Japan contributes USD 1.9 million to improve conditions for women market vendors in Papua New Guinea

Date: Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Japan contributes USD 1.9 million to improve conditions for women market vendors in Papua New Guinea

[Press release]

Wewak Market. Photo: UN Women
Wewak Market. Photo: UN Women

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea — UN Women has received a funding contribution of USD1.9 million from the Japanese government to strengthen its work in three markets in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The funding focuses on improving market infrastructure and access to finance for market vendors in Tari, Wewak and Alotau. The project, titled “Securing women’s livelihoods during COVID 19 = Prevention, Response and Recovery,” is expected to be completed in one year.

Since the emergence of the pandemic in March 2020, COVID-19 has devastated the livelihoods of many families in PNG. Workers in the informal economy have seen household income drop by more than 82 per cent, according a UN Women rapid assessment. Most women are economically active in the production of food or the trading of goods, with the main points of exchange being markets. Market vendors reported more than 51-per-cent decreases in daily earnings following the introduction of state-of-emergency measures in 2020.

“UN Women appreciates the growing support towards improving the working conditions in markets across the country,” said Caroline Nyamayemombe, Deputy Country Representative for UN Women in PNG. “Women make up more than 60 per cent of market vendors, making them the main beneficiary of these improvements to market infrastructure, governance, and security arrangements.”

“This generous support from Japan is very timely as it comes when Papua New Guinea is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19. This funding complements existing support from the governments of Australia, New Zealand and the European Union, allowing UN Women to undertake interventions to stop further regression in the empowerment of women in Papua New Guinea.”

Japanese Ambassador Kuniyuki Nakahara said “the market is the centre of the local economy, and many women are involved in its operation.”

“Since many people gather in the market, the role of women working there is the key to preventing the spread of infection of COVID19. It is very significant for the Japanese Embassy to be able to collaborate again with UN Women on this project.”

The Wewak market was originally constructed through the support of the Japanese Government and now requires upgrades. In Tari, UN Women is partnering with the Provincial Government to build a new market. The local governor has contributed USD 583,000 towards the construction of the market and a further USD 670,000 has now been provided by Japan.

“These markets need improvements to their sanitation, access to clean water facilities, and security, making them Covid-19 safer,” Nyamayemombe said. “UN Women will mobilize women users to influence the market design and provide technical input to ensure market infrastructure that meets the specific needs of women vendors and complies with COVID control regulations.”

In Alotau, Japan recently completed the construction of a new market. With support from the Australian Government, UN Women has supported market governance systems in this new market. Through the latest support from Japan, women will receive training in various new trades, improving their recovery and resilience.

Additionally, a revolving fund will be provided in all three sites, enabling both women and men to access finance to catalyse recovery from the impact of Covid-19. UN Women will collaborate with the UN Capital Development Fund and Women’s Microbank to provide financial literacy and promote the use of digital financing tools. This is expected to ensure high repayment rates, thereby allowing more market vendors to benefit from the revolving fund in the future.

For more information contact:

Brenda Andrias
Safe and Prosperous Districts Programme Manager, UN Women
Email: brenda.andrias@unwomen.org

Kenichi Tanimoto
Economic Cooperation Division, Embassy of Japan in PNG
TEL: +675-321-1800 | Email: kenichi.tanimoto@mofa.go.jp