Everyday in Papua New Guinea’s rugged eastern Highlands province, the nation’s biggest business success story is taking place. It is the story of women farmers.
In PNG, where up to 97% of land is owned by the people, land is life. And women are the backbone of the land. But they earn little government respect for the vital role they play, and support from men is lacking.
Following on from previous films ‘Long Tuhat Bilong Mipla’ and ‘Em Graun Bilong Mipla’ comes Our Pacific Ways’ new short film: Mi Inap (I Can).
‘Mi Inap’ tells the story of self-reliant village Kasu, in PNG’s Rai Coast region. Kasu has taken responsibility for its own development in creative and powerful ways: one of which includes local man, Weiya Sindana, bringing vanilla back from Manus Island in the ’90s and introducing a new industry to his home region.
Papua New Guinea is often described as one of the world’s ‘least developed countries’. But the Kasu community tells a different story. Watch Mi Inap
SPECIAL FEATURE: WOMEN IN AGRICULTURE
Graun em laip (‘Land is life’), and women are the backbone of PNG land productivity – the nation’s most important economy. Our Pacific Ways travelled to the Eastern Highlands to meet some incredible women who are making lucrative livings from their own sustainable farming businesses. We’ll be bringing you their stories in the next few weeks.
December 5, 2012 PNG TRADITIONAL FOOD SHOWCASED AT INTERNATIONAL FOOD FESTIVAL
PNG’s farmers and traditional cuisine took centre stage at one of the world’s major food events last month. Markham Valley-based non-profit Savé PNG spoke at the Slow Foods (‘Salone del Gusto’) festival in Torino, Italy. Read post
SPECIAL FEATURE: WHAT THE PNG NATIONAL GOALS MEAN TO ME
We asked students throughout Papua New Guinea what the National Goals enshrined in our Constitution mean to them. These are some of the best entries.
OVERALL WINNER: Peter Fauma (Business Economics Studies, Unitech Lae)
Rita Aroga is a Grade 8 student at Holy Spirit Primary School in Madang, Papua New Guinea. She is scared for her future, and the future of her own unborn children, as the government and landowners increasingly sell the land to make quick money. She urges Papua New Guineans to heed the wisdom of National Goal #4: for our natural resources and environment “to be conserved and used for the collective benefit of everyone, and be replenished for the benefit of future generations”. Watch a video of Rita talking about the National Goals here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoXETZgdGss&feature=youtu.be
Read an interview with Graham here:
OTHER COMMENDABLE ESSAYS:
- Belden Makuku (Business Studies, Unitech Lae)
- Yorine Inove (Business Studies, Unitech Lae)
- Niakupen Pondros (University of Papua New Guinea)
- Eleanor Maineke (Divine Word University)
- Clare Kliawi (Divine Word University)
- Leonard Fong Roka (Divine Word University)
- Brendolyn Yakos (Holy Spirit Primary School)
November 7, 2012 A BETTER KIND OF WEALTH: VANUATU AND THE MEANING OF WELL-BEING
Kenson and Cymbol are successful parents and homeowners in the island nation of Vanuatu. They garden, spend time with their kids and eat well. To pay for their children’s school fees, Cymbol weaves valuable straw mats that serve as local currency. The family lives off the bounty of their ancestral lands and has very little need for modern money. Because of this, the United Nations and others would count them as extremely impoverished. But a groundbreaking new study finds we can measure progress in Vanuatu in a much different way. Read more
November 6, 2012 SINA BROWN-DAVIS: THERE IS A PACIFIC ALTERNATIVE
“The time has come for us to reach out across the vast ocean that binds us to support each others’ struggles and start to organise to halt the annihilation that we as a peoples are facing”. Read more
October 31, 2012 HOW THE HUMBLE KAUKAU CAN TRANSFORM PNG
The sweet potato (kaukau) represents a growth industry ripe for investment. Since being introduced nearly 300 years ago, it is now the most important food crop in terms of both production and consumption. Downstream processing and value addition into crops like kaukau has the potential to benefit en masse, raise the economic value, improve food security and cash income levels, increase trade and replace/substitute imports, thereby contributing to broad-based economic growth and improvement in the living standards of the people. By Joel G. Waramboi
October 17, 2012 SAVÉ PNG: A TASTE OF BIOCULTURAL REVIVAL
In the Markham Valley, a local woman is using education, TV, and expressions of cultural pride to make sure that the food traditions of her homeland remain intact and vibrant. Jennifer Baing’s organisation Savé PNG believes “celebrating food is the first step towards community resiliency in the face of health, climate and cultural threats”. Via The Christensen Fund
October 5, 2012 MANUS PROJECT FILLS FARMING EXTENSION SERVICE GAP
October 1, 2012 MAKING LAND WORK IN MELANESIA?
