10 years of vital work in Papua New Guinea

October 30, 2014

Elizabeth Tongne, Executive Director of Wide Bay Conservation Association
Elizabeth Tongne, Executive Director of Wide Bay Conservation Association

 

IWDA would like to congratulate our partner Wide Bay Conservation Association on 10 years of work supporting communities in Papua New Guinea as a registered organisation.

Wide Bay Conservation Association works in East Pomio, PNG. East Pomio is located in East New Britain, a matrilineal province where women are traditional custodians of land. However for the past several decades, East Pomio has seen large-scale development including oil palm plantations and logging. In the growing cash economy, women are increasingly excluded from taking part in decisions that affect their lives and communities.

Seeing these issues, two clan groups led by women custodians of the land founded Wide Bay Conservation Association in 1994. Wide Bay Conservation Association became an independent registered organisation ten years ago, and since then has worked with communities in East Pomio to support their control over decisions about land and resources.

In doing this work, Wide Bay Conservation Association realised that women were not fully taking part. They saw that women were being excluded from both the decision-making around logging and plantation projects, as well as the economic benefits of those projects. Supporting the rights of women in East Pomio has been a focus of the organisation’s work with communities.

Currently, Wide Bay Conservation Association and IWDA are completing a two-year project called Meri Kirap – Tokaut na Tokstrait, which means “Women Arise – Talk Out and Talk Straight”. Through this project, Wide Bay Conservation Association has worked with communities to ensure community plans are inclusive of women, youth and other stakeholders. They have also strengthened the East Pomio Women’s Association’s ability to address the needs of local women, and advocated to local government to meet these needs.

With Meri Kirap, Wide Bay Conservation Association and IWDA are making a long-term investment in the confidence, skills and knowledge of women in East Pomio. This project supports women to engage in natural resource management and to build sustainable ways of making a living. Through the work of Wide Bay Conservation Association, communities are empowered to make informed decisions regarding development on their land and its effect on their community.

Executive Director of Wide Bay Conservation Association Elizabeth Tongne said, “I would like to acknowledge the support that IWDA have given us to continue the journey we’ve been going on the past 10 years. I believe the journey that we have taken in 10 years has not been done alone, but through the strength of every man and woman who are in our communities and countries.”

We congratulate Wide Bay Conservation Association on 10 years of vital work, and we look forward to continuing to work in partnership for the rights of women in East Pomio.

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