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Empowering Women in Papua New Guinea
02 Jun, 2017
Jean Jano will be going home a changed woman. As the Program Manager of a local NGO in Papua New Guinea she has just spent the last six weeks in Australia as part of her Diploma of Leadership and Management studies delivered by TAFE Queensland in partnership with the Australia Awards program.
As Program Manager at the Eastern Highlands Family Voice Inc. in Goroka, Papua New Guinea, Jean leads the charge on addressing gender based violence and family sexual violence, especially focusing on violence perpetrated against women and girls.
Jean said the program has equipped her with the skills to help her make Eastern Highlands Family Voice Inc. stronger and empowered her to make areal difference in her local community.
“The changes that I make in the company and the tools that I bring with me will have a great impact on the type of service delivery that we offer and the programs that we implement in the community. It will go a long way in helping the most vulnerable women and children that we work with,” she said.
The intensive six-week program had a focus on women’s empowerment and covered subjects including emotional intelligence, goal setting and personal leadership.
According to the United Nations Development Program, Papua New Guinea ranks in the bottom ten countries of the Gender Inequality Index. Women and girls have substantially less access to health care and education services than men and boys.
CEO TAFE Queensland Ms Jodi Schmidt said that through the Australia Awards and similar programs, Australia can continue to influence positive social change in Papua New Guinea.
“Inequality between men and women is a major societal issue in Papua New Guinea. Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) helps give women the knowledge, skills and self-confidence to participate in economic development while challenging traditional attitudes regarding their place in society.
“Our partnership with Australia Awards in Papua New Guinea isimportant, and significant in the change that it can make to individual lives,but lays the ground-work for generational change.
“Empowering women through leadership and skills development is key, as it brings valuable and diverse perspectives to decision making within the home and wider community – I commend and congratulate Jean and women like her, for her strength and commitment to equality,” said Ms Schmidt.
Jean says the knowledge and skills she has learned during the course will have wide ranging effects on both her organisation and her local community in Papua New Guinea.
“I go back to Papua New Guinea a changed person; I go back a proactive leader now instead of reactive leader; I go back with actions in mind of what I will accomplish when I return home. There are lots of things I will change, a lot of things that I will contribute to my organisation,” she said.
Jean is just one of 23 awardees, both men and women from NGO’s and public sector organisations who will be returning to Papua New Guinea.
“It comforts me that I’m not the only one fighting for a world free of violence for the women of Papua New Guinea. There are others who are fighting for it too. So it’s good for us to join hands, network, talk together, share resources – we are all working for the same thing, we are working here because we care about these woman, these children and their families,” she said.
Jean is looking forward to returning to Papua New Guinea as a role model for other girls and women, especially those who have had to drop out of school due to violence in their homes. She says she wants to help women understand that they don’t have to go to university to acquire the knowledge and skills to succeed.
“Having determination, passion and the drive to make something out of your life will enable you to achieve your dreams. Definitely I will be a role model for young girls but at the same time I will empower them to not just be content with where they are but to look at all the doors that are open and go knocking.
“Who knows, one door might open up for them as it has for me,” she said.