Koki market set to become a safer place for women to do business
In Port Moresby, work to improve safety for women and girls has received a boost through the extension of the United Nation (UN) Women Safe Cities Program to one of the city’s largest markets, Koki Market.
The UN Safe Cities Program, supported by the Australian Government, seeks to increase women’s engagement in market activity, through addressing some of the risks to safety that women vendors and customers face traveling to and from, and working in the markets.
UN Women Country Representative, Dr Jeffrey Buchanan, said that work at the Koki Market including a safety audit, behaviour change campaign and institutional support to the setup of a vendors’ association, will impact positively on at least 250 vendors, 85per cent of whom are women.
Work has commenced at Koki Market with security training for about 90 security personnel and a market bank fair to empower women, which drew a crowd of over 300 people. Six financial institutions attended the fair and helped women and men set up branch accounts and learn about financial services.
Five women vendors from Central Province, who currently spend nights in Koki Market, said the commencement of the Safe City Programme in Koki Market brought them hope of increased security in and around the market.
Australian High Commission Counsellor Susan Fergusson said: “We understand that creating a safer place for women and girls impacts on everyone. It helps women sell their produce more easily and this flows on to families as women often re-invest their earnings in education, health and nutrition.”
Australia has supported the Safe Cities Program since 2014, through the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development initiative. The support has seen the program’s implementation at the Gerehu and Gordons Markets, and recently, the Koki Market.
Details of the Papua New Guinea programme can be found at: http://asiapacific.unwomen.org/en/countries/png
The Safe Cities Program is an initiative of UN Women in partnership with the National Capital District Commission, the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary and the Papua New Guinea, Australian and New Zealand Governments, which is helping to address women’s safety and engagement in market activity.