Oil search scheme ‘helpful’

National

THE Oil Search Foundation’s small grants scheme is helping to make a difference in communities to address social issues, particularly violence against women and girls in Papua New Guinea.
The Foundation’s Women’s Protection and Empowerment (WPE) programme started the initiative early this year to support community members and Oil Search staff to develop projects that are culturally relevant.
Oil Search Foundation’s head of expansion programmes, Jean Martin said Oil Search staff came from a broad range of backgrounds and the skills, knowledge and tools they gained at work were shared when they returned to their communities.
“The grants are an opportunity for our staff to enter into conversations, in relation to violence against women and girls back in their homes,” Martin said.
The scheme was advertised in 2016 and 29 people applied and the applications represent a range of community and staff-led initiatives.
The foundation awarded 10 grants ranging from K2300-K4000 to 10 successful applicants for activities in Jiwaka, Hela, Southern Highlands and Port Moresby.
Oil Search Foundation’s Hela development manager, Gorithie Tai is one successful applicant from Jiwaka.
Since 2013, she has been the major sponsor of her local rugby team and has used the team to deliver HIV/AIDS and gender-related awareness, education and advocacy in the community using her own resources.
“The grant will help me continue to address issues targeting youth and men which are critical to our development as a community,” Tai said.
“I’m able to take what I have learned from Oil Search and educate my people on how to address social issues, foster respect for women and girls and address the real issue of gender violence.”
Tai has developed a programme that the rugby team will use to campaign and spread awareness about gender-based violence.
“They will speak as men to men about the importance of ending violence against women,” she said.
“The team will finish off by publicly pledging to continue to be advocates and change drivers to unite and eliminate violence against women.”
Charlie Kaipek, a vibrant campaigner in the team, said women were an integral partner at all levels in the society.
“I trust women and their leadership,” he said.

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