In all of our partnerships, we make sure that women have a voice, and encourage participation from women and girls in community decisions. Nowhere is this more important than in our Orangerie Bay partnership. Papua New Guinea is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman. High percentages of women experience rape or assault in their lifetime and women face systemic discrimination. Despite laws which criminalise violence against women, those responsible are rarely prosecuted.1
On our last trip, Programme Manager, Liz and Head of Programmes, Hannah, met with around fifty women from the community. It was a long meeting with a lot of trepidation, but once Gadaisu church choir started speaking, the rest of the women eventually joined in.
We learnt about their priorities. The women were concerned about the health of their children, and the time it takes to walk to the nearest healthcare centre (about three hours).
They were also worried about the time it takes to fetch water for their families. Most women have to make at least three trips a day.
But they also spoke about what they love doing. Fishing and gardening were mentioned, along with weaving, dancing, netball and volleyball. All the women agreed that spending time with their families was very important to them.
The best news is, that of the women we talked to in Gadaisu village, 94% felt respected by their community. And 75% have more hope for the future of their community than before Cool Earth arrived.
The community you’re supporting in Gadaisu village seems to be bucking the depressing trend for discrimination against women in Papua New Guinea. And we won’t stop backing these brilliant women.