We are pleased to present the Rara-Rarei Foundation with one hundred and fifty copies of the book Kuna Siuwai Pokong (Medicinal Plants from Siwai) for delivery to schools in Siwai, South Bougainville. The book details over thirty traditional medicinal plants with their healing properties and cultural values.
The book is an outcome of a five-year project initiated by Chief Alex Dawia, Taa Lupumoiku Clan, and his desire for tacit traditional medicinal knowledge to be codified through photographic exhibitions and a book. Dawia invited Ms Kate Robertson, an Australian photographic artist, to Siwai to undertake the photographic recordings. Shortly after, Chief Jeffrey Noro, Rura Clan, joined the project motivated by his desire to contribute to a project that could provide positive community outcomes.
The book prioritises local Motuna language throughout since language and plant knowledge are inextricably linked in the Siwai culture. Colour has been used throughout to encourage youth to engage with their culture and language. Book copies are sold internationally, with proceeds already successfully purchasing a much needed water tank for the village in which the photographic recordings were undertaken. Additional proceeds will fund the next book project.
Robertson and Noro presented book copies to Mr Richard Rowaro, Founding Director of Rara-Rarei Foundation. The foundation is committed to increasing literacy levels through delivering books, building libraries and teaching librarian skills throughout Siwai.
The Kainake Project published the book in September 2018, as part of their commitment to strengthening traditional governance systems for cultural preservation and local empowerment. The book printing is financially supported by the UNDP through its small grants program.