Papua New Guinea

The Australian Government’s contracted commitment to Pacific Women in Papua New Guinea until 2022 is over $104 million.

There are two key documents providing information about the gender equality work in Papua New Guinea:


(Information collated from Pacific Women implementing partner reports cumulative to December 2019 unless otherwise stated)

Leadership and Decision Making

  • Pacific Women investments have resulted in 2,046 women gaining skills and confidence to take up leadership roles at the community level, as market vendors or within their companies. In Bougainville, 34 of 47 wards elected as their ward representatives women human rights defenders and 16 communities elected male advocates trained through the Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation. In addition, 23 women executives from the Inclusive Development project were elected. These women and men attribute their confidence, demonstrated capability to deliver for their communities, and good community perception of them as leaders, to their involvement in these Pacific Women-funded projects.
  • Nine Young Women’s Associations have formed in Bougainville through the Young Women’s Leadership project. Five young women took up leadership roles in the Bougainville Women’s Federation national and district decision making structures. In 2018, 36 young women moved into leadership roles within their churches, wards, health and education sectors in their communities.
  • Thirty organisations and 33 public sector agencies are investing in women employees and have supported 156 women to complete the Business Coalition for Women’s Certificate IV Leadership and Management. A 2018 evaluation found that 71 per cent of graduates had been promoted or given more responsibilities as a result. In 2019, two new courses targeting women already in management and for new Directors were completed by 36 women and 11 men.
  • Nineteen Market Vendor Associations, representing almost 4,000 vendors the majority of whom are women, have been established in the four main markets in Port Moresby supported by the Safe City Project. An evaluation published in 2019, noted the transformation in status of vendors ‘from producers selling their surplus … into businesswomen who are retailers’ through the Associations. A new vendor association was established in 2019 in Wewak, East Sepik Province where the same approach has been adopted.
  • Of the 179 women candidates in the 2017 national elections, 49 were trained by the Women in Leadership Support Program. Whilst no women were elected, project participants were four times more likely to finish in the top five and twice as likely to finish in the top 10.

Economic Empowerment

  • Evaluations demonstrate that families supported to reconsider workloads and power within their family are sharing workloads, improving communication and setting shared goals and experiencing increased incomes and improved family wellbeing. Research from the Coffee Industry Support project found households in which women received extension services training reported an income from coffee 22 per cent higher than households where women were not trained. In both the CARE Coffee and Family Farm Teams projects, women increased their decision making within the family and control over income and assets.
  • An assessment conducted in 2018, found that 47 businesses had implemented at least one substantive change supported by the Business Coalition for Women to improve working conditions for women employees. These changes included adopting policies to address family and sexual violence and sexual harassment in the workplace, conducting gender smart safety audits, and investing in women employees to develop management skills and leadership pathways.
  • Through Pacific Women 15,146 women have accessed financial information and services including financial literacy and business skills training. More than 4,200 women have benefitted from business skills training, resources and networking opportunities provided by the Women’s Business Resource Centre in Port Moresby since it opened in November 2016. In the two years to December 2019, 195 women reported expanding their businesses as a result of the knowledge, skills and networks gained through the Women’s Business Resource Centre.
  • Meri (women only) buses run by Ginigoada Foundation have increased women and girl passengers’ sense of safety, freedom and mobility within Port Moresby. In 2019, the women only buses expanded to serve the main centres in Lae. In 2019, the buses provided safe, comfortable and regular transport option for over 147,300 passengers, or an estimated 30,800 women and girls, getting to and from work, markets and school.

