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International Women’s Day | Papua New Guinea

This International Women’s Day we hear from the women across our partnerships on why including women in land and forest use decision making is so important.

It comes as no surprise that women and girls bear the brunt of the climate breakdown. For example, they are more likely to be affected by natural disasters, food and water scarcity, and health risks associated with climate change [1]UNDP(2017)..

Starting in Papua New Guinea, where we celebrate 10 years since Cool Earth launched its partnership here, we listened to what Country Manager Regina Kewa and Biodiversity Officers Ruthy Simbili and Pethrisha Olena had to say.

Why is it important for women to be included in decisions about land and forest use?

Regina Kewa: Women are an important part of the community that depend on the land and forest to provide food, medicine, firewood and raw materials to produce handicrafts for income generation to meet basic needs for the family. This keeps men and children happy when they provide for the family and as a result create happy and stable communities therefore it is important for women to be included in decisions about land and forest use.

Ruthy Simbili: Women are important in making decisions to preserve the forests and the families.

Pethrisha Olena: To tell the truth regarding land and forest ownership and use.

Regina Kewa

Regina Kewa, PNG Country Manager, Cool Earth

Why is protecting the rainforest important to you?

Regina Kewa: Rural communities depend on the rainforest for their livelihood and if not protected there will be imbalance in the society as resources sourced from the rainforests are depleted.

Ruthy Simbili: Rainforest gives us oxygen.

Pethrisha Olena: Continue to source food and medicinal plants.

Ruthy Simbili, Biodiversity Officer

What is the most important resource to you from the rainforest?

Regina Kewa: Trees are the most important resource from the rainforest.

Ruthy Simbili: The rainforest provides food for the communities.

Pethrisha Olena: Oxygen from the forest and medicinal plants.

Pethrisha Olena, Biodiversity Officer

Can you share one piece of advice you would give to a woman interested in working in the rainforest.

Regina Kewa: Be part of the team to contribute towards improving forest health by educating the communities and having a positive influence in the communities where you live and work.

Ruthy Simbili: Women have the right to talk about forest to the communities.

Pethrisha Olena: Women have the right to tell someone who is destroying the rainforest to replant to replace the trees cut.

Coming up

Next up in our International Women’s Day series we hear from our partners in Cameroon and Peru.


1 UNDP(2017).