These minutes and photos were sent via Facebook message to Alexis Cullen, who was in Port-Vila at the time and unable to attend. Alexis has posted these on behalf of the Public Relations Officer, Cathriona. This is written in Bislama, the national language of Vanuatu.
MINIT BLONG MAEWO TLECOMUNICATION KOMITY MITING
Date: 9th May 2016
Place: Qwatiowoli, Central Maewo
Time: 8: 00 am
Members present: 37
Wlkam mo prea
Minit blong las miting
Toktok long minit
Budget mo Account blong Tele.Komiti.
1. MITING I OPEN / WELKAM MO PREA.
Jeaman Mr. Ezekiel Boelum I talem welkam long ol membas we I presen mo kol apon Eld. Martin Christy (observer) blong openem miting wetem prea.
2. MINIT BLONG LAS MITING.
Secretary Madam Lily Mana I ridimaot minit mo evriwan I agree long minit blong las miting.
3. TOKTOK LONG MINIT
Vice jeaman Mr. Japin Ngwera I kwestenem labour cost blong communication Tower se bae community support I kam in long wanem time?
Chairman I ansa se as soon as yumi finisim budget bae pipol I save start blong participate mo involve long fand raise mo also blong givhan long labour (free labour).
4. BUDGET MO ACCOUNT BLONG MAEWO TELECOMUNICATION KOMITI.
Mr. Ezekiel Boelum I stanap mo welkamem Hon. Ian Wilson M.P blong Maewo Constituency. Hemi se Hon. MP I kam blong lesin mo givim sapot long Maewo Telecomunication project. Mr. Chairman I se naoia komiti I no mekem inaf mane yet, be I gud plan blong each individual memba bae I contribute long VT 200 start long tudei 9th May kasem 23rd May 2016. Membas contribution ya I kavremap ol vilij ya I gat Gaiowo, Lalavaru, Betarara, Kerepei, Rongnawo, Umlongo, Qwatiowoli, Ngota mo Naviso.
Afta long plante toktok, komiti I resolve se budget miting bae stap afta long 23rd May mo MP. Ian I mekem support toktok mo komitim hem blong donetem fifty thousand (VT 50.000) I kam long Maewo Telecommunication Komity. Komiti I apreciatem financial support we I kam long Hon. MP. Mo miting I resolve tu se long Wednesday 11th May 2016 bae jeaman, Mr. Ezekiel Boelum, Vice Chairman, Mr. Japin Ngwera mo secretary Madam Lily Mana bae oppenem account blong Maewo Telecommunication.
5. MITING KLOS.
Jeaman I talem thank yu long evriwan we I kam mo searem tingting long miting mo kol apon Fr. Augustin (observer) blong klosem miting wetem prea.
Time: 12: 00 pmm
Minit Sign by:
For Immediate Release
May 2, 2016 – GWATIAWOL VILLAGE, MAEWO ISLAND, Republic of Vanuatu:
For the first time in Vanuatu, remote villagers without access to mobile network have taken matters into their own hands by fundraising to build the communities’ own mobile network tower. The charitable association is called the Maewo Telecommuncations Committee (Inc.), or MTC, and was officially registered with the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission on the 5th of April 2016.
While the MTC must raise funds for the tower on their own, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO), the Telecommunications and Radiocommunications Regulator (TRR), and the Ministry of Health (MoH) have expressed support of the project to make sure health clinics on Maewo will have access to the Government Broadband Network (GBN), once the tower is completed. In addition, Telsat Broadband has agreed to let MTC purchase materials to build the tower at cost, and will be providing on the job training to one of Maewo’s certified electrical engineers in order to maintain the system.
This work is one small part of a larger initiative called the Vanuatu Inter-Island Telemedicine and Learning Network (VITAL), which is launching a pilot in conjunction with MTC and enables a pathway for communication between all levels of care from the aid post to Lolowai Provincial Hospital and through to Luganville’s Northern District Hospital on Santo Island. Telemedicine, a type of healthcare service using voice, video, and other Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), lets doctors connect and diagnose ailments of patients on outer islands without the need for travel, unless surgery or another hands on medical intervention is needed.
MTC Chairman and former President of Penama Province, Ezekiel Boelum, stated, “We have petitioned the government and asked network providers for years. In 2003, TVL introduced mobile phone service to rural communities in Maewo and in 2007 Digicel service was added; however, the Eastern side, especially Naviso Village, never received network service. We started this committee to improve health, education, information sharing and communication and to lift up the standard of living in our communities through mobile network and Internet.”
Since broadband Internet access is almost non-existent on Maewo, schools, government offices and health facilities are currently unable to connect electronically with government offices. Bridging these connections with reliable telecommunications will improve educational opportunities, monitoring of government services, and health outcomes. Also, it will help to end needless deaths and to advance long-term economic, social and community development prospects. The MTC has expressed the desire to help other underserved islands with grant applications, construction plans, and lessons learned for towers once the project is finished.
The MTC is looking for support from the Ni-Vanuatu and expatriate communities through an online crowdfunding effort, which will be launched soon. In addition, they will be selling food and handicrafts at ICT Days on May 17th and 18th at the National Convention Centre. If you would like to help or to learn more, please visit http://www.facebook.com/MaewoWifi.