16 Feb 2005

EU planning to get community buy in to aid projects after school occupation on Bougainville

3:10 pm on 16 February 2005

The European Union is altering its approach to aid in Papua New Guinea, saying there must be a greater effort to get communities to "buy in" to specific aid projects.

The EU representative in PNG, Anthony Crasner, says the need for a new approach has been underscored for it by the occupation of a school in Bougainville province.

The occupation of the Hutjena High School in Buka ended violently after the youths involved had stolen equipment and allegedly attempted to burn part of iit down.

The EU has paid two point three million US dollars to upgrade the school.

Anthony Crasner, the EU's representative, says he understands damage was minor, but he says the EU will now be making a greater effort to ensure communities as a whole want the projects and facilities it is helping provide.

"It's clear that the school is delighted to have new infrastructure, it's clear that the provincial administration is delighted to have new infrastructure; it's clear that the students are delighted to have decent accommodation and a mess hall and ablution blocks and classrooms and so on. But whether we've actually succeeded in dealing with the community leaders and addressing the problem of whether this is something which the community is fully committed to is not clear."

The EU's Anthony Crasner.