SDG Champions return from successful Bougainville mission

Aug 1, 2017

Dapera Primary school and community in Pangu with the Champions of the Sustainable Development Goals during the SDG awareness in Arawa, Autonomous Region of Bougainville. ©Kim, Allen/UNDP (PNG)

Buka, 1 August 2017Elite Papua New Guinea athletes on their first mission to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB) have achieved great success in the region's communities and schools.

The recently crowned SDG Champions visited AROB on a four day trip from 27 - 31 July 2017 and were warmly welcomed by staff and students at Hutjena Secondary School in Buka, Tupukas and Peter Lahis Primary schools in Arawa and Dapera Primary School in Panguna. The Champions spoke to the students and did media interviews to highlight their roles as sports and youth ambassodors.

The SDG Champions, including former Papua New Guinea (PNG) Cricket Captain Christopher Amini, Shooter Tania Mairi Mahuru and PNG Netball Captain Lua Rikis, attended the Bougainville Community Rugby Festival and were accompanied by both male and female rugby captains from the Bougainville Rugby Union Club (BRUC) in a joint mission to raise awareness of the SDGs and Peace.

Former PNG Cricket Captain Christopher Amini said: "This is the first time we’ve traveled out of Port Moresby to share our experience in sports and advocate for the SDGs. I have learnt from this trip that there is a lot of work  to be done in our country to improve the awareness of the SDGs amongst our people especially students, youth in communities and in rural areas.”

PNG Netball Captain Lua Rikis said: "As sports people, we have the potential to influence a lot of people, not just our own families, but in communities too. We have the responsibility to raise awareness on the Sustainable Development Goals that affect all of us. This my way of giving back to the community and be involved in the SDGs."

The rugby captains from the Bougainville Rugby Union teams recieved training from the SDG Champions in Arawa to support them to carry on the awareness in the schools and communities as part of an initiative to advocate for peace, prosperity and sustainable development in the region.

Bougainville Rugby Development Manager Kelly Havara said: “We are thankful to the Autonomous Bougainville Government and UNDP for their support in bringing the athletes speak to us. This is a huge step forward for us and we will continue from now on to reach out in our awareness programmes in the region."

UNDP Governance Analyst Kia-Henry Nema said: "UNDP is greatful for its ongoing partnership with the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) that supported the Community Rugby Festival in Awara. It brought young people from North, South and Central Bougaivnille together and showcased lots of raw rugby talent. We’re also thankful to the PNG Olympic Committee for working with us to make the SDG Champions available.”

The SDG awareness programme is supported by UNDPs Peace Building Fund, through its partnership with the ABG and the PNG Olympic Committee.

The SDGs outline 17 Goals with 169 targets to be achieved in the next 15 years and build on the Millennium Development Goals that ended in 2015. PNG is one of 192 Member States of the United Nations that adopted the SDGs in 2015.  More information is available  at:

Contact information

Kim Allen, UNDP Communications, +675 7139 3886,

Andrew Molen, PNG Olympic Committtee Public Relations Officer, +675 323 1411,

Former PNG’s Cricket Captain and SDG Ambassador for Goal 4: Quality Education is Christoper Amini with Gogohe Marist Under-20s men’s division team. ©Kim, Allen/UNDP (PNG)
PNG Netball Captain Lua Rikis (blue) and Shooter Tania Mairi Mahuru (red) with the Hangan Pirates Rugby 7s Women Division team with their coach. ©Kim, Allen/UNDP (PNG)
: PNG Shooter Tania Mairi Mahuru (centre) is among the Botu men’s division team (Rugby 7s) who spoke to them about the importance of gender and equality at home, in school and at work. ©Kim, Allen/UNDP (PNG)
PNG athletes and Ambassadors of the Sustainable Development Goals present the XV Pacific Games Picture book to PNG Hutjena Secoundary School (HSS) Head Mistress Lucy Oata. (L-R) Shooter Tania Mairi Mahuru, former PNG Cricket Captain Christopher Amini , PNG Netball Captain Lua Rikis, Head Mistress Lucy Oata for HSS and UNDPs Governance Analyst Kia-Henry Nema. ©Kim, Allen/UNDP (PNG)

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