The best community decisions are made when they include the views of everyone – women, girls, men and boys, including from marginalised groups. The Bougainville Women’s Federation and International Women’s Development Agency has released a community facilitation guide, Gud Disisions, Gud Lidasip, to support organisations working to improve inclusive decision making and leadership practices at community level. The guide recognises that no one is born a leader and by practicing special skills, a person can learn to make good decisions and be a good leader.
The guide has been developed based on the experiences of the Young Women’s Leadership Project funded by Pacific Women. Through the project, young women in Bougainville have had opportunities to have a voice in decisions in their communities and to take on leadership roles.
The information and activities in the guide help communities to reflect on different leadership and decision making styles. They encourage communities to work toward inclusive and transparent decision making. The nine modules in the guide cover issues relating to leadership, power and governance, plus exercises to develop participants’ leadership skills in communication, self-esteem, public speaking and dispute resolution.
The guide is a useful tool for any groups in Papua New Guinea looking to strengthen leadership and decision making. Organisations in and outside of Bougainville recognise the Gud Disisions, Gud Lidasip training as an effective approach for empowering young women. A Bougainville Women’s Federation staff member and a young woman facilitator from the Young Women’s Leadership Project have conducted Gud Disisions, Gud Lidasip training for young women from seven mine-affected communities in Frieda River. Non-government organisations such as CARE, Voice for Change and the Wide Bay Conservation Association have participated in trainings. The trainings conducted for the Wide Bay Conservation Association enabled that association to develop a similar program for its young women.
These successful training practices are now captured in the guide. The guide notes that good leadership and decision making usually involves:
- representing women, men, youth and children so that anyone who has an interest, or is affected by a decision, is given a chance to take part in decision making;
- making decisions fairly and having clear rules in place about how decisions are made; and
- making sure people can see what leaders do, so that the decision making process is as transparent and as clear as possible.
The information and activities documented in the guide promote these principles. They support not only the involvement of young women to achieve common goals, but of everyone.
The guide can be downloaded here:
Learn more about the amazing and powerful young women of Bougainville:
Watch young women from the project talk about women’s leadership in Bougainville:
Read the Australian National University’s research exploring the opportunities for and barriers to young women’s leadership in Bougainville: