Papua New Guinea
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Kokoda festival marks 20 years

The event gathered local community members, government and non-government partners, and donors at the Kokoda FODE College and Kou Kou Community to witness the diverse range of life-changing projects currently being implemented along the Kokoda Track and broader Oro Province.

KTF's chief executive officer, Dr. Genevieve Nelson, reminisced on the significant turning point in 2012 when Kokoda veterans, Bede Tongs, George Palmer, Owen Baskett and Garnet Tobin initiated the journey.

After 11 years, KTF's Kokoda College has become a thriving center for education, health, and equality projects in the region.

A flagship program of KTF, the Kokoda FODE College, offers second-chance education pathways for students who missed the opportunity to complete high school. It enables them to matriculate at a Grade 12 level or upgrade their high school marks, opening doors for further tertiary study. Priority is given to students committed to pursuing careers as teachers or health workers.

James Orimba, a current Grade 12 student at Kokoda FODE, shared his inspiring story of overcoming obstacles to follow his dream of becoming a community health worker.

The Kokoda Festival brought together local communities, students, partners, and esteemed guests for a day filled with celebrations, activities, and learning.

The event commenced with speeches from prominent figures, including the Deputy Provincial Administrator Joseph Mokada, Provincial Education Advisor, Maino Vegoli, and Conwell Barai, a representative of the leaders of Kou Kou Community.

Guided tours of the Kokoda campus provided valuable insights into the importance of FODE in the community and information for prospective students interested in enrolling in 2024.

The festival also featured the exciting Kicks 4 Kokoda soccer tournament in partnership with the PNG Olympic Committee. Attendees witnessed special appearances from nine Olympic and nationally ranked athletes representing various sports, emphasizing Olympic values like Respect, Friendship, Openness, and Excellence.

Information booths at the festival showcased KTF's early childhood education, solar, health, and equality projects. Attendees availed of free health tests, condoms, eye testing, and participated in engaging activities. Integral local partners, including Femili PNG, Community Development, and FSVU, provided valuable information sessions and resources to the community.

The Kokoda Festival highlighted the significant impact KTF has made in rural and remote communities over the past two decades, showcasing life-changing projects empowering communities and shaping brighter futures.