Remote Kokoda communities can access basic lighting in their homes

Clean affordable solar lighting is now a reality for remote communities along the Kokoda Track. A partnership between KTF and the Australian Government (Kokoda Initiative), with generous in-kind support from PNG Air, has illuminated 291 households in 10 communities along the Kokoda Track. Household solar lighting and energy systems were installed onto every home in the villages of Naoro 2, Efogi 1 & 2, Kagi, Alola, Abuari, Isurava, Kovello and Hoi and all smaller villages in between.

This partnership followed KTF’s previous project whereby 175 households in Manari, Naduri and Kou Kou 1 and 2 villages were illuminated with generous funding from Back Track Adventures, Mundango Abroad and the George & Josie Palmer Fund.

In addition to the household systems, larger systems were installed onto 31 schools, health facilities, churches and community centres along the Kokoda Track. Over 3,000 people have benefitted directly from the project to date.

Elementary teacher at Alola Elementary School, Aron Sega, was delighted to receive the solar light installation onto his school and home.

“The solar systems that have been installed on my home and our remote elementary school save me money. Now I am able to do my work at night and my kids can enjoy reading and doing other work after dark. I can enjoy my evening with my family” said Aron.

With as little as four hours of sunlight a day, the solar panels can generate enough power for batteries to run four lights and charge phone and small appliances such as phones, radios and speakers.

Local Pastor from Naoro 2 village said: “We can now conduct meetings and Church and community gatherings without worrying about the generator fuel cost. It has relieved our burdens greatly”.

Forty-four local volunteers were trained by KTF to maintain the solar lights following the installation to enable them to identify minor faults and replace the batteries when required.

Mike Nelson