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Cultivating for the future in Papua New Guinea

As ChildFund Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Development Effectiveness Manager, it is my job to monitor our programs and measure the impact of our work. I spend lots of time talking with different members of the communities we work with in rural areas of PNG, including community leaders, teachers, parents and children, to find out how our programs are helping them.

Recently on one of my trips back from visiting communities in Rigo district, I stopped off at a World Food Day event in Kwikila, located just over an hour from Port Moresby.

While at the event I was delighted to spot my old friend, Sindon, conducting awareness-raising about the benefits of rice as both a nutritious food option and also a solution to food security problems and performing demonstrations about operating and maintaining a rice mill machine.

More interesting to me was that he was displaying a number of ChildFund PNG-produced food security pamphlets bearing the ChildFund PNG logo from five or more years ago.  The logo format may have changed since then, but Sindon lives on to tell others about the good work ChildFund PNG has done for his community.

Sindon was a beneficiary of a livelihoods program we did in his village, Sivitatana, in Central Province. The program, in part, focused on the benefits of rice cultivation and included rice mill machines being provided to a number of communities after we trained some community members as rice mill operators.

Sindon was one of the operators trained and still maintains and operates this rice mill today, providing milling services to a number of rice farmers. I watched as he demonstrated many facets of operating the machine to onlookers, including the positioning of the machine, safety considerations, engine adjustments, milling blade adjustments for improved rice quality, engine sound indications and maintenance requirements.


Sindon demontrating how to use a rice mill machine at a World Food Day event in Kwikila, Papua New Guinea

ChildFund PNG partnered with Sivitatana for about 11 years. We phased out our partnership with the community in 2009 as our support was no longer needed. So I took pride in knowing that the competencies that Sindon showed, as I watched on, are a result of ChildFund’s effective development programs that really are producing long-term outcomes for communities in Papua New Guinea.

After his demonstration I had the chance to catch up with Sindon. He too attributes the positive changes in his farming ability to the assistance he received from ChildFund. “With the knowledge I now have about vegetable growing, I do not worry about where I grow my backyard vegetables, like snake beans and tomato, because I am able to make changes to the soil’s fertility and composition to enable vegetables to grow easily.”

In 2012, Sindon and his family planted about half a hectare of rice fields on his land. Just four months later he was already reaping the benefits, from his first harvest he received nearly 50 kilograms of rice. Prior to this, he had planted watermelon, then capsicum and cucumber.

The money that Sindon earns from selling surplus produce is used to support his family, purchasing clothes, medication and groceries, and paying for transport fares to the health centre. But Sindon is not stopping there, he has big plans to venture into full-time commercial vegetable farming.

This is just one example of how ChildFund is working with committed individuals at the grassroots level to change the lives of people for the better.

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