Anthropologist Kirk Huffman says land is working in Melanesia – contrary to the view supported by AusAID, foreign economists and others. Huffman says they need to rethink the sense of linking our self-sufficient, superior Pacific with an failed western development model. Read post
September 27, 2012 PNG A PARADISE FOR SELF-STARTER BUSINESSMEN
What’s stopping other Papua New Guineans from following in the footsteps of local produce exporter Paradise Spices? We have the land, the farmers, the global market! Read story
September 11, 2012 ALTERNATIVE INDICATORS OF WELL-BEING IN MELANESIA
We need to change the way we measure ‘development’ in the #Pacific. A compelling new report provides hard stats to show that our ways are our future. Read story
September 9, 2012 SISTERS IN DEVELOPMENT
While the fruits of big-business development continue to pass them by, women throughout PNG are turning to their colourful traditional customs to support their communities. Last month, Our Pacific Ways recorded an inspiring ceremony where sacred customs blend with new beginnings. Watch our short film ‘Sisters in Development’ here.
September 7, 2012 SELLING OUR HAPPINESS TO BUY THEIR DEVELOPMENT
“The thing about happiness and being able to enjoy modern conveniences, functioning government services (health, law and justice, education) AND having extra money to spend is that you don’t NEED mining projects, or plantations, or agricultural projects, logging or anything that is alien to our culture to achieve this. Maybe it’s time we stopped buying ‘development’ and start making progress – doing it OUR way.” Via ActNow! PNG. Read post
September 3, 2012 O’NEILL’S BIGGEST CHALLENGE AS PM
“O’Neill has the challenge to define our separate path as a people and as a nation, not to allow us to disintegrate into a dependant economic basket case. Peter O’Neill must know what the national interest calls for in every case. He has to ensure we do not become an enclave of resource extraction, leaving behind polluted oceans and scarred landscapes, of an equally scarred and soul-less people, helpless, confused and poverty stricken, devoid of any real idea of who we are and where we are headed.” Via the Masalai Blog. Read story
August 31, 2012 GOOD SIGNS FOR PNG’S REAL ECONOMY
AS THE election dust clears, there are signs some leaders are putting their minds to supporting PNG’s most productive sector: its people. Read story
August 28, 2012 AREN’T WE ALL THE SAME?
A duel Kiribati-Australian citizen discovers a new understanding for Australia’s Aboriginal people and a new insight into discrimination of indigenous cultures. ”If you can, I urge you to go out somewhere and live a minimal life for a little bit. Come with me to Marakei next time and learn how to hunt for crabs in the mud, fetch water out of the well and make a hut out of a coconut tree. I guarantee you will realise how innovative and clever the people are that live on the land.” Read post
August 24, 2012 WHAT IS LIFE LIKE IN A DEVELOPED PACIFIC ISLAND?
