Papua New Guinea

The Australian Government’s contracted commitment to Pacific Women in Papua New Guinea until 2022 is over $88 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 June 2019 unless otherwise stated)

Leadership and Decision Making

  • 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. In the 2019 local level government election, 143 women were trained with positive results. In Port Moresby, 11 of the 18 women who contested attended the training, including the women who won the two reserve seats.
  • Nine Young Women’s Associations have formed in Bougainville through the Young Women’s Leadership project. With their increased confidence and skills, 36 young women are now in formal leadership positions in their churches and wards plus in the health, tourism and education sectors.
  • During Bougainville’s 2017 community-level elections, 34 women human rights defenders and 16 male advocates, all trained through the Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation, were elected in their communities, and 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 projects.
  • Member companies of the Business Coalition for Women (BCfW) and public sector agencies are investing in women employees by supporting them to complete a Certificate IV in Leadership and Management. By February 2019, 100 women had graduated with a further 20 studying. A 2017 evaluation found that 71 per cent of graduates had been promoted or been given more responsibilities.
  • Fourteen Market Vendor Associations (MVAs) have been established in three markets supported by the Safe City Project; 83 per cent of their executives are women. This includes four women executives of the Koki MVA where men previously occupied all leadership roles and made all decisions

Economic Empowerment

  • After participating in Family Business Management training implemented through the CARE Coffee Industry Support Project (CISP), families are better at sharing workloads and decision-making and giving women greater access to income and productive resources. Households in which women and men received extension services training reported income levels 22 per cent higher compared to households where women were not trained.
  • BCfW member companies are implementing policies and practices that support women’s greater participation, retention and leadership. By 2018, 47 businesses had implemented at least one substantive change, including model policies for addressing family and sexual violence in the workplace, anti-sexual harassment policies and leadership courses for women.
  • More than 3,000 women are benefitting from business skills training, resources and networking opportunities provided by the Women’s Business Resource Centre. Thirty-seven per cent of women entrepreneurs using the Centre report that their businesses expanded due to their involvement.
  • Meri Seif Buses (women only buses) run by Ginigoada and UN Women have increased women and girl passengers’ sense of safety, freedom and mobility within Port Moresby and Lae. After the transition from free to user-pay, women have continued to utilise the service. Since the buses began in Port Moresby in 2015, women have taken 534,242 trips.

Ending Violence against Women

  • Pacific Women provides capacity building and core funding to the National Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee. This enables the continuation of its coordination role, an increased focus on legal and social protection for survivors, service provision, referral pathways, and research. The program is also supporting the establishment of a National GBV Secretariat.
  • Bel isi PNG is a public-private partnership aiming to reduce the cost of violence to businesses and strengthen the referral pathways and services for survivors in Port Moresby. Under a subscription model, companies are supported to provide a structured response to workplace family and sexual violence. Thirteen companies in Port Moresby have subscribed since 2018. As part of project, the Business Coalition for Women works with businesses to strengthen their workplace policies to support employees experiencing family and sexual violence, and to promote knowledge about, and use of, the referral systems. They have supported 47 business to implement with 68 separate procedures, policies, practices or standards being improved across those companies. Under Bel isi PNG, Femili PNG opened a new Case Management Centre and Safe House in Port Moresby. The Case Management Centre has provided service to 183 clients and the Safe House has accommodated 143 women and their children. These services are also available to the public on a referral basis.
  • More communities are acting to address violence. Supported by Oxfam’s Gender Justice and Healing project, community members and leaders from Konamempi in Eastern Highlands demonstrated their commitment to trauma and healing-based gender based violence prevention initiatives by building a training venue and developing by-laws to address domestic violence, gambling and alcohol use.
  • The Nazareth Centre in Bougainville has developed the capacity of 1,982 Women Human Rights Defenders and male advocates. More than 70 communities across seven districts are supported by this informal network of educators, activists, and service providers, including 304 female and male Several communities report less clan conflict, family and sexual violence, and more equitable division of household labour as a result of this education and direct intervention.
  • Across the program, partners are working to end violence against children. During UNICEF’s campaign to end violence against children, advocacy led to preventative services being incorporated in the Government of PNG’s National Child Protection Policy. The Meri Buses provide safe transport for children in Port Moresby and Lae. Children are supported and advocated for through Femili PNG’s safe houses and Case Management Centres; and their outreach educates communities about child abuse. The Parenting for Child Development program significantly reduced harsh parenting practices by learning parenting skills and building their knowledge of children’s development needs. Parents involved also reported significant reductions in violence by their spouse.
  • Partners are working directly with children to promote gender equality and build respectful relationships. The Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation’s school-based program works in 11 schools across Bougainville, with participating schools reporting increased respectful interactions and attendance rates, and reduced violence. This program is supported and endorsed by Autonomous Bougainville Government Department of Education. Equal Playing Field promotes gender equality in young people by working directly with boys and girls on respectful relationships through sport across over 50 primary schools in PNG and Bougainville.

