'Rubbish' Kitava New Kitava Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea

PROJECT OVERVIEW: The slum New Kitava, formerly 'Rubbish' Kitava, is located on the outskirts of Alotau, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. 250–300 migrants from the south pacific Trobriand Islands live here in self-built shanties, made out of rubbish and bush materials. The community struggles with unemployment and poverty, insufficient hygiene and crime. Due to migration, gangs of young men, so called rascals, threaten people in Alotau. Lately there have been an increasing number of armed hold-ups and assaults. In 2018, one of these gangs was chased by 'special' Papua New Guinea police forces, but the rascals escaped through the New Kitava settlement into the surrounding forest. Frustrated policemen started to bully the settlers and the situation escalated. In a severe act of 'police terrorism', 18 houses were burned down. A woman was shot and one child died in the flames. The Catholic Diocese of Alotau started an initiative to help the victims with first aid, food, tents and blankets. In discussion with the community, the urgent needs and wishes of the settlers have been captured. The new urban development project – New Kitava – is the result of this Participatory Action Research. Small archetype houses will create an interesting residential environment. There is a hierarchy of streets, alleys and public spaces and facilities. A community shower and ecological composting toilet and a community research centre complement the grid and complete the urban development both functionally and aesthetically.

CATEGORY: Civil Society SETTING: Rural STATUS: On-going

BY: Rainer Kašik

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: The project adopts Participatory Action Research (PAR) among multi-ethnic island communities in Alotau, Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea. Access to land is in negotiation with local landowners, while technical assistance of volunteer professionals builds on indigenous knowledge and grassroots processes.

PARTNERS: Melanesian Institute Goroka (MI), Catholic Diocese of Alotau (Milne Bay). The project involves ongoing partnership between a Socio-Pastoral Institute (Melanesian Institute) and indigenous grassroots communities, and coordination with the local church and focal government agencies.