During a 2015 visit to Papua New Guinea ABV CEO Sarah O’Connor was waiting in the Port Moresby airport departure lounge when another passenger noticed her ABV papers. Mr Tuem Narawec introduced himself as a former participant in a ‘YES’ program. YES (Your Enterprise Scheme) is an SME mentoring model designed and delivered by ABV. The standard YES model consists of a month-long group coaching program implemented by two volunteers drawn from ABV’s registry of senior business professionals and small business owners, and combines business skills workshops with individual mentoring. Like all of ABV’s programs each individual YES program is customised in collaboration with local partners to ensure that it is needs-based and community driven.
Mr Narawec, who advised that he was founding director of the Bawii Community Learning Centre in Jiwaka Province, completed a YES program in 2009, and even after six years was enthusiastic about the experience. In a follow-up phone call Mr Narawec was unequivocal – “the YES program was one of the factors which have helped make the Bawii Community Learning Centre a success”.
Mr Nawawec, a teacher by profession began working on a project to deliver school programs to his local community in 2006. The following year the Bawii Community Learning Centre received its first intake of elementary students, and in 2008 welcomed its first high school students.
The Learning Centre, which is funded through fees, was meeting a community need, but running an increasingly complex organisation required more than teaching skills. Aware of its business skills focus, when Mr Narawec discovered ABV was running a YES program in the nearby town of Mount Hagen he jumped at the opportunity.
“The coaching in book-keeping, cash-flow, budgeting and management strategies have all been extremely helpful” says Mr Narawec.
“It was also very useful to be able to consult the YES training manual over the years to help deal with particular business management issues”.
Following his participation in the YES program the school was visited by ABV volunteers Frank Kitchen and Kathleen Warren who mentored staff and helped with the early learning and high school curriculums.
From humble beginnings the Bawii Community Learning Centre is now an education leader in the region. “In 2007 we had an intake of 30 elementary students and we now have around 200 per year”. “It is the same with the high school, it originally had 20 students but it now has 150”.
Mr Narawec speaks passionately about the education students have received and how these students have gone on to make a difference to their community. He is also proud to point out that other schools now compare themselves to the Learning Centre, and argues that by creating competition it is raising the standard of education in the whole region.
Mr Narawec says he would recommend the YES program to anyone who wants to grow and better understand their business. “In fact I would be interested in doing another program to brush up on what I learned!”
“The knowledge and skills I gained from YES really helped me to advance the Learning Centre.” “It provided a platform of abilities that we could build on.”