It was Afterglow’s first trip to Papua New Guinea and what a beautiful intense country. There’s the incredible landscapes, bushland, cultural diversity and the different languages spoken every day even in the capital Port Moresby. Then there’s poverty, crime and violence which means visitors are almost always obliged to have security with them anytime they leave their hotel. As an Australian it’s incredibly confronting, especially since it’s so geographically close and we have many common historical and cultural ties. Then again, as a rugby league supporter, Afterglow was overwhelmed by the huge numbers of locals wearing Australian footy jerseys: every team in the Australian NRL was well-represented including of course 2018 Premiers, the Roosters.
Our stories for the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) focused mainly on their Lighting PNG program where inexpensive, high quality, lightweight solar lighting kits were being rolled out across a mostly off-grid nation where most villages are reliant for lighting on poisonous hazardous kerosene lamps or overpriced battery flashlights. papua-new-guinea-300-days-of-sunshine
Two other secondary projects were the long awaited rooftop solar revolution and a new women’s refuge. Rooftop solar is a strange issue because the understanding is that while it’s a country suited for solar power generation the main power utility kept pressure on the government to discourage it because it threatened its business model. Again, more similarities with Australia! The women’s refuge was being built by the Bank of the South Pacific in response to the numbers of female staff victimised by domestic violence.