Gender equality pilot project finishes in Abau

Villagers from the Abau District in the Central Province last month completed a seven-month pilot project centred around gender equality.

 25 people from the district participated in the project, led by a three member team of researchers from Deakin University in Australia and Divine Word University in PNG.

The project started in April and finished last month.

They undertook a range of research projects around the Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) theme.

The villagers learnt about the importance of keeping girls in school, to improve women’s health, to create business opportunities for women, and also to improve women’s literacy and to tackle domestic violence.

The project was funded by the Australian aid program.

Member for Abau, Puka Temu said the idea behind action research was an example of the “rural democratisation” that he had long supported.

“It is through this type of project that we realise the real value of community engagement, community involvement, and community empowerment.

“I am a strong advocate that this is what builds nations; this community-level inclusiveness,” said Temu.

He said he had instructed his District Development Authority chief executive officer to ensure work on the project continues.

The Australian High Commission’s Acting Counsellor Stephen Hills said that the community approach to development taken by the project was something the Australian Government strongly endorsed.

“It’s something that’s been crucial to us for a long time, and we are always keen to support.

“Not so much support is needed from outside the communities, just a bit of support to get things started,” said Hills.

Troy Taule