Archive for the ‘iRAMP Programme’ Category

THE ALL GIRLS iRAMP TEAM   Leave a comment

By Janet Rowaro
The iRAMP fuel and maintenance trip to the Western Province in the beginning of December this year was an eye opener for me and my co-worker Sabi Auwo. Flying into three remote airstrips in Western Province (Debepari, Fuma and Mougulu) via MAF to deliver fuel on the 09th December 2015 was quite an experience. My trip to these three airstrips was because the program’s mechanic Sabi was not feeling well on that day. So I took that opportunity to actually fly into those airstrips in which I have heard so much about from the other project officers who went there for the fuel and maintenance trips.

Ten minutes after the plane left Kiunga Airport, I peeped out of the window of the small MAF (Caravan) plane to get a glimpse of the landscape below. A mesmerising horizon of vast, green and swampy vegetation with endless canopies of trees came clear and the rising smoke from the gardens fires was the only indication of human habitation. 

It was roughly after 20 minutes when the first airstrip (Debepari) came to view. As the plane landed and came to a halt, I realised that there were quite a number of people from the nearby villages of the airstrip who heard the sound of the plane and made their way to the parking area of the airstrip. When we touched down at the airstrip, Sibert the Airstrip Maintenance Volunteer (AMV) was already standing on the side of the airstrip with five empty 20 litre fuel containers. With the help of the two pilots and the AMVs plus the locals we filled the empty containers and while I did the lawn mower inspection. After spending 40 minutes on ground we flew off to the next airstrip which was Fuma. 

Flying to Fuma from Debepari took about 15 minutes. Again we were greeted by a group of young people, especially kids. Just seeing their smiling faces reminded me that no matter how disadvantaged these kids are, they are content with what they have. But evidently they are missing out on a lot of real tangible government services since their villages are not linked by road.

 After we were done with fuel delivery in Fuma, we flew to Mougulu which is much more developed than the other two airstrips. In each of the three airstrips we took approximately about 40 minutes on the ground and then flew back to Kiunga at around 2pm. 

In all the three airstrips that we flew into, we were greeted by people especially, kids from the surrounding villages that came to the airstrip upon hearing the sound of the plane. They came not because they were expecting a visitor or a cargo but upon hearing the sound of the plane which is their only means of transportation in the area.  

The smiling faces of the people that I came across in these airstrips made me feel satisfied of the little things I do in my career, especially knowing that my input in this program is making a huge impact on the lives of these people. 

It is only through maintaining these airstrips that the locals in this part of the country are able to see some form basic government services in their area. When these airstrips are maintained planes are able to land to do medivac’s, fly in school supplies, medical supplies and teachers and health officers into these remote locations. Thanks to the Rural Airstrips Agency (RAA) and its partner ATprojects for ensuring that these airstrips are maintained on a regular basis for planes to land.



Posted December 31, 2015 by atprojectsblogs in iRAMP Programme


The operation of airstrips in remote areas is vital as they act as gateways for people in these communities to have access to basic government services. According to ATprojects’ Technical Officer, Alphonse Waim who has been travelling into these remote areas in Western, Enga and Jiwaka Provinces on fuel and maintenance trips under the Innovative Rural Airstrip Maintenance Program [iRAMP], life is quite tough for people living among the mountainous in these Provinces.

“Only those people that live near the airstrips see some form of basic services such as health and education, while others have to walk for many miles or even days, to reach the nearest airstrip to receive these services,” Mr Waim said. On a recent trip to Enga and Jiwaka Provinces, Mr Waim saw three people being medivaced to the nearest hospital as the aid posts in their area either had no drugs or their condition were too severe to be handled in their local health facilities.

“One important aspect of the project is that on nearly all the refuelling trips, charters under the iRAMP program are used to medivac sick people, especially women who are going through labour complications ,” he said. “Medivacing sick people is a very expensive exercise but the people living in these isolated villages are left with no option so they have to sacrifice the little money they have to send their relatives for medical treatment, “ he added.

