The friendship of these two little girls, Frida to the left and Yasmin to the right in both pictures, led to the idea of Buk bilong Pikinini.


The history behind the establishment of Buk bilong Pikinini              

Buk bilong Pikinini receives numerous phone calls and emails every year from people who either live or have worked/lived in Papua New Guinea and who "want to do something". So how did we manage to do this? Is there a recipe or some guidelines that we may be able to offer? 

By Anne-Sophie Hermann

Buk bilong Pikinini is a great example of people from all walks of life working together to achieve what Buk bilong Pikinini is currently able to provide for the children of Papua New Guinea. While I have not provided any guidelines for how to put a successful project together you may feel inspired to create your own project or choose to support Buk bilong Pikinini in its efforts to continue to provide high quality children's libraries across PNG.

When I first arrived in Papua New Guinea, I had just had a baby and finished my degree in International Relations at the ANU. As part of this degree I studied at the ANU School of Pacific Studies and was greatly fascinated with our readings and discussions about PNG - however once on the ground I felt totally unprepared for the the hardship of everyday life which is the reality for most Papua New Guineans. Women and children in particular seem to be totally disadvantaged. Having had a child who was a bookworm before she could walk I started enquiring about libraries and where good books could be found for children. What I learned shocked me into action. 

When Papua New Guinea gained independence from Australia in 1975, there were a number of fully functioning libraries across the country, book shops and a budding publishing industry. When my family arrived in Port Moresby in 2006, the National Library was under refurbishment thanks to an AusAID grant of 30 million dollars yet there were no public libraries and only one bookshop at the university. When I asked about books I learned that Rotary and other organisations have brought a large number of books to PNG but that they had not been used in the ailing public libraries. I therefore felt that the books needed to be not donated here and there as had previously been the case but made available to children within an organised framework.

As the wife of the Australian High Commissioner to PNG, I was fortunate to be part of many different groups and a great social network and met Anna Mujerkee, who was the wife of the then Unicef Country Representative to PNG. I mentioned my idea to Anna and that I had already started writing to publishers in Australia - Anna was straightaway interested and after extensive consultations and discussions with all our contacts in the community we held our first fundraising event. Anna had worked for a number of non government organisations in Africa, such as Save the Children and had great knowledge about getting organised to establish an organisation and we were gradually joined by other professional expatriate women who were just as passionate about the idea as ourselves.  

The idea of establishing a library was clear but we had to find out where to put the first one, since the need is so great everywhere in the country. We decided to work on a scale of need and to put the library where we thought the children would most need it. The choice of establishing a library in a corner of the Children's HIV, Tuberculosis and Malnutrition ward was made possible by a most inspirational doctor by the name of John Vince - who was able to persuade the hospital administration that the library would be beneficial for doctors, nurses and patients alike.

To be continued ... more coming soon!







Former Executive Officers:

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Ali Nott

Joanne Grenenger

Luke Ebbs


Current Executive Officer

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Staff in Pictures

All Buk bilong Pikinini libraries have a minimum of two Teacher-Librarians as well as a guard/handyman. Our staff take great pride in the work that they do with the children and are highly regarded by the parents and the community in which the libraries are established. Our Teacher-Librarians are trained to conduct a Literacy, Numeracy and Awareness programme with a syllabus especially developed for PNG children. The programme is carried out every day in all the libraries and attract a VERY large number of children.  

Staff profiles

pictures coming shortly

Beverlynne Wangillen, Community Development Coordinator

Beverlynne graduated from University of Papua New Guinea with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Social Work. My background is Community Development.

This is her journey with BbP:

"I joined BbP in June 2012. In November 2012, I moved into my role as Regional Program Manager.

Two main functions of this role was to ensure the building and establishment of new libraries outside of Port Moresby ( Lae, Goroka and Manus) and facilitate the implementation of BbP's ECD programs in BbP's regional libraries. Since 2012 the regional expansion program witnessed the opening of 3 libraries, 1 each at Lae Unitech, Goroka UOG and Lorengau, Manus.

With achievements, there were also challenges. Managing 5 libraries out of Port Moresby was a major challenge. As an NGO, not everything came on a silver platter but we had to make the best of what resources we have available. Much of the ongoing operation of our regional libraries is owed to sheer staff determination, commitment and excellent community support.

Towards the end of October, I will move into my new role with BbP as Community Development Coordinator. In this role, I will manage enrolments in all libraries, ensure safety for all libraries, implement BbP's M&E framework and establish and maintain community support and involvement in BbP's programs. I am excited and look forward to achieving more for BbP. Thank you to all regional staff for your support in ensuring the continuation of the regional management program."



Elizabeth Omeri, Literacy and Cross Cutting Issues Coordinator

Elizabeth has been working for Buk bilong Pikinini since 2010. She started as an Assistant Librarian at our Lawes Road library in Port Moresby, took a break to do missionary work and started working at our Head Office in 2011. 

Elizabeth's current role covers a very ambitious variety of responsibilities and will see Buk bilong Pikinini constantly improve our Literacy, Numeracy and Awareness programme and focus on networking to put Early Childhood Development ECD on the agenda in Papua New Guinea.

At the end of each year, Elizabeth and the literacy team, decide what next year's training, literacy, numeracy and awareness programme should look like and establishes our programme. The literacy and numeracy programme has been especially developed to suit the needs and literacy levels of PNG children and our syllabus becomes more targeted every year. 2012 saw the introduction of Jolly Phonics which has been a great success with the children and has been a vital component in their ability to read independently. 2013 has seen the team introduce Building Blocks which focuses on the 4 most important aspects of literacy; decoding, comprehension,Pre-reading and Pre-writing . 

In order to improve the BbP Awareness programme Elizabeth works closely with partners, government bodies, stakeholders and invite experts for the yearly awareness program to do presentations or plan and organise programs to address these issues in BbP libraries.

Buk bilong Pikinini has a high focus on staff training and Elizabeth and the literacy team plan and organise both internal and external workshops /trainings for BbP staff to attend throughout the year. This is to increase our staffs knowledge and understanding of cross cutting issues for implementation in the libraries. Vital issues such as; Child rights, HIV/AIDS, gender equality, climate change, tuberculosis are covered.

In order to share what the children have learnt with the community and donors BbP organises Special Events promoting awareness and understanding on cross cutting issues successfully run at the libraries. Elizabeth makes sure that all the pictures from our Special Events get uploaded on to our facebook page so people can see all the different types of activities/events that take place in BbP libraries.We also invite the media representatives to attend and do stories on our events.

One aspect in which Elizabeth excels is advocacy.BbP works with partners, stakeholders, NGOS, CSOs towards the promotion of Early Childhood Development in PNG. Elizabeth advocates on ECCE to be recognised and included in the national curriculum and builds partnerships and membership of bodies/alliances working towards ECD policy implementation and improvement. Elizabeth is also the Vice Chair of PEAN (PNG Education Advocacy Network) advocating for the rights of ECD to be included in all manner of planning within the national education level.

BbP wishes to thank Elizabeth for her great contribution!

More staff profiles coming soon.