By Rukmin Wijemanne, In A Box Innovations
The Bureau Media and Communications Department of the Autonomous Bougainville Government launched recently a mobile radio broadcasting service in Buka, its capital. This service will travel around the Island of Bougainville informing the people about the planned referendum, voting and other important topics.
The Autonomous Region of Bougainville, previously known as the North Solomons Province, is an autonomous region in Papua New Guinea. The largest island is Bougainville Island (also the largest of the Solomon Islands archipelago), and the province also includes Buka Island and assorted outlying islands including the Carteret Islands. The capital is temporarily Buka, though it is expected that Arawa will once again become the provincial capital. The population of the province is 249,358 (courtesy Wikipedia).
Leading from the peace agreement which embedded the right to hold a referendum on independence not earlier that 2015 and no later than 2020, the ABG is planning to inform and educate the people of Bougainville the importance and the voting process of the referendum. One of the methods adopted is to travel to rural areas with the mobile radio station and broadcast locally.
For this purpose the Media Unit of ABG purchased a Radio-in-a-Box (model Proteus), a portable radio station, from the Australian company, In a Box Innovations. A vehicle mounted telescopic mast was also purchased to facilitate portable use of the radio station. The equipment was delivered in September 2014. A training programme for the operational staff was held early October to ensure that the staff are conversant with the setting up and operational processes.
As the portable telescopic mast had not arrived at the time of the training, the installation procedure was explained to the staff. A temporary mast was erected using a galvanised pipe to test all the equipment and to make several test broadcasts.
The portable telescopic mast has now been successfully installed on a Toyota Land Cruiser and the mobile radio station is now operational.
2000 windup radios were also purchased for distribution to people who do not have access to radios.
This project was jointly funded by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia and New Zealand Aid Programme.