Australian High Commission
Papua New Guinea

160212 Partnership to build leadership skills and voter awareness

Partnership to build leadership skills and voter awareness

Australia is supporting two new projects aimed at improving leadership skills and voter awareness among women in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja, today launched the Young Women’s Leadership and the Voter Awareness and Leadership Education projects while on a visit to Bougainville.

Funded through the Australian aid program, the K2.8 million Young Women’s Leadership Project will support young women to build leadership skills and confidence to have a greater voice in local and regional government affairs and policy development.

Ambassador Stott Despoja said up to 90 young women will be mentored by 30 facilitators over three years.

“They will then have the opportunity to join the Bougainville Women’s Federation and be part of a sustainable and inclusive body for women across Bougainville,” Ambassador Stott Despoja said.

The K1 million Voter Awareness and Leadership Education project will assist men and women to fully participate in and understand democratic processes.

Ambassador Stott Despoja said Australia was pleased to be able to support the awareness project to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections.

“The project will emphasise the value of women candidates and promote men’s respect for the rights of their wives and partners to choose who they wish to vote for,” Ambassador Stott Despoja said.

Australia partnered with the Bougainville Women’s Federation for both projects and the International Women’s Development Agency in the leadership project.

Australia supports gender equality in the Autonomous Bougainville Government through a jointly developed and agreed to gender investment plan (2014-19) valued at $14 million. The plan focuses on three key areas: to reduce gender-based violence and provide support services for survivors; strengthen women’s leadership and influence in decision-making; and improve women’s economic opportunities.

In consultation with the PNG Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG), Australia is increasing its aid to Bougainville to support stability by strengthening governance and service delivery, promoting social cohesion and economic growth, and empowering women and youth.