Insti Village in the rural LLG of Umi-Atzera has built its own road, built its elementary and primary school and built modern houses to align with the “smart village” concept.
Insti Village is more than 2 hours drive from Lae town and Mutzing station.
At Umi Market, locals have cleared their own road across the Umi River, veering right towards Insti – another 20-minute drive for those in vehicles.
Insti villagers have a different mindset; they work towards their goals instead of waiting for their elected representatives.
Community leader and facilitator of the smart village concept, Alex Watson, explained that on April 17and, 2019, Insti was declared a “healthy village” by the health department. When the provincial government came on board, the name was changed to Modern Village and later to “Smart Village” by the Ministry of National Planning.
Ten permanent homes have been built since 2018 using their own resources, setting them on a path to realizing the smart village concept, which also aligns with PNG’s 2050 Vision of becoming a “smart, wise, fair, healthy and happy by 2050”.
Apart from building modern houses, Watson said the villagers had established their own road network and built their elementary and primary school.
“And in 2013 the school was registered,” he said. “After completing all the infrastructure – self-sufficiently – the school was registered and now the school is subsidized by the government. After that they moved into the community.
“We believe that by setting up the community properly, it will pave the way for the next generation to have a proper education. And we believe that education begins at home. That’s why we’re focusing on families having a permanent home – sitting in a block – and every man should have a space to build a home.
The village has already been mapped in the various areas of health, education and basic government services, while the villagers have undergone a number of vocational trainings, starting with personal sustainability and financial literacy.
“BSP was there,” said the host. “Everyone you see here has a bank account and they’ve been saving money for their own benefit.”
“After that, we plan for everyone to have their own house, so now we are focusing on building houses.”
Because of their ingenuity, Markham MP Koni Iguan bolstered their smart village efforts with the gift of a sawmill to cut their timber, a catwalk and an SME truck.
The projects were opened yesterday at the Insti.
(One of the model houses in the village of Insti, Markham district)