Enhanced Knowledge and Understanding

  • Across the program there is consistent use of strong evidence-based information and research by partners to develop projects and better the program. For example, program design across Pacific Women has been influenced by IWDA’s “Do No Harm” research exploring the relationship between women increased economic status and intimate partner. Practical tools and guidance materials to reduce violence in projects economically empowering women have also been developed for broader use, and are being used by other Australian Government investments in PNG.
  • Program research is influencing both private sector and government policies and programs. Bel isi PNG uses research on the cost of family and sexual violence to businesses in PNG as part of its advocacy to form the public private partnership. And the PNG Government’s new Markets for Village Farmers program explicitly draws on CARE’s Family Business Management Training and the University of Canberra’s Family Farm Team approaches.

Pacific Women partners in Country

Government of Papua New Guinea: Coffee Industry Corporation; Departments of Community Development and Religion (including Office for the Development of Women), Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Health (Daru, Goroka and Port Moresby Family Support Centres), and Justice and Attorney General; East Sepik and Eastern Highlands Provincial Administrations; Eastern Highlands, East Sepik, Morobe, West Sepik and Western Highlands Provincial Health Authorities; Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission; National Secretariat of the Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee (FSVAC); East New Britain, Milne Bay, Morobe, National Capital District and Western Highlands provincial FSVACs; National Capital District Commission; National Youth Council; New Ireland Department of Primary Industries; Office of Child and Family Services; Port Moresby General Hospital; Road Traffic Authority; Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.

Autonomous Bougainville Government: Departments of Community Development and Health; Arawa Family Support Centre.

Papua New Guinean civil society partners: Baptist Union PNG; Bougainville Women’s Federation; Business Coalition for Women Inc; Community Development Workers Association Inc; Equal Playing Field; Family for Change; Femili PNG; Ginigoada Foundation PNG Inc; 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; Market Vendor Associations; Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation; Public Motor Vehicle Associations; Voice for Change.

Other partners: Asian Development Bank; Australian National University; Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; Australian Institute for Sustainable Communities, University of Canberra; Bank of South Pacific; CARE Australia; Catholic Church; Center for International Private Enterprise and The Difference Incubator; Department of the House of Representatives; Divine Word University; FHI 360; Frieda River Limited; G4S; GriffinWorx; Institute of Business Studies University; International Committee of the Red Cross; International Finance Corporation; International Women’s Development Agency ; Menzies School of Health Research; Monpi Coffee Exports; National Agricultural Research Institute; PNG National Research Institute; MiBank; Oil Search Foundation; Oxfam International; Pacific Adventist University; PNG Institute of Medical Research; Population Services International; Queensland University of Technology; Steamships Trading Company Ltd; UNICEF; UN Women; United Nations Development Programme; United Nations Population Fund; United States Embassy; 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. The full list of program partners can be found here.