include various infrastructure developments - for example, timber has been cut for the building of classrooms in Efogi and Menari.

Under the Joint Understanding on the Kokoda Track and Owen Stanley Ranges, signed in April 2008, Australian and PNG governments agreed to work together to improve the livelihoods of local communities living along the Kokoda Track, and to protect the Kokoda Track and Owen Stanley Ranges for future generations.