Giving back to Kokoda
Oagi, Niguli and Vovoli Clan Leaders. Left to right: Joel (Oagi Clan), Malah Batiia (Oagi Clan Leader), Maulu Anisi (Niguli Clan Leader), Vavela Siga (Vovou Clan Leader), Andy NDiki (Back Track Chief Guide)

We are constantly asked:

“What can be done to assist the people and communities we meet along the Kokoda Track?”

There is a lot that can be done by us, in small ways, to assist the communities with lifestyle improvements. In consultation with the clan leaders of Naduri village, we have outlined below, a number of projects that we have either completed or are seeking funding assistance to complete. Your trek leaders will show you these projects during your stay in Naduri Village.

If you would like to assist, we would love to have your help. Please contact us at Back Track to discuss any fund raising ideas you may have or for more information.

Trekkers helping the people along the Kokoda Track Small, Achievable Assistance

Here’s some of our projects to date …

COMPLETED: The purchase and install a solar power unit for the church in Naduri Village

Project Cost PGK8,000

The Church in Naduri is the single most important factor uniting all the clans and people of this community. The church building is the heart and soul and the social hub the brings all people together in a loving/caring  environment.

2014 marked the 100th anniversary of Christianity reaching Naduri Village.  December 2014 saw 100’s of Koiri people from villages all along the Kokoda Track,  congregating at nearby Efogi Village (45 minutes walk for local people, 2 hours, plus, for trekkers) to celebrate the event. This is a very important and enthusiastically anticipated celebration.

Through the generosity of the community, we were able to install solar power so the Naduri choir, men and women, including members of Back Track’s trekking crew, can rehearse their choir songs at night after work has been completed. For those of you who have trekked with us, you will be well aware of just how beautiful their singing can be.

Background information: formerly power was supplied by a generator which is expensive to operate in regard to fuel costs and transport of fuel to the village. The generator was donated by Back Track  2 years ago and is also used to power other needs in the village.

 Naduri Village. Resident population approx 250. Kagi Village on the opposite ridge.

Naduri Village. Resident population approx 250. Kagi Village on the opposite ridge.

COMPLETED: Weather proof the Naduri Elementary School

Project Cost AUD$6,900

Giving back to Kokoda
Inside the school

The school is in active use, and we needed to complete the project by fully weatherproofing and enclosing the sides with louvers.

The interior could not be fully utilised until weather proofing was completed.

A total of 28 children were catered for in the Elementary School. This project was supervised and managed by the Kokoda Track Foundation. Back Track, with the aid of our trekkers, raised the funds required.

What we are currently trying to achieve in 2017 – Gifts for village people and children

naduri-village-children-backtrack

Australians by nature are very generous people. There may be times on your trek when you may like to share a lolly ,discreetly, with a child that you have met during a brief stopover in a village. This is obviously not a ‘bad thing’ to do. However, the reality is that during the trekking season, 100’s of well meaning Australian Santa Claus appear in every  village distributing gifts and lollies. This is not a practise the village elders approve of or desire.

The Kokoda Track Authority, the Track’s  local governing body provides the following very clear guideline on this matter. Point 4.6 clearly states “do not take balloons, sweets or trinkets for local children.”

naduri-village-children2-backtrack

Rather than lollies, if you wish to bring something, why not school supplies. Coloured pens, rulers, pencils, rubbers sharpeners and any school items are worth considering. If you do bring such items, please let us know in advance and inform your trek leader at the briefing in Port Moresby. Your leader will make an advance plan as to where and how such items will be distributed during your trek. This way, items, will be equally distributed to different villages during the trekking season.

Naduri Community Resource Centre

Giving back to Kokoda
Donating lighting to Joel, Naduri Community Leader on behalf of Back Track trekkers

In consultation with the local community leaders, this project has been identified as most important. The Centre will provide space for elder’s meetings, women’s workshops, youth workshops, church social

events,  trek management training, drum performances, singing and choir practise, night sports, cultural displays and workshops, a venue for special community events such as State of Origin and season National Rugby League (NRL) game broadcasts which will attract members from village communities near and far along the Kokoda Track.

This project is only in its infancy. The design and costing of the Centre is yet to be done. We are wanting the Centre to be made from durable modern materials, however, it must maintain  style aspects that will clearly identify it as sympathetic and in harmony with the village and the environment . There are certain very distinct traditional design elements that must be incorporated in the design.

It is envisaged that the centre will become a Trekker’s tourist attraction. A small WW2 Kokoda campaign museum will be incorporated which will highlight the activities of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels and provide the story of the local people and how the war that swept through their villages in 1942  affected them. Once again we will be seeking the assistance of our trekkers to get the job done.

If you are a designer or can assist please contact us.

Donations from past trekking seasons

Take a look at what small gifts and amounts of money donated achieved during past trekking seasons:

Giving back to Kokoda
Donating Bibles to Naduri, Kagi and Efogi communities on behalf go Back Track trekkers
  • Supply of 200 Bibles for the 7th day Adventist communities in Naduri, Kagi and Efogi. This donation caused great happiness in these communities. Thank you Peter, from the USA and family.
  • Funds provided to complete the building of Naduri Elementary school. This project was managed and in the whole funded by the Kokoda Track Foundation. Our trekkers provided additional emergency funds necessary to complete the project when other urgent funding demands restricted KTF completion of the project within important time constraints.
  • Football jerseys and financial travel expense assistance for the Efogi Village Rugby league Nines team to compete in Port Moresby competition. Thank you Brian.
  • Solar power supply, design and personal installation of a large unit for the Naduri Elementary School. Thank you Peter, from the USA and family.
  • Many Back Track trekking Teams throughout the season carried school supplies which were earmarked for schools in various Kokoda Track villages. Thank you all Back Track trekkers.
  • String led lights and rechargeable solar batteries for Naduri Village community. Thank you – Kurt
  • Purchase of widescreen colour TV, aerial and generator for use by the large school, common to Naduri and Kagi Villages. Donated by Back Track.
Giving back to Kokoda
7th Day Adventist Church situated above Naduri Village. Project ‘Solar Power’.

Small Achievable Assistance Program

Back Track is very heavily connected with the Naduri Village Community. Past trekkers will remember visiting Naduri Village and meeting the ‘old man’ as he was affectionately known – Ovoru Ndiki. Ovuro passed away in November 2013 and is buried in the village. He is missed by us all.

naduri-village-backtrack

Above you will have read about small programs in which you can get involved. These projects enhance the lifestyle of our trek crews and their families in a practical manner.

During the trekking season Back Track employs up to 200 young men, mainly from Naduri, but also from Kagi , Manari and Efogi villages. Occasionally we employ from other villages as well to ensure ongoing good relations with all the Track communities. Many people from Naduri Village are now living in Port Moresby and some maintain homes in both locations. In Port Moresby we store and warehouse all our trekking gear with the Naduri community. As well as storage they are responsible for cleaning and maintaining the gear after each trek. This provides an additional business opportunity and additional employment throughout the season.

How you can get involved

By hiring a personal porter to carry your pack throughout your Kokoda trek, you not only increase your own enjoyment of the trek by eliminating the effort required to carry a heavy pack over very challenging terrain, but you are supplying additional work for a very thankful village member. The wages of our carriers have contributed so much to the ongoing prosperity and general happy enhancement to the village lifestyle.

There are several other ways you can get involved in helping give back to the villages and people who live along the Kokoda Track. Contact us for more information:

Others getting involved

Watch the short video below with Will Genia, Australian Wallabies Halfback and Kokoda Track Foundation Ambassador, talking about trekking the Kokoda Track and importance of the Kokoda Track Foundation.