For the week of 13-17 November, 27 participants from eight provinces representing 15 organisations came together in Port Moresby to learn how to become trainers of the Family Teams program.
The Family Teams program is a series of workshops and activities aimed at helping a woman and a man as heads of a household, to work together as a team to improve their relations, be more productive and to get ahead economically. The program allows them to plan the further development of their agricultural or other activities together, as well as setting and meeting family goals. The program can also be used with full family teams that include adults, young adults and youth, as well as other family unit compositions.
The Family Teams program helps men and women look at the work done by women, men and youth and to work towards balancing the responsibilities. It also assists families to make decisions together.
This approach was developed through an Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research grant by Professor Barbara Pamphilon from the University of Canberra in partnership with the Pacific Adventist University in Papua New Guinea and other local partners, including NARI and the Baptist Union.
The training is provided by Dr Pamphilon and Dr Lalen Simeon from the Pacific Adventist University, supported by the Papua New Guinea-Australia partnership. As one training participant said:
“In this training, I learnt about unbalanced farming families and balanced farming families. Unbalanced families – women do more work, while in balanced families, men and women share the roles and responsibilities”.
Evaluation of the program has shown that families that have set goals and made decisions together, are budgeting and saving more effectively, and have increased their farming productivity and income.
Dr Lalen Simeon said: “From the evaluation, I have seen families use the seasonal calendar planning to plant, harvest and sell their vegetables. And by making budgets they have met some of their short term and long term goals – for example some have built permanent houses and they are renting them out. Others have increased the size of their family farms. Women have expressed that their husbands now respect them and include them in decision making and that their families are now more peaceful”.
The program has worked with communities in Kwinkya, Kumbareta and Alona Ward, in Western Highlands; Tinganagalip and Vunapalading 1 in East New Britain; Asaro Valley in Eastern Highlands and Waghi Valley in Jiwaka. The program is now working with communities in Halia constituency in Bougainville and Tikana Wards 7 and 11 in New Ireland Province.
“Strong family teams build strong communities and provinces, together this will build a stronger Papua New Guinea,” Dr Pamphilon said.