Ending Violence against Women

  • Transformative changes are taking place within families, communities and organisations to reduce the acceptance of violence against women. Though the incidence of family and sexual violence remains high in Papua New Guinea, Pacific Women partners have increased families’ and communities’ understanding of the causes and consequences of violence against women. A diverse range of actors are speaking out against and acting to prevent violence against women and children in communities. This includes young men through rugby clubs, local community leaders introducing and implementing community by-laws to protect women, men and women intervening when they witness violence against women. Communities are reporting reductions in family and sexual violence. Research from the Kommuniti Lukautim Ol Meri project’s Western Highlands communities found a reduction in the incidence of physical violence and marital rape from 2016 to 2018.
  • Understanding that preventing violence against women is everyone’s business, 3,412 men have been actively engaged in promoting gender equality. This includes as young male advocates in the Sanap Wantaim campaign, and the youth targeted Inap Nau campaign, as peer-to-peer leaders in schools, as community mobilisers, activists and male advocates in a range of Pacific Women The Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee has developed a package of male advocacy training.
  • Pacific Women partners have provided 18,000 women and girls facing violence with support services, including counselling, case management, health or justice services, and emergency repatriation and reintegration support in the case of extreme violence. Organisations including Femili PNG, the Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation, Kafe Urban Settlers Women’s Association, FHI 360, Oxfam and the Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee continue to provide training and technical support to expand and improve the quality of services supporting survivors of family and sexual violence as well as working with communities and organisations to prevent violence in the first place. This included providing urgent health, psychosocial and safety services to over 5,300 women and children in response to the 2018 Highlands earthquakes.
  • Through the innovative public-private partnership Bel isi PNG initiative, subscribing companies contribute to the cost of delivering counselling support and safe house services available to survivors of violence in Port Moresby. Private sector leaders are supported to: understand the causes and consequences of violence; act to deter violence impacting on their workplaces; support their employees; and to advocate within their organisations and networks for an end to violence against women. There are currently 13 subscribing companies. In the first 15 months of operations, the case management centre supported 407 clients and the safe house accommodated 96 clients plus 56 dependents.
  • Across the program, partners are working to educate communities and advocate for an end violence against children. Parents participating in the Parenting for Child Development program in 2018 significantly reduced harsh parenting practices by learning parenting skills and building their knowledge of children’s intellectual, emotional and physical development needs. Parents involved also reported significant reductions in violence by their spouse. The Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation’s pilot school-based program changed student’s behaviours in favour of non-violence and more respectful attitudes with improvements in learning outcomes also reported. The program now covers schools in each of the three regions of Bougainville. Equal Playing Field’s Safe Schools project fosters healthy and respectful relationship between girls and boys and supports teachers and schools to promote a safe and supportive school environment for all children. Surveys of participants indicate 85 per cent report having confidence in publicly speaking up for gender equality and non-violence.

Enhanced Knowledge and Understanding

  • A commitment to ongoing research, robust evaluations and monitoring as well as learning underpins the program. The Do No Harm research, which identified that women’s economic empowerment requires women to have access not only to resources, but also to power, agency and decision making, and the research and evaluations of the family-based approaches are informing not only other Pacific Women partner designs but also other development partners’ programming. The Government of Papua New Guinea’s new Markets for Village Farmers and Agricultural Commercialisation Development projects both explicitly refer to adopting CARE’s Family Business Management Training and the University of Canberra’s Family Farm Team approaches and the Fresh Produce Development Agency has incorporated the Family Farm Teams modules into its Village Extension Worker program.
  • The Department for Community Development and Religion has adopted the market vendor association model developed in the Safe City project, as the ‘voice strategy’ in the draft Informal Economy Strategy. It is the practical and formal means for women and men in the informal economy to engage in government decision making.
  • Toolkits, training manuals, communication posters, songs and other resources developed by Pacific Women partners are shared with and used by other projects and organisations. The Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee-developed Referral Pathway Guideline and Survivor Advocates Toolkit is being used by Oxfam’s local partners and informed the development of Bel isi PNG materials. The Women and Extractives and the Young Women’s Leadership team exchanged resources and facilitators to deliver family farm teams modules in Bougainville and leadership training developed in Bougainville was delivered in the mine affected communities.

Pacific Women partners in Country

Government of Papua New Guinea: Constitutional and Law Reform Commission; Department for Community Development and Religion (including Office for the Development of Women); Department of Justice and Attorney General; Department of National Planning and Monitoring; Family Support Centres in Arawa, Daru, Goroka, Lae and Port Moresby; Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission; Morobe Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee; National Capital District Commission; National Secretariat of the Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee; National Youth Council; New Ireland Department of Primary Industries; Morobe Provincial Health Authority; Port Moresby General Hospital; Western Highlands Provincial Health Authority; and West Sepik Provincial Health Authority.

Autonomous Bougainville Government: Departments of Community Development and Health.

Papua New Guinean civil society partners: Backyard Farms; Baptist Union PNG; Bougainville Women’s Federation; Business Coalition for Women; Catholic Dioceses of Madang, Western Highlands/Jiwaka and Simbu; Community Development Workers Association Inc; Equal Playing Field; Family for Change; Femili PNG; Ginigoada Foundation; Hako Women’s Collective; Highlands Women’s Human Rights Defenders Movement; Kafe Urban Settlers Women’s Association; Kedu Seif Haus; Kup Women for Peace; Lifeline PNG; Motu Koita Village Women’s Associations; National Council of Women; Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation; The Voice Inc; Voice for Change.

Other partners:Asian Development Bank; Australian National University; Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; CARE International; Center for International Private Enterprise; Divine Word University; FHI 360; Frieda River Limited; GriffinWorx; International Committee of the Red Cross; International Finance Corporation; International Women’s Development Agency; Menzies School of Health Research; Oil Search Foundation; Oxfam in PNG; Pacific Adventist University; Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research; Papua New Guinea National Research Institute; Population Services International; Queensland University of Technology; The Difference Incubator; UNICEF; UN Women; United Nations Development Programme; United States Embassy; University of Canberra; University of Goroka; University of Queensland; University of Papua New Guinea; World Bank; and Pacific Women’s regional partners.

Details on activities for each country, including those supported by the regional program, are available via the interactive map.