Stories

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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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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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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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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.
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[Press release] 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.
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[Press release] Markets are extremely significant economic and trading hubs across PNG, with women and girls at the centre of agricultural production. This is why through the UN Women Safe Cities Programme, more than 400 female vendors were engaged in consultations regarding the design of this market. Through this gender-sensitive redevelopment, female vendors and patrons can be sure their rights, safety and security have been placed at the forefront of design.
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UN Women Regional Director Mr. Mohammad Naciri rode 90 minutes in the shoes of the more than 150,000 women who accessed the service over the last year to highlight the importance of prioritising women’s safety on public transport. Mr. Naciri made a typical Port Moresby journey from 4 mile to Air Transport Sqaudron (ATS) settlement along with regular female commuters on the Meri Seif Bus service.
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UN Women in PNG has launched a new song composed by Jobecca Watinga, a final year accounting Student at the University of Papua New Guinea. She wrote the song after attending one of Sanap Wantaim’s campaign concerts on promoting Port Moresby as a safe city for women and girls. “I am from a loving Christian home, where its peaceful with no exposure to violence. However, this is not the same for many. The song is about the dreams...
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UN Women and other development partners are continuing to support the Papua New Guinea Government’s steps to help people with disabilities and those at risk of gender-based violence. The bi-annual Dialogue on Gender between Government and Development Partners took place on 16 August. The two sides...
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Women and girls feel safer on their daily city commutes now that, with UN Women’s support, a total of eight women-only buses are operating in Port Moresby.Four such buses had been running in the city under an initiative by Ginigoada Foundation, a non-governmental organization. Four more buses were added to the fleet on 11 July. The buses, which have all-women drivers and crew members and charge nominal fares, are licensed by the Road Traffic Authority to run regular routes as public motor vehicles...
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After a four-day trip there, Papua New Guinea’s church leaders now have better understanding of how they help keep the peace when the Autonomous Region of Bougainville holds a landmark referendum next year. With UN Women’s assistance, representatives of the PNG Council of Churches and government, civil society and research organizations made the fact-finding mission to Buka from 20 to 23 August...