Mr Waim said his trips to these remote areas which are covered by the iRAMP program makes him realise how fortunate he is to come from a village where his people have access to health and education services at their door step. He said the topography of some of the places where the airstrips are located is often too risky for smaller planes to land, however, the sacrifices of the pilots who risk their lives on a daily basis shows how dedicated they are to serve the people in these remote areas.

iRAMP is just one part of the program being developed by the Rural Airstrips Agency through the support of the National Government of Papua New Guinea.


Posted October 12, 2015 by atprojectsblogs in iRAMP Programme


The inclusion of five more airstrips in Enga Province under the Innovative Rural Airstrips Maintenance Program [IRAMP] brings the total number of airstrips to 22. This program is funded by the Rural Airstrips Agency [RAA] through the National and Provincial Governments. The new airstrips in Enga are Yangis, Elem, Iropeno, Lapolama and Maramuni.

The addition of these airstrips follows a community consultation and signing of contracts between RAA, through ATprojects its service provider and the communities around the airstrip areas.

ATprojects iRAMP Senior Project Officer John Nekints conducted a two days consultation in these airstrips. Mr Nekints says nearly all the five airstrips in Enga are in dire need of constant maintenance as tall grass are growing on the runway.

ATprojects Senior Project Officer for iRAMP John Nekints conducting  Community Consultation at Yangis airstrip in Enga Province

ATprojects Senior Project Officer for iRAMP John Nekints conducting Community Consultation at Yangis airstrip in Enga Province

He says the local communities in these airstrips are very happy with the iRAMP program as services in these parts of Enga province are only accessible by air.

He also says the iRAMP program is helping the owners and operators of each airstrip who from the past had struggled to maintain their airstrips and the general public.

Mr Nekints during his consultation in Maramuni airstrip also witnessed a case where a woman who was having labour complications for two days had to be medivaced to Mt. Hagen.

“When I asked the AMVs what could have happened if there was no plane on the ground that day and they all replied that the lady and her baby would die.”

Meanwhile after the community consultations in the five airstrips each airstrip appointed two Airstrip Maintenance Volunteers [AMVs] for the daily up keep of their respective airstrips.

ATprojects Mechanic Alphonse Waim training the AMVs from Enga and Girabem airestip in Jiwaka on the use of heavy duty lawn mowers.

ATprojects Mechanic Alphonse Waim training the AMVs from Enga and Girabem airestip in Jiwaka on the use of heavy duty lawn mowers.

Heavy Lawn mowers assembled at ATprojects Centre in Goroka before being transported to Mt Hagen and then being flow via MAF to airstrip in Enga Province.

Heavy Lawn mowers assembled at ATprojects Centre in Goroka before being transported to Mt Hagen and then being flow via MAF to airstrip in Enga Province.

The AMVs were flown to Mt. Hagen and then transported to ATprojects Centre in Goroka of the Eastern Highlands Province for further practical training on the use of heavy duty lawn mowers.

According to ATprojects Mechanic and Technical Officer Alphonse Waim the AMVs were trained on the use of the lawn mowers and its parts, mobile phone communication and identification of weather patterns.

Upon the completion of the training each airstrip was given a lawn mower for grass cutting, mobile phone hooked up to Close User Group for daily communication and primarily for sending in strip reports and solar panels for charging their mobile phones.[Source: ATprojects Media Unit]

Posted April 1, 2015 by atprojectsblogs in iRAMP Programme

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Having access to basic government services such as health and education on regular basis had always been a problem for the people of Jimi electorate in the Jiwaka province.

Though most of the villages are accessible by road and air, during the rainy season most of the roads become impassable making it hard for people to access government services. The airstrips are also not maintained to the standard where smaller planes can land safely.

To ease some of these challenges faced by the locals Rural Airstrip Agency [RAA] under its Innovative Rural Airstrip Maintenance Program [iRAMP] in partnership with ATprojects have started community consultations with the locals in Jimi to maintain four of the proposed five airstrips in the province.

