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Oil Search Foundation (OSF) Scholarships Program has encouraged Papua New Guineans to drive change in their lives and their communities.

Twenty-five recipients spread across six tertiary institutions across PNG will use new leadership skills to pursue careers in business, education and health. These students recently graduated from a course in leadership training run by the local youth development organisation, The Voice Inc. Building leadership skills is a defining component of OSF Scholarship Program and the Australian Government’s PNG Partnership Fund (PPF) that is supporting scholarships in Hela Province through OSF.

“We’re not about just giving people the opportunity to be great midwives or doctors or nurses,” says OSF’s Scholarship & Leadership Program Manager, Karlyne Pukaikia, “though of course we all expect that they will be.”

We’re also about giving these students the opportunity to make a difference in their community and be a force for good in all that they do.
- Karlyne Pukaikia OSF’s Scholarship & Leadership Program Manager

“To be a recipient of our scholarships, a student needs more than good grades. They need to have good values, a strong sense of purpose, a certain amount of confidence and the respect of their peers. They must have what it takes to be a leader.”

“And after seeing some of the things that they’ve accomplished this year, I have to say: PNG has some great leaders who are ready to drive change!”

Pukaikia is referring to the success of the various leadership assignments which all 25 scholarship recipients recently produced. After the classroom component of the course wrapped up in July, The Voice Inc tasked each student to identify an issue of concern to the community and find a solution. In other words, to get out and show leadership, rather than just talk, write or think about it.

“This leadership program has made a big difference in my life,” says Ninde Kange, a midwifery student at the Lutheran School of Nursing. “I did not realize it at first, but after I completed my assignment, I understood that the training empowered me to take effective leadership measures, and to stand firm and focused on accomplishing our goals, despite challenges.”

Among the many other leadership assignments worth mentioning, the students were able to build a much-needed toilet for female students at Rumginae Community Health Worker Training School.

The Lutheran School of Nursing now has its first ever incinerator, and at UPNG’s Medical School, stray dogs can no longer tip rubbish bins over thanks to a new wheelie-bin lock and stand.

The scholarship winners also raised awareness of sexual harassment at the University of Goroka, and conducted a leadership course of their own at Pacific Adventist University.

“The opportunities offered by OSF to attend leadership training is the perfect platform to further develop one’s leadership abilities,” says Aidan Papaol, a medical student at University of Papua New Guinea.

On behalf of the Oil Search Foundation Scholarship Recipients of 2019, we would like to sincerely thank OSF for all that they have done to holistically support us the students by providing financial assistance towards our school fees and also for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be trained in leadership skills and techniques. We thank OSF also for supporting our leadership challenge
- Aidan Papaol medical student at University of Papua New Guinea