DIGICEL FOUNDATION DOUBLES ANNUAL BUDGET TO US$3 MILLION FOR COMMUNITY, HEALTH & EDUCATION
Thursday, March 10th, 2011 – Port Moresby: The Digicel PNG Foundation today announced that it has received an 100% increase in its annual budget from Digicel increasing from K3.75 million in 2009-2010 to K7.5 million for the year ahead. This will see the Foundation significantly increase its investment and funding of community, health and education projects right across PNG.
The announcements was made by the new Foundation Chairman Richard Kassman at a media event to launch the organisation’s first annual report (launch to 2009/10), which shares details of 92 projects and initiatives which have been developed, or funded in the Foundation’s initial 28 months of operations.
The Digicel Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation established by Digicel in October 2008 and is fully funded by the leading mobile operator. The Digicel Foundation has achieved the following milestones to-date at a total cost of 6.5 million kina:
In the area of Education
· Establishing 33 Community Learning Centers (CLC’s) nationwide and providing basic school resources to offer numeracy and literacy skills to 1,500 vulnerable children.
· Building 24 primary school classrooms fitted out with benches catering for 800 primary school students in rural areas as well as giving them access to clean water and sanitation
· Building 41 elementary school classrooms in rural areas, each resourced with basic school materials, providing 1,000 children with access to basic education and a much improved learning environment
· Establishing a pilot grassroots Teacher Training programme, “Isi Learning Programme”, in partnership with Living Light Foursqaure Church and the Government to train community based teachers in the CLC based pre and elementary schools in Port Moresby
Health & Community Development
· Funding three Mobile Clinic ambulances each providing free health services to up to 3,000 people per month in rural areas
· Construction and operations, in partnership with local churches and NGO’s, of four Women’s Shelters providing counseling, care and basic life skills training for victims of domestic violence
· Funding, in partnership with UNICEF and CIMC, of six Family Support Centers in co-operation with Government Provincial Hospitals providing professional care for victims of domestic violence
- Piloting a women’s program, “Strongim Meri” (Strengthening Women), in partnership with local NGO (Ginigoada Business Development Foundation), providing basic life skills for marginalized young women and mothers
- Starting a Community Learning Centre based Capacity Building program, in partnership with local NGO (Ginigoada Business Development Foundation), providing management skills to selected CLC community leaders
Speaking at the media briefing the new appointed Chairman of the Digicel Foundation, Richard Kassman said; “We have been working hard with our partners and urban and rural communities over the past two years to make a real difference in the lives of our people. We are proud of our achievements so far and will continue to roll out projects in the areas of basic education and health. The Digicel Foundation recognises that people are Papua New Guinea’s richest resource and as such our projects aim to reach and touch communities nationwide.”
Budget for 2011/2012
Reflecting the success of the Foundation, Digicel has allocated an 100% increased annual budget of K7.5 million for 2011/2012 to the work of the Foundation to further extend its community based projects, with a particular focus on basic education and family support related infrastructure, thereby strengthening the less privileged communities in PNG by providing them with basic services.
The Foundation has the following targets in 2011/2012 operations:
· Funding and delivery of 68 new primary and elementary classrooms including proper water and sanitation facilities.
· Funding and delivery of 10 rural health clinic facilites
· Improve facilities in 10 Special Needs Resource Centres in10 provinces
· Expanding the Community Learning Centres Sustainability and Capacity Building Programs with a special focus on women’s skills programs and basic health and hygiene facilties and awareness
The Digicel Foundation in PNG is working with several non-government organizations and churches – Living Light Foursquare Church, WeCARe Foundation, Ginigoada Business Development Foundation, City Mission , UNICEF, CIMC, Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Hope Worldwide PNG , World Vision Pacific Development Group (PDG), Gateway Family Church, Catholic Health Services, Boroko Rotary and POM Rotary and others – to get the projects and programs, in the areas of basic education and health, implemented and operational. The Government, in particular, through the Department for Community Development and the Department of Education, is closely involved with the Foundation’s projects.
The Digicel Foundation singles out those communities that are active in helping themselves with the little resources they have. The Digicel Foundation’s main focus is to initiate projects that will provide opportunities and inspire a positive and vibrant future for communities within PNG. The Digicel Foundation believes that as the Digicel company grows, the communities in PNG should grow as well.