The four airstrips in which RAA through ATprojects will carry out its maintenance on are Amblua, Kol, Koinambe, and Tsandiap with Giramben in the North Waghi electorate.

ATprojects Senior program officer for iRAMP Mr. John Nekints recently went on a two days community consultation trip to Jiwaka province to meet with community leaders.

Mr Nekints says nearly all the airstrips in the area are in dire need of maintenance as there are tall grasses growing on them making it difficult for smaller planes to land.

He says after the inclusion of the five airstrips in Jiwaka Province this will bring a total number of airstrips under the iRAMP program to 17. The other 12 airstrips are in Western Province.

Eight Airstrip Maintenance Volunteers [AMVs] from the four airstrips in Jimi travelled to ATprojects Centre in Goroka where they were equipped with skills to handle the heavy duty lawn mowers and mobile phones to collect airstrip reports on a daily basis.

After the training each airstrip is expected to receive a heavy duty lawn mower to maintain the airstrips on regular basis. The province to receive assistance for RAA will be Enga Province.

Airstrip Province Percentage of Days Airstrips Open[Jan/Aug 2014]
Hesalibi Western 100%
Honinabi Western 100%
Wawoi Falls Western 100%
Lake Campbell Western 100%
Fuma Western 100%
Mougulu Western 100%
Yehebi Western 100%
Debepari Western 100%
Gubam Western 100%
Kiriwo Western 100%
Kondobol Western 100%
Kapal Western 100%
Airstrip Province Percentage of Daily Report Received by iRAMP[December 2014]
Hesalibi Western 100%
Honinabi Western 19%
Wawoi Falls Western 95%
Lake Campbell Western 67%
Fuma Western 90%
Mougulu Western 100%
Yehebi Western 86%
Debepari Western 100%
Gubam Western 100%
Kiriwo Western 38%
Kondobol Western 95%
Kapal Western 100%

It should be noted that a number of the airstrips do not have access to a Digicel signs and therefore we rely on HF radio which can be problematic in these remote rural areas. However, the program is receiving great support for other volunteers located at other airstrips who are passing on information to our program staff. And here we would like to make a special mention of iRAMP staff who start contacting these rural airstrips at 6.00am every morning.

Posted February 6, 2015 by atprojectsblogs in iRAMP Programme

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(Right to Left) John Brombley and Steve Layton at the ATprojects Centre

(Right to Left) John Brombley and Steve Layton at the ATprojects Centre

Rural airstrip maintenance, development and rehabilitation exercises are expected to begin later this month.
 This follows a consultative meeting by the Rural Airstrip Agency [RAA] with stakeholders from the government, airline services and other interested organisations in January in Mt. Hagen.
 The meeting discussed possible provinces for RAA to work in, with Western Highlands, Enga, Madang and East Sepik contending.
 While RAA is still to officially confirm which airstrips in what provinces to start on, RAA manager John Bromley says it’s “so far so good’’ with about half the earmarked K6 million from the national government through the Transport Department having been released since early January.
  Mr Bromley, also the Mission Aviation Fellowship [MAF] rural airstrip development officer based with MAF International in Cairns Australia, was in Goroka to visit ATprojects, a locally run NGO that is managing and implementing a similar maintenance program for rural airstrips in the Western Province called iRAMP (integrated rural airstrip maintenance project).
 Mr Bromley said his role as the MAF rural airstrip development manager was to work with aircraft operators and the PNG Government to establish a new organisation separate from MAF, called Rural Airstrip Agency of PNG Limited.
 Mr Bromley said: “This organisation is to restore and maintain rural airstrips across the country .
 “iRAMP is a model that we want to see rolled out across the rest of the country to solve the maintenance issue of rural airstrips.
 “What will happen now is that the Rural Airstrip Agency, provided it gets funding, will take on the iRAMP program and will help to fund that program for the Western Province with the current operating strips on that program.”
 Meanwhile ATprojects co-director Steve Layton praised the efforts of those involved in the iRAMP program stating that the program was important in saving lives of many people in rural areas since they depend heavily on air transport for essential medical and health services.
 ATprojects, through its various projects in these kinds of services, can provide such services while assisting with the rural airstrip maintenance and restoration project.


