Papua New Guinea ranks among the world’s worst performers in almost every global indicator of gender equality, including gender-based violence, social inequality, political exclusion, and economic marginalization. The lack of prominent, respected, capable, and well-organized advocates for gender equality and women’s rights directly contributes to the sociopolitical and economic marginalization of women in Papua New Guinea.
In a partnership with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby, CIPE is supporting the efforts of a pioneering group of women who recently established the Papua New Guinea Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PNGWCCI). These visionary Papua New Guineans seek to change the operating environment faced by women in PNG, and this week saw a major step forward in this effort. From February 17-21, a CIPE delegation conducted the first of several planned training programs for the leaders and members of PNGWCCI.
At this week-long session, the women of PNGWCCI established a formal vision, strategic objectives, and an action plan to accomplish them. A SWOT analysis (a process that identifies organizational Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) was conducted for PNGWCCI by the women themselves. A preliminary financial plan and cash flow forecast has been developed, along with the design of new member services to assist women-owned and –managed businesses in PNG. PNGWCCI will begin implementing these plans in the coming weeks, and CIPE will return in early May for a follow-up session.
Avia Koisen, Esq., President of PNGWCCI explained that “PNGWCCI seeks to empower and strengthen women entrepreneurs and leaders by building capacity, creating business networking, advocating innovatively, and creating wealth and prosperity in an enabling environment. Our partnership with CIPE will help us realize this vision.”
A strong, independent and self-sustaining women’s chamber of commerce will be a voice in public policy that policymakers can neither eliminate nor ignore. And as an inclusive chamber with broad-based and representative membership from throughout the country, PNGWCCI will make unique contributions to women’s economic empowerment and overall economic development in PNG.
John Morrell is Program Officer for Asia at CIPE.