Australia helps train basic infrastructure engineers in Papua

Australia helps train basic infrastructure engineers in Papua

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - More than 100 technical facilitators, who have graduated from a basic infrastructure course funded by Australia, will be deployed to rural villages to help build basic infrastructure in Papua and West Papua provinces, it was reported here Friday.
According to an Australian Embassy media release, the six-month course is part of the Australian Government`s $2.7 million contribution to the special Papua province component of the Indonesian Government`s National Program for People`s Empowerment (PNPM - RESPEK).
Known as "Barefoot-Engineers", the participants were selected high school graduates who were taught technical skills in community development and construction.
The training program responds to the lack of qualified engineers in Papua and West Papua, and increases the number of skilled technical facilitators available for deployment to rural villages.
Senior Representative of AusAID in Indonesia, Blair Exell, said Australia`s contribution supports national and provincial governments to implement their development agenda on poverty reduction.
"Australia assists local governments in Papua and West Papua to respond to community development needs, including through training in basic infrastructure. By improving roads, bridges and wells these communities will be able to better access basic services and improve their livelihoods," Blair Exell said.
The course is an add-on to the standard training provided to engineer facilitators by Indonesia`s Ministry of Home Affairs, as part of its National Program for People`s Empowerment in Papua and West Papua.
A local university, Universitas Cenderawasih, helped prepare training modules and assisted in recruitment.
The Australian funding to the program also aims to improve financial accountability in targeted villages. This will be achieved by providing financial management specialists to complement auditory work already undertaken by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
About 30 per cent of the new technical facilitator graduates are women. Australia will also provide a gender specialist to improve gender sensitivity among facilitators and assess women`s participation in the program`s activities. (*)