Empowering women leaders

Dorothy Kenneth, a prominent figure in the Autonomous Bougainville Government's education sector, has dedicated her life to ensuring inclusive and accessible education for all children in Bougainville.

Born and raised in the tranquil village of Lontis, Haku Constituency, Bougainville, she reflects on her carefree childhood by the sea, emphasising her journey from a simple coastal life to becoming a senior education official with a Master's Degree from Australia.

Growing up as the second eldest of nine daughters, Dorothy attributes her strong leadership and consensus-building skills to her upbringing. Her mother, a role model in their community, instilled in her the values of hard work and determination.

Dorothy's mother championed modern values such as gender equity and equal access to education, enrolling all her daughters in school long before these ideas gained popularity.

Dorothy's educational journey began in Bougainville, progressing to Passam National High School in East Sepik province, and finally, the Goroka Teacher's College (now University of Goroka), where she fulfilled her dream of becoming a teacher.

Her early teaching experiences were marked by modest pay, but her passion for educating children kept her motivated.

After teaching for over 11 years, Dorothy transitioned to a role with the National Department of Education as the Executive Officer for the Bougainville Secondary Board. Her dedication led her to upgrade her qualifications, culminating in a bachelor's degree in 2012. Subsequently, she climbed the ranks, eventually serving as the Policy and Planning Director.

Recognising the importance of advanced studies for her role, Dorothy seized an opportunity through the Australia Awards Scholarship program to pursue a master's in public policy and management at Murdoch University in Western Australia from 2017 to 2018.

Juggling motherhood, family responsibilities, and the challenges of her role, she remained grounded in her humble upbringing, with her sisters providing unwavering support.

A staunch advocate for gender equality, Dorothy ensures gender balance within her department and mentors female officers, emphasising professionalism and time management. Her consistent hard work led to her appointment as acting Deputy Secretary from 2020 to 2022.

In May 2023, Dorothy reached the pinnacle of her career, proudly accepting the post of acting Secretary for the Bougainville Department of Education.

Dorothy's passion lies in making education inclusive and accessible to all Bougainville children, particularly girls. She believes that teachers hold the key to shaping the future of Bougainville and stresses the noble profession of teaching, which forms the foundation of any nation.

Dorothy collaborates with the governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia to support the Autonomous Bougainville Government in progressing the Bougainville Department of Education plan, striving for quality education for all.

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