Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


EU-STREIT PNG Programme Inaugurates Rehabilitated Road, Transforming Lives For 2,200 In Papua New Guinea


EU-STREIT PNG Programme officially inaugurated the Yawasoro-Niewanjie Road in Wewak, Papua New Guinea, rehabilitated by ILO as part of transport infrastructure component of the Programme.

This transformative project, inaugurated by high-level officials, improves accessibility for over 2,200 residents, boosting rural connectivity, economic growth, and access to markets and essential social and health services.

The communities of Yawasoro-Niewanjie in East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea recently celebrated a landmark event with the unveiling of their newly rehabilitated Yawasoro-Niewanjie Road. This significant occasion, attended by prominent international and national leaders, highlighted the collaborative efforts fostered under the EU-funded UN-joint STREIT PNG Programme, aimed at transforming vital infrastructure to enhance rural connectivity and economic growth.

Among the distinguished guests were the ILO’s Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Ms. Chihoko Asada-Miyakawa; the Papua New Guinean Minister of Labour and Employment, Ms. Kessy Sawang; the EU Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Mr. Jacques Fradin; the UN Resident Coordinator in Papua New Guinea, Mr. Richard Howard; and the East Sepik Deputy Provincial Administrator, Mr. Alphonse Kami.

The road, extending over 10.13 kilometres, is now an all-weather, durable pathway designed to withstand the severe environmental conditions of the area. This road enhances access to markets and essential services such as healthcare and education, promising to touch the lives and livelihoods of approximately 2,200 users. As the new road opens, it brings with it a renewed sense of connection and hope for the residents of Wewak, setting a strong foundation for ongoing development initiatives in the region.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Here are some of the key benefits of this road rehabilitation project:

  • Improved Travel Conditions: The rehabilitated road enables year-round travel which was previously hindered by seasonal weather and swampy lands.
  • Enhanced Accessibility: Increased access helps residents reach markets, healthcare facilities, and schools, which are vital for daily life and emergency situations.
  • Reduced Travel Times and Costs: Residents can now travel more efficiently, which lowers transportation costs.
  • Boosted Economic Opportunities: Improved access to markets enhances economic opportunities and provides a boost to local businesses and agribusinesses. This is particularly beneficial for cocoa growers, processors, and MSMEs, aligning with the EU-STREIT PNG Programme’s mandate to promote and develop the Cocoa Value Chain.
  • Employment Generation: The project has created about 12,000 days of paid work during its implementation phase, injecting substantial financial input into the local economy.

Speaking at the inauguration, Ms. Chihoko Asada-Miyakawa, the ILO’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, detailed the extensive efforts in road and market access infrastructure under the EU-STREIT initiative. She highlighted the significant outcomes: "The ILO under EU-STREIT is rehabilitating and maintaining vital feeder rural access roads as well as restoring a number of airstrips. This transport infrastructure development will support inclusive development of remote areas.” She further noted the Programme's focus on inclusive employment, stating, 'Under road rehabilitation and routine maintenance, 52% of labour engaged to provide road maintenance are female, providing over 390,000 workdays of targeted employment to local communities by the end of the Programme in May 2025.”

The PNG Minister of Labour and Employment, Ms. Kessy Sawang, in her remarks, emphasized the project's alignment with national priorities. "We should continue to have more of this kind of project throughout the country to create employment through Cocoa, Vanilla, and Fisheries to enhancing the quality of life for our rural population in the Greater Sepik region and in the country as well."

The EU Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, Mr. Jacques Fradin, in his address during the event highlighted the EU’s commitment to supporting the region's development goals. “This is the largest EU-funded project in the Pacific. Despite challenges like COVID-19 at the initial stages, the outcome will greatly benefit the people of East and West Sepik and serve as a prime example of successful projects in PNG. The focus of this project extends across Vanilla, Cocoa, and Fisheries sectors, all of which have already shown added value. Moreover, this project champions women's empowerment and has successfully implemented a micro banking system, enhancing prosperity and well-being for entire communities. Our ongoing support reflects our commitment to the people of Papua New Guinea,” stated the Ambassador.

The UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Richard Howard, also underscored the collaborative efforts to enhance agricultural productivity in the Sepik region. “This project exemplifies how the UN, leveraging diverse expertise, collaborates closely with local communities,” he observed. Mr. Howard continued, emphasizing the sustainable impact of such partnerships: 'The most effective way to maintain a road is not through machinery but through the people themselves. Our road maintenance workers have not only learned to repair but also to sustain their own roads, which is truly commendable.”
The East Sepik Deputy Provincial Administrator, Mr. Alphonse Kami, said: “Today’s inauguration is evidence of this vital project coming to its end and at the provincial level we’re interacting with the EU-STREIT PNG on the sustainability part of the road.” The Deputy PA also called on the community to look after the road as this important transport infrastructure belongs to and benefits them.

The EU-STREIT PNG Programme Coordinator, Mr. Ali Said Yesuf, in his remarks highlighted the comprehensive nature of the project during his address. “The rehabilitated Yawasoro-Niewanjie Road exemplifies the EU-STREIT PNG Programme's hard interventions. Beyond infrastructure, we've established enduring systems and mechanisms to accelerate transformation of the socio-economic landscape the Sepiks.” He further added: “The people in East and West Sepik have gained valuable expertise in producing high-quality cocoa, vanilla, and fishery products. These skills will persist, contributing to sustainable practices. This Programme marks a significant advancement towards our objective of fostering sustainable rural and agribusiness development.”

The first Assistant Secretary of National Department of Works and Highways, Mr. Solomon Pela in his remarks, also further commended the success of the EU-STREIT PNG Programme and strongly emphasised on its sustainability and replication countrywide.

The EU-STREIT PNG Programme, through its transport infrastructure development component led by ILO, is currently working on the rehabilitation of 207 km of rural road networks. Additionally, the Programme is engaged in employment-intensive routine maintenance for 312 km of rural access roads in the region. This initiative also includes the refurbishment of five rural airstrips located in the remote hinterlands of the Sepik, along with the rehabilitation and maintenance of waterway transport infrastructure in the region.

About the EU-STREIT PNG Programme

The EU-STREIT PNG, being implemented as a United Nations Joint Programme (FAO as leading agency and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as implementing partners), is the European Union's largest grant-funded initiative in the country. It focuses on boosting sustainable and inclusive economic development in rural areas. This is achieved by enhancing economic returns and opportunities within cocoa, vanilla, and fisheries value chains. Additionally, the Programme strengthens and improves the efficiency of value chain enablers, including access to ICT and digital financial services. It also supports the development of sustainable, climate-resilient transport infrastructures and renewable energy solutions. The Programme benefits two provinces: East Sepik and West Sepik.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.