Nauru has little option but to become a dumping ground – again – for refugees seeking asylum in Australia. Once one of the world’s most beautiful islands, mining has ravaged its natural resources and healthy standard of living. Does Nauru’s experience with ‘economic development’ hold lessons for other Pacific islands now experiencing foreign investment booms? Read post
August 22, 2012 IN OIL PALM PROVINCE, ONE COMMUNITY WITH A FUTURE
In the sea of oil palm in Ramu Valley (Madang province, PNG), Urigina village stands apart. For years, the people of Urigina have resisted attempts by oil palm corporations to take their land. The men and women of Urigina say the difference between them and the other villages is simple: their children have a future. Read more
August 20, 2012 HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR COMMUNITY
Madang Indigenous Pipol’s Forum engages with communities in Madang Province, PNG, to tell them they can change their future – without outside help. MIPF’s John Simoi explains how communities can take control of their destiny today. Read story
August 15, 2012 FARMERS WANT MORE GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS
Madang cocoa farmers have joined forces to create their own cocoa export business, with 136 farmers contributing K125 each to start the venture. The cooperative formed when the farmers realised their local government wasn’t going to help them generate income for their community and PNG’s economy. Read story
August 7, 2012 COPACABANA: A STORY OF THE RIO+20 EARTH SUMMIT
DAWN’s (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era) Rosa Koian attended the recent major UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil which attracted fierce criticism for having little meaningful outcomes at a time when the public is demanding real environmental action by world leaders. Koian describes how the failures of the conference were visible in the surrounding streets and communities. Read story
We made a short film to promote our PNG National Goals Essay Competition. Watch it here and be inspired.
More details about the competition below.
Entries close August 27! All the details here:
July 25, 2012 SOLOMONS’ MMF CONSIDERS ESTABLISHING MALAITA BANK
The Malaita Ma’asina Forum aims to create a commercial bank for Malaita, in a bid to challenge a path of development not controlled by them, that they believe is failing them. The bank would aim to finance SMEs to support the domestic economy. Via Island Sun. Read article
Marama Davidson argues an indigenous perspective has much to offer Aotearoa as New Zealand searches for a better way. “As the current world market free-trade capitalist approach is being called into question”, reinhabiting traditional ways presents a truly sustainable alternative. Via Maui Street. Read post
Martyn Namorong argues that if citizens supply the resource needs of the state, the state will protect the interests of its citizens. Right now revenue from outside companies and organisations supplies the government’s economic needs. But WE can change that – we have an abundance of natural wealth – and take charge of our future. Read here
July 13, 2012 HOMEGROWN FOOD FOR HEALTHY LIVES IN FIJI
In the Pacific, preventable diseases are increasing and budgets are tightening as we replace our naturally healthy homegrown food with fattening, chemically enhanced store food. A new program in Fiji aims to show villages that eating our own food is the best way to a long and enjoyable life. By Serafina Qalo
July 10, 2012 THE SOLOMONS LEARN DEVELOPMENT LESSONS FROM BOUGAINVILLE
Four Solomon Islanders recently set out on a fact-finding mission to Papua New Guinea to learn from their experiences in mining. They found out the Bougainville economy is growing and the region is being developed – not from mining but from agriculture. “Money we earn from sweat and agriculture is real money that leads to real development.” Read more
July 9, 2012 GIVING AN ENDANGERED LANGUAGE BACK TO ITS PEOPLE
What is lost when a language falls into silence? A project between PNG village Wautogik in Wewak and a US university aims to preserve the community’s Tok Ples for future generations. To help preserve their way of life, enabling them to re-draw a sense of identity without limiting their ability to live in the modern world. Via UVA Today. Read more
Last week it was reported landowners of Fiji’s second largest island, Vanua Levu, placed a tabu on part of its coast in response to declining fish stocks. Using this traditional method of marine conservation is increasingly the basis for modern marine conservation efforts in Fiji. Read more
