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September 2007 - Initiatives in the South Pacific

Papua New Guinea - COL is working through the University of Papua New Guinea with representatives from national, provincial and local governments as well as representatives from the PNG Institute of Public Administration to develop an action plan to develop Open Distance Learning methods and materials to build capacity in Local Level Governments. This initiatve fits into PNG's overall Public Sector Reform initiative, where almost all training has been face-to-face. Participant bodies in this initiative are taking measures to ensure that we do not reinvent the wheel by disregarding existing activities in this area and do not run parellel programmes, but rather pull together organizations already engaged in this area to develop a plan to move forward.

Solomon Islands - COL is working with the Ministry of Education and Human Resources to develop Distance Flexible Learning policy for the ministry and materials to train the primary School Committees and secondary School Boards. The focus in training the local school boards is to encourage them to mobilize their communities and encourage community engagement in developing and implementing school plans.

Vanuatu - Wan Smolbag Theatre, an NGO that works with youth to bring drama to people. Their plays focus on social and enviromental issues. COL is funding them, along with Unifem and the British Council, to produce and disseminate a DVD, based on their plan Las Kad (Last Card), about decision-making, witchcraft and women's place in society. It has been a hugely successful play, and is expected to be equally popular when distributed in Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. Distribution will be in schools as well as to communities by Village Cinema where the DVD is shown under the stars in a community. Wan Smolbag also produces engaging materials for discussions and follow-up activities.