The National, Friday November 8th, 2013
By GYNNIE KERO
A US$2.25 million (K5.44 million) programme to improve the lives of women in the oil and mining project areas was launched yesterday.
The project, which was unveiled by the World Bank and the Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, is being funded for the second time by the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF).
Under the programme, the targeted women would get help in developing business activities.
The programme would also strive to empower them and train adolescent village girls and women’s groups on community leadership.
The first grant of US$636,000 (K1.5 million) from JSDF was used in similar programme between 2007- 10.
World Bank country manager Laura Bailey said women often faced the negative and positive impacts of mining and petroleum in the rural communities.
Bailey said: “Women have too often faced the negative impacts of mining and petroleum in their communities, such as conflict and violence, without sharing in the benefits of more economic opportunities or better services.
“This programme seeks to improve the lives of women in tangible ways that would benefit them, their families and their communities.”
The programme will target areas that included Tolukuma (Central); Kainantu, Lihir and Simberi (New Ireland); Samberigi and Kutubu (Southern Highlands); Kikori (Gulf); Wau (Morobe), Porgera (Enga); Maigari, Basamuk and Kurumbukari (Madang; Mt. Bosavi (Southern Highlands); Koroba (Southern Highlands); Kiunga (Western) and Panguna (Autonomous Region of Bougainville).
Japanese Embassy deputy chief of mission Satoshi Abe said Japan’s assistance to PNG addressed, among other things, the improvement and enhancement of human resource.
Abe said Japan was aware of the living conditions in the targeted rural areas, their high infant mortality and the people’s limited opportunity to earn a living.
He said Japan’s assistance was reaching out to all genders and was aiming to give social and economic empowerment to women in the mining and petroleum project areas.
Abe said his country was also involved in infrastructure funding such as roads and bridges under a bilateral deal with PNG.
The women in mining and Petroleum programme would be implemented by the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum over a four- year period.