Samap village in Papua New Guinea’s East Sepik province is like many other places in the country – isolated and without road access. It lies in a tiny secluded bay facing the Bismarck sea. The village houses stand on ancient rickety posts bearing withering sago thatch roofs. The community’s isolation masks a transformation that has been happening over the last three years. A transformation driven by a small group of businessmen on a path to becoming self-made millionaires. The people have taken control of their land and are becoming leaders in the Buai (betelnut, areca) trade. They’re making almost a million kina every year by trading with buai buyers from Papua New Guinea’s highlands. WATCH FILM
July 2, 2012 OUR ECONOMY ENSURES EQUITABLE DEVELOPMENT: Pt 2
In 2011 the National Informal Economy Policy was launched to promote positive changes to PNG’s informal economy. What can be done to improve the safety and dignity of our most important entrepreneurs while strengthening their contribution to national development? By Catherine Wilson
June 29, 2012 PNG NATIONAL GOALS & DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES ESSAY COMPETITION *Updated*
Wanem skelim blong yu long ol Bikpela Stia Tingting i stap insait long Mama Lo blong PNG? What do Papua New Guinea’s National Goals and Directive Principles mean to you? Take part in our essay competition and win prizes. Read article
July 29, 2012 OUR ECONOMY ENSURES EQUITABLE DEVELOPMENT: Pt 1
Although Papua New Guinea is known as a resource-rich country, 85 per cent of the population depends on the ‘informal’ economy for a living. A third of PNG’s GDP is generated by the People’s Economy, without the destructive impacts of mining or logging. What could our traders achieve for PNG with better governance, infrastructure and facilities? By Catherine Wilson
June 27, 2012 BUYING THE VALUE OF USELESS PLASTIC
Remember when trade was about more than plastic money? When it was about social interaction and pride in our knowledge, skills and resources? Today we have bought into the value of plastic money that has no value of its own, that has no relationship to us. Via Klairehsays. Read article
June 25, 2012 LESSONS FROM THE BLOCKADE
Do Bougainvilleans have a choice for their development apart from mining? The experience of the women who created a self-sufficiency revolution during the war years suggests they do. Whether Panguna is reopened or not, Bougainvilleans can benefit – like all Papua New Guineans, and all Pacific Islanders – by organising themselves to control their own development. Read article
June 21, 2012 FLYING THE PACIFIC FLAG AT RIO+20
A group of women are determined the Pacific will not be forgotten in the chaos of the gargantuan Rio+20 Earth Summit, which opened in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, today. The women say the major environmental crises faced by the Pacific – among them a corporate-driven landgrab and Experimental Seabed Mining – need to be on the global environmental agenda. Read article
June 20, 2012 TO BE A SAMOAN: A BLESSING INDEED
After 50 years of independence, what does it mean to be Samoan? And what if you were born Samoan but live in another country? Patrick Thomsen says for all their diversity, Samoans around the world share a common bond: all believe in alofa and aiga (love and family). Read article
June 11, 2012 ‘PROSPERITY’ MUST RECOGNISE THE PEOPLE’S ECONOMY
What does it mean to talk of a ‘prosperous future’ for Pacific? Researcher Victoria Stead writes that a vision of prosperity for the Pacific must recognise the continuing vitality and centrality of the ‘informal’ sector – the People’s Economy – in the livelihoods of Pacific peoples. Read article
June 8, 2012 FRIENDLY ECONOMICS
Smaller enterprises which utilise people’s talents and their natural resources is too often disregarded as a non-viable economic system. But it may be perfect for the Pacific, argues United Nations Population Fund’s (Pacific) Dirk Jena. Read article
June 6, 2012 BLACK MAN TOWN: A BETTER FUTURE FOR VANUATU
Vanuatu has more than one path to choose from to realise economic growth. A Tanna local says communities should use their natural resources so the people hold onto their wealth – like the self-sufficient Black Man Town. Read article
May 31, 2o12 TEPTEP CAN FEED NATION
A remote district on the border of Madang and Morobe provinces is ready to become the food bowl of PNG. All they need is a good road. Read article
May 29, 2012 WHAT CAN THE GOVERNMENT DO FOR SMALLHOLDERS?