By Joshua Arlo on Friday 07/03/2014


Airstrip maintenance volunteers (AMVs) fixing a lawn mower at one of the new airstrips

Airstrip maintenance volunteers (AMVs) fixing a lawn mower at one of the new airstrips

Four rural communities in the Western Province are now able to properly maintain their airstrips in order to keep them operational and open to allow in plane services.
The communities are Gubam, Kiriwo, Kondabol and Kapal in the South Fly area who recently signed agreements with ATprojects, a locally based NGO in Goroka, to assist them to maintain their airstrips.
ATprojects co-director Steve Layton says this makes a total of 12 rural communities maintaining their airstrips under the integrated rural airstrip maintenance project (iRAMP) program managed by ATprojects.
The iRAMP program officially began operations in March 2013 with the support of the PNG Sustainable Development Program [PNG-SDP] and the Fly provincial government, and technical help  from Mission Aviation Fellowship [MAF], the only third-level airline service to operate in rural airstrips around the country.
Since early this year the national government support through the Rural Airstrip Agency [RAA] has taken over with its renewed focus on maintaining, developing and rehabilitating rural airstrips throughout the country with implementation of the iRAMP program by ATprojects.
Technical assistance given by ATprojects include training and equipment given to paid local airstrip maintenance volunteers appointed by their communities following community consultations.
Each of the iRAMP operating strips are given heavy duty lawn mowers and fuel supply to cut the strip grass; installing of solar powered mobile phones for communication purposes and how to give aerodrome reports for their airstrips using the MAF flight and weather reporting system.
ATprojects now is manufacturing airstrip cone markers and soon, weather wind-socks to be installed at the airstrips as most need them to ensure planes land and take-off safely.


By Joshua Arlo on Friday 07/03/2014

IRAMP: IT’S TEAMWORK!   Leave a comment

iRAMP officers John Nekints and Alphonse Waim meet with RAA government & donor liaison officer Winsome Nenewa.

iRAMP officers John Nekints and Alphonse Waim meet with RAA government & donor liaison officer Winsome Nenewa.


“Teamwork is the main ingredient of what is making the iRAMP program successful so far.”

These are the words of iRAMP officer John Nekints who came back impressed from the third refueling exercise in Western Province for 2014, and the fourth since the program began in 2013.

Accompanying him was technical officer Alphonse Waim who commented on how organised the iRAMP airstrip maintenance volunteers [AMV’s] are now with their commitment in ensuring their airstrips are maintained by keeping the airstrip grass cut and clean.

This refueling exercise took place between August 16th and August 23rd.

Despite heavy rains experienced in Kiunga and in the Middle Flyareas, technical officer braved ahead on MAF to do refueling. Middle Fly includes Lake Campbell, Waiwoi Falls, Fuma and Hesalibi.

Alphonse has been conducting most of the maintenance and refuelling exercises in the Western Province iRAMP program.

He said people on ground have compared previous but similar roll-out maintenance programs, but iRAMP’s success is constant monitoring and provision of continuous backup services.

Alphonse said: “Once the mower is not working, it just sits there. With iRAMP, back up services are carried out every three months. The other thing is that the AMV’s have their tools provided by iRAMP to do their own maintenance.”

“Like in Mougulu, I brought in the starter assembly, and just watched the AMV installing it in.”

“It shows that the initial trainings that the previous iRAMP manager David Faunt, and I conducted following signed agreements for participating under the program, have really paid off,” Alphonse said.

The last refuelling exercise for Western Province is expected in November this year.

| Source: ATprojects Media Unit, August 29th, 2014