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Kokoda Track Foundation

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2013, Click to Enter The 2014 Steve Awards for Women in Business

Company: Kokoda Track Foundation, Sydney, Australia
Company Description: The Kokoda Track Foundation is an Australian philanthropic organisation which aims to repay the selfless help given to Australia during WWII by the ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ of Papua New Guinea by helping to improve the lives and futures of their descendants. It supports 40 communities in the vital areas of education, health, community development and microbusiness - lifting communities out of poverty.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Asia, Australia or New Zealand

Nomination Title: Genevieve Nelson, Executive Director

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated entrepreneur since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words):

As a co-founder and now executive director of the not-for-profit organization, the Kokoda Track Foundation, Genevieve has dedicated her life to helping people living in Papua New Guinea. The Foundation runs programs in the vital areas of education, health, community development and microbusiness in over 40 communities throughout the Kokoda Track region in PNG.

Over the past 12-months in particular, Genevieve has grown the organization from 3 to 5 full-time employees in Australia and from 20 to 33 employees in PNG. Genevieve sources all of the organization’s funds from corporate and philanthropic partnerships and by harnessing the goodwill of the Australian people. The Foundation chooses not to rely on Government funding making the organization far more effective and efficient in its operations and ability to respond to needs as they arise.

Over the past 12-months, Genevieve and the Foundation have awarded 320 scholarships to children living in remote, rural areas in PNG enabling them to get an education they otherwise would not have. This takes the number of scholarships the Foundation has awarded over the past decade to over 1,400. The Foundation has also provided 40 elementary, primary and high schools with educational resources, curriculum materials, teacher resources, and stationery they need to operate - in many cases these are the only resources schools receive throughout the year.

Over the past 12-months, under Genevieve's leadership, the Foundation has built 4 new classrooms along the Kokoda Track - in very remote locations - supported 25 teachers and 10 community health workers to operate the schools and aid posts along the Track; trained over 60 elementary and primary teachers and 14 community health workers for the region; delivered 4,500 solar lights to every adult living along the Track; and continued the Foundation's life-changing work in community development, agriculture and microbusiness in over 40 communities in the region.

This year, under Genevieve's guidance, the Foundation also embarked on its biggest initiative to date: the creation and construction of the Kokoda College. The College idea emerged out of the many frustrations we have had working within the existing health and education systems in PNG. Today, around 2-million children in PNG should be attending school; however 500,000 of these children cannot go to school because of the lack of teachers. Similar problems exist in healthcare with a severe shortage of professionals and millions missing out on primary healthcare across PNG. The Kokoda College is a state-of-the-art training facility based in a rural area that will train urgently needed elementary and primary teachers and community health workers. Over the past 12-months, Genevieve has lead her team to re-write the curriculum and syllabus for these courses and embark on the construction of the College which is taking place in October 2013. The College will accept its first intake of students in February 2014.

There have been numerous tangible outcomes of Genevieve's work in PNG - enrollment rates have doubled in our region, everyone has access to healthcare and girls attend school in the same ratio as boys; yet the need to still great and she is committed to improving the lives of Australia's nearest neighbors for the long run.

Provide a brief biography of the nominated entrepreneur (up to 125 words):

Genevieve is the co-founder and executive director of the Kokoda Track Foundation. Genevieve holds a doctorate in cross-cultural and educational psychology from the University of Western Sydney and is an expert in education in Papua New Guinea. She is an Adjunct Research Fellow with UWS and UTS as well as a psychologist. She has published extensively and presented at national and international conferences about her experience in PNG. Genevieve has walked the Kokoda Track 18 times and spends at least 2 months of every year living in the remote communities. Genevieve was a finalist in the 2013 Young Australian of the Year Awards and the 2012 Telstra Business Women's Awards. She also won the 2012 Silver Stevie Award for Young Female Entrepreneur of the Year.