Smallholders are already the backbone of PNG’s economy. With a little government support, they could transform the nation’s fortunes, according to VICo coordinator and Madang farmer Yat Paol. Read article
MAY 26, 2012 SAMAP’S BUAI ENTREPRENEURS: ON THEIR WAY TO MILLIONS
The Samap communit in East Sepik earn K40,000 per month from their thriving buai trade. Samap shows a way for a Pacific future where development is controlled by communities, not corporations or greedy governments. Read article
May 25, 2012 WHY THE VILLAGE IS CRITICAL TO NATIONAL WELL-BEING
Since 1982, Solomon Island Development Trust (SIDT) has worked with villages across the Solomons to promote community empowerment. SIDT’s John Roughan describes how his concept of wealth has changed over those years, as he realised community control of development is in the interest of the entire nation. Read article
May 21, 2012 KENYAN VILLAGERS GROW THEIR WAY OUT OF FOOD AID
Like some communities in the Pacific are finding out, this village in Kenya saw their lives turn around when they decided they no longer wanted to be dependent on aid hand-outs. Not only are they no longer hungry, they are exporting to the world. If they can do it in this dry part of Africa, we can surely do it in the Liquid Continent! Read article
May 17, 2012 SURVIVING AT SEA KIRIBATI-STYLE (WITHOUT GIVING YOURSELF AN ENEMA)
I-Kiribati are the best navigators, fishermen and survivors in the world. Last year, the story of two Kiribati fishermen who survived after 33 days lost at sea proved it. Via Marita @ thelittleislandthatcould. Read article
May 15, 2012 HOW ‘STONE AGE’ IS TRADITIONAL DIPLOMACY?
It’s little known that diplomacy was a way of life in traditional PNG societies, and a reason for our harmonious existence for over 50,000 years. PNG’s remarkable ‘stone age’ conflict resolution provides some valuable insights in troubled modern times. By Scott Waide
May 14, 2012 BUAI TRADE CAN BE A WIN-WIN FOR ALL
Recent initiatives in Fiji, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands show that a little bit of community and government support can make our vital self-employed trade a win-win for everyone. Read article
Autonomous Bougainville Government president and PNG Constitutional father John Momis addressed Madang’s Divine Word University last Friday, May 4. He said the nation’s future depends on people returning to the values inscribed in the Constitution’s National Goals and Directive Principles. Read an edited extract of his speech here.
May 8, 2012 WARRIORS BECOME WORRIERS
When we were warriors and traders, we did things that would benefit our family, tribe or our clan. We’re still trading, but our motives have changed to self-interest. Via ActNow! PNG
May 7, 2012 OUR ENTREPRENEURS AREN’T CRIMINALS
The mainstream media does not pay our self-employed businesswomen and men – the people who truly drive the Pacific economies – their due respect. Our buai sellers and market vendors are entrepreneurs holding our countries together – we should be proud of them. Read article
May 4, 2012 MEDIA FREEDOM STARTS WITH DEFENDING OUR WAYS
Acclaimed Papua New Guinea blogger Martyn Namorong addressed Divine Word University on Media Freedom Day today. His speech outlines the imperative role of the media in defending our Papua New Guinean ways, which allowed Papua New Guineans to be economically and politically independent for over 50,000 years. Read speech
May 3, 2012 MEDIA FREEDOM IS ABOUT ALL OTHER FREEDOMS
This Friday, May 4 is Media Freedom Day in Papua New Guinea. As Pacific journalists and media publications face more pressures in doing their job, we argue that protecting media freedom is the gatekeeper to protecting all other freedoms. Read article
May 2, 2012 PEOPLE’S ECONOMY: THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS
A South African street market turns over $2 billion rand, supports over 100,000 people, and demonstrates that business can be successful built on humility, innovation, tolerance for difference, transparency and honesty. As the corporate ‘formal economy’ falls apart, journalist Saffron Baggallay argues the economy controlled and run by people is the future of business. Read article
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