Langmore on Australia in the world
Ours was the year that was: 1962-63

Village tourism struggles for funds

Bob Jenkins passes on an email from Aaron Hayes, Director of Ecotourism Melanesia, which arranged the Kokoda leg of Bob and Luella’s epic visit to PNG in 2005. “We were aware at the time that Aaron was operating a little more sympathetically towards the villagers along the track/trail than other organisations,” Bob writes, “so are happy to help out with his current predicament.”

It turns out that Aaron is seeking to identify private companies, individuals or organisations that might be able to assist he charity he founded in 2004 to facilitate the development of village tourism in PNG. Let Aaron take up the story. “The Community-Based Tourism Foundation helps village people to help themselves, by providing technical advice and training to show them how to operate village guest houses and other village-based tourism services like birdwatching and jungle trekking, so they can benefit from the growing number of tourists visiting PNG.

“The Foundation is currently in limbo after PNG government funds ran out last year and have not been renewed. Since the sector we service (poor village people) can’t pay for the services we provide, we now find ourselves having to solicit private donations - from overseas charities, NGOs and corporations, and even from individuals who have previously visited PNG as tourists - to keep the Foundation operating. This is the first time we have had to seek outside help.

“At the moment we are seeking small donations ($100 or so) to achieve our target of just $4,000 which will enable us to re-employ a national coordinator, get the phone reconnected and get our office functioning again. At the same time our coordinator can prepare submissions for ongoing support from donor agencies that fund ecotourism programs, such as the European Union and the UNDP Global Environment Fund. Once we establish relationships with a few development partners I am confident we will be able to attract long term program funds.

“My apologies for sending you this e-mail out of the blue but the desperate situation has prompted me to do whatever I can to keep the Foundation functioning.”

It seems to me, like it seems to Bob, that this is a worthwhile village-focused enterprise that deserves support. If you’re able to assist, email Aaron here and, even if you can’t, visit the Ecotourism Melanesia website here.


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