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The Gandep Project

The dream is to change the lives of approximately 25,000 people who live in 170 villages in one area of the Ramu River floodplains in the Madang province of Papua New Guinea (PNG).

We dream of strong, healthy and sustainable communities where the scourge of malaria is managed, with high standard medical clinics, access to safe water, improved sanitation practices and fully functioning schools. Communities will have the ability to trade yams, cocoa and timber.

This dream came after Jim West visited Gandep in 2009. Gandep is located in the middle of this area. Jim was appalled at the poor state of community welfare, people dying prematurely from disease (predominantly malaria), a high proportion of mothers and children dying during childbirth, abandoned or overcrowded schools and a sense of isolation pervaded the villages.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Health Information Profile has described this area as difficult to access with inadequate health facilities and slow economic growth that directly impacts people’s lives.

Key to the lives of these forgotten people in this area are two rivers – the Keram and the Ramu. Both are major transport and trade routes. The closest link between these rivers is near Gandep. From the Keram River, people travel overland to the Ramu River and then down river (canoe) to Bunapas and by road onto Madang.

There is a former mining exploration access track – that was poorly constructed and is now overgrown. This is the main track linking the two rivers and goods are carried from one river to the other as part of trade activities.

After extensive consultation with the local people, Jim and his friends committed to help the Gandep people by working with them to improve the track and so open the possibility of self-sustainable health, education and trade activity in this remote region.

It is planned to reconstruct this track to an improved all-weather standard and to extend and re-build the grass airstrip at Tsumba the village at the Ramu River end of the track. Dombisa Moyo has outlined in the best-selling book “Dead Aid” the challenge that has shaped the planning for the Gandep Project. That is, the focus on ‘People to People’ sustainable support and assistance that will ensure funds raised go directly to project outcomes.

It is a wonderful challenge – to help others in a sustainable way that allows self-determination by the local people.

Around 140 volunteers from Toowoomba surrounds have worked over the past 10 years to the complete Stages 1 and 2 of the project and have raised $2.5 million to complete these stages.

A further $4 million is required over 3 years to operationalise the project in PNG.

Find out More about the Project Details in the following booklet.
Download the Booklet

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