At the end of the fourth Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women) PNG Annual Learning workshop, participants walked away with new connections, tools and ideas.
With over 180 participants in total, and over 100 each day, the event enabled attendees from Pacific Women and non-Pacific Women funded projects and development partners to examine progress, lessons learned and opportunities related to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
‘Gender equality and women’s empowerment are priorities for Australian foreign policy, because when women are able to actively participate, everyone prospers,’ said Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea Bruce Davis during his keynote address to open the workshop. ‘Women who are economically secure and who are better able to seek out education and health services have expanded opportunities to take on leadership or decision making roles in their households, workplaces and communities.’
Pacific Women supports 29 implementing activities in targeted locations in Papua New Guinea to promote women’s leadership and economic empowerment, to strengthen the national response to violence against women and provide expanded support services. These activities are run by local leaders, groups, organisations, international nongovernmental organisations and multilateral organisations committed to promoting gender equality in Papua New Guinea.
The workshop is part of Pacific Women’s efforts to enhance knowledge and evidence to inform policy and practice. It is an opportunity for implementing partners and other stakeholders to meet and engage in meaningful discussions, to present their research, share their experiences and to learn from each other.
‘I learned so many new things, but the common thing that most organisations or facilitators were presenting were all about human rights one way or another, to deepen each other’s lives,’ shared Umba Peter, a male advocate with Kafe Urban Settlers Women’s Association (KUSWA).
‘It is at this forum that women and our grassroots, our NGOs, come and they listen. They get the information, they get the knowledge and then they go out and they start to talk, to conduct awareness in their small programs, in their own space,’ said Dr. Eric Kwa, Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Constitutional and Law Reform Commission, who presented a keynote address on the second day of the workshop. ‘It’s about the community taking ownership of the law and changing it. The vehicle is through these individuals, through these NGOs, through these development partners who have come forward and want to support the different organisations. By supporting these organisations, we are actually implementing the law.’
‘For me, it is a good learning,’ added Sister Josephine Lahio of the Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation in Bougainville. ‘This is my first time to come to a big gathering like this. Listening to the presentations and engaging with other participants, I’m also getting information and, you know, talking about the issues that we’re all working towards in preventing that.’
The report of the workshop will available on the Pacific Women website.