The Autonomous Region of Bougainville, previously known as the North Solomons, comprises Buka, Bougainville, and other small outlying islands. Bougainville is situated in the Solomon Sea between Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Solomon Islands, and the capital city is Buka. While most Bougainvilleans are Melanesian, the people of Takuu and Nukuman islands are Polynesian.
We began working in Bougainville in 1998 with a programme that focused on reconstruction efforts and responding to immediate post-crisis needs and in the same year, we opened a field office in Arawa. While many NGO’s set up in Buka, we purposely based ourselves in Arawa, near the heart of the conflict, as part of the New Zealand Government’s commitment to delivering a ‘peace dividend’. Volunteers have since been deployed in Buka, Buin, Nissan, Selau-Suir, Tinputz and Wakunai districts, and in 2013 a sub-field office was opened in Buka. Today, our volunteers work alongside the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), the private sector, and international and national non-government organisations.
Together, we support public services, enable community development, and secure livelihoods for rural communities.
UniVol assignments in Bougainville have also had positive outcomes through “youth to youth” development and the opportunities to support non-government organisations.