The Future is Equal

Woman in a garden in Papua New Guinea

Oxfam is helping to improve the lives of people in rural Papua New Guinea.

Country profile:

Amongst the country’s towering mountains, deep valleys and tropical forests lie a multitude of communities all with their own languages, cultures and histories. Rural PNG is home to 80% of the population, yet these families have seen few benefits from the country’s thriving gas and oil industry due to corruption across political, legal and state institutions.

These forces combined with challenging physical geography and poor infrastructure, such as roading, have stunted economic development in these areas. This makes it hard for locals to sustainably engage in anything more than subsistence farming as often transporting their crops to the larger, lucrative markets in the cities is unaffordable. Unsurprisingly, income inequality in PNG is the highest in the Asia Pacific region. Growth-fuelled inflation is causing further imbalances, meaning basic items are now out of reach for rural farmers.

Statistics from the UNDP Human Development Report and The World Factbook:

  • Capital: Port Moