I’m just back from a Women and Climate Change convening at Green Camp in Bali. Some 100 women grass roots leaders together with representatives from grantmaking organizations, women’s funds and environmental agencies, converged from across the globe for a highly significant convening.
When we were invited to attend we were also asked to bring something from our own culture that symbolized our connection to place and identity. I thought about my own sense of being an Australian and what grounded and affirmed me as a touchstone for my identity. … Continue Reading
“See those girls there,” a female pastor says from the back-seat of the vehicle we’re in, pointing to a group of girls who looked between 11-15 years of age; they are likely part of a prostitutes ring encouraged by older girls.
Prostitution is increasingly common in Papua New Guinea, especially for girls needing income for themselves and their families in order to get an education. The cost of going to college is between $US3,000 and $US6,500 per year. And for many people who struggle on the poverty line for most of their lives, the dream of an education for themselves or their family is just that.… Continue Reading
The Pacific is a world removed, a forgotten corner of the earth for many, however to me it is a place of such immeasurable beauty, a sing sing culture. In this environment, flying in a small plane across the country is pure joy. As the plane skids to a stop, I can see young and old people who look like colored dots as they swamp the roof of the airport and rattle the cage of the wired gates that keeps them outside.… Continue Reading
One cassowary, two sheep, 24 pigs, 1,600 kina worth of vegetables, 10,000 kina of gas and 10,000 kina in cash is the worth of a woman.
That’s the bride price my driver, Andrew, paid for his wife, Jennifer, when they met and married in Mount Hagen in the Papua New Guinea Highlands.
“As a couple, we received up to 50% of that payment back in some form,” Andrew explained. My parents-in-law gave us back 3 pigs, 800 kina of vegetables, especially bananas which we didn’t have, cooking utensils, bedding and 3,000 kina in cash. … Continue Reading
When I last saw Janet Sape she was talking about her dream of creating a Microbank for Women in Papua New Guinea. Now that dream is about to become a reality as she awaits the banking license for this new bank, with its working title of Pacific Women’s Bank.
“We had been discussing the name Meri Bank, as Meri means women in Papua New Guinea, but we also want to be able to expand the bank beyond PNG and we need the name to be relevant in other Pacific countries too,” Janet Sape explained today.… Continue Reading