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Benedicta Golu, 37, is teaching young women and children in Bougainville island in Papua New Guinea not only how to play soccer but also how to help keep peace in their communities. Golu, a former midfielder for the Bougainville team and now a certified coach, had attended a training UN Women organized in October 2021 on how to promote peacebuilding, human rights and gender rights.
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With funding from the Government of Australia, UN Women has trained a group of 14 journalists in Papua New Guinea on how to help promote gender equality and women in leadership, and prevent violence against women and girls during elections. Violence typically flares around elections in Papua New Guinea. Votes are currently being counted from this month’s general election.
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Helen Henao, a vendor at Alotau market in south-eastern Papua New Guinea, attended a financial literacy training given by UN Women, and she sees good days ahead. “The training opened our eyes to see opportunities for our businesses to grow,” she said. “With these skills, I see myself as a powerful businesswoman in the next five years.”
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About 100 people with disabilities from all provinces of Papua New Guinea gathered in Port Moresby to review the National Disability Policy (2015-2025), and some of them talked about the problems they still faced in their daily lives. The National Capital District Diff-Abilities Advocacy Agency, a non-government organization, organized the 27 June-1 July event with support and funding from UN Women and the Government of Australia.
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To help fix the acute gender disparity in national political leadership in Papua New Guinea, UN Women is supporting training of a second group of female local politicians so they can rise up in the ranks. Politicians of district and provincial governments are being trained at the Political Academy for Women, which UN Women started last December in partnership with the Pacific Institute of Leadership and Governance. The Governments of Australia and New Zealand fund the project.
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When the lockdown came, Periwanga, 39, had been doing tailoring and selling traditional meri blouses at the market for only a year after leaving her previous job as a teacher. “This was a brief period, but it really affected us,” she recalled. “Police was ever on standby to stop people from accessing the market. Customers were only allowed to buy from big shops.”
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UN Women developed COVID-19 guidelines for the safe houses and gave training on the guidelines to 117 workers providing services to survivors staying there. To ensure the availability of quality services, UN Women supplied 23 safe houses in 16 provinces with food vouchers, reusable face masks, personal protective equipment (PPE) and information technology equipment such as laptops and internet dongles. Rose Martins, 37, married for nine years and with three children, sought refuge at Salvation Army House of Hope in Port Moresby last August after a quarrel with her husband.
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On March 8, Papua New Guinea joined the rest of the world to mark International Women’s Day under the theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable future tomorrow.” With support from UN Women and its donors, several activities were organized across the country.
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Hundreds of women and men joined a march on the streets of Port Moresby to kickstart celebrations to mark International Women’s Day. The "Walk for life' event was officiated by Governor Powes Parkop and attended by country representatives and staff from the United Nations in Papua New Guinea. Other dignitaries were from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Australian High Commission.
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More than 100 civil society and human rights activists and members of faith-based organizations discussed with government and development partners this and other challenges of efforts to promote gender equality and human rights in Papua New Guinea. UN Women and the Consultative Implementation & Monitoring Council, a government agency, organized the 10 December forum with funding from the European Union-United Nations Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls. The main event was held at APEC Haus in Port Moresby, and satellite events in Lae, Goroka, Mount Hagen and Kokopo cities.
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Barbara Tanne is the president of Bougainville Women’s Federation (BWF) in Bougainville island in eastern Papua New Guinea. The federation is implementing a UN Women project to build the leadership skills of young women. In a late 2019 referendum, the people of Bougainville voted overwhelmingly for independence. [Q] How are gender stereotypes affecting young women in taking leadership positions in PNG? [A] People have held strong negative views about women’s leadership, that “women cannot be leaders, women can’t be the fore runners.”
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Lilian Laki is a tailor in Wewak market in East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea, and her family’s dreams are a step closer to reality thanks to a little help from UN Women. Laki is one of the 311 women vendors who benefited from UN Women’s Markets, Economic Recovery and Inclusion programme. The programme provided the women with training in textile designing and sewing, baking and food handling, and linked them to micro-banks for savings and affordable finance.
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Sophie Teio, 24, a former volunteer with SANAP WANTAIM, a UN Women campaign against violence, runs an organization that encourages youths in Papua New Guinea to make their communities better. "While working under the SANAP WANTAIM campaign … I coordinated several campaign activities, which involved reaching out to communities and schools. We used to showcase short drama skits on ending violence against women..."
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Together with my siblings we grew up watching our parents arguing most of the time. My mum suffered both financial and verbal abuse. I did not like what was going on, but I did not know how to help. There are so many human rights violations and abuse happening every day in the community.
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Veronica Tamar Simogun is the founder of the Family for Change Association, which addresses domestic violence in Papua New Guinea. In 2017, Veronica won the US Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award for the East Asia Pacific region, in recognition of her advocacy for the rights of women and children who are survivors of violence.
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Lawrencia Leonnie Pirpir is co-founder of East New Britain Women Make Change Coalition (ENB WMC). Photo: UN Women We need both men and women to be in politics at all levels of government to make democracy work in PNG. Women in PNG have the capacity to occupy the political space, but the ground is not level. Women have been limited from participating in politics due to lack of support base and resources. Families don’t even support their own mothers, sisters, and daughters. There...
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Teiyo Amos was struggling to make ends meet from her income as a market vendor after the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Her husband was back from Australia where he had been working in mining, leaving her as the family breadwinner. But her profits from selling betel nut and potatoes in the main market of Goroka, Papua New Guinea, were not sustaining her family.
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Merolyn Tuwasa is a physiotherapist and team leader for the Community Based Rehabilitation programme at Cheshire disAbilty Services Papua New Guinea (PNG). UN Women has implemented a COVID-19 Disability Inclusion Project, in partnership with the organization, to raise COVID-19 awareness among people living with disabilities, their parents, caregivers, and communities. The project has reached more than 200 beneficiaries across the capital.
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Dame Carol Kidu is a former legislator, minister, and leader of the opposition in Papua New Guinea (PNG). In July she shared her experience with women intending to contest in the 2022 national elections, during a workshop in Kokopo, East New Britain, organized by UN Women in partnership with the Department for Community Development and Religion.
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Five years ago, Paula Kundi had never even had a bank account. Today, thanks to financial training provided by UN Women, the 35 year-old market vendor and single mother living with disability has savings, and plans to set up her own business. “I never knew the importance of saving money,” said Paula. “The financial literacy trainings helped me to change my perception about savings and how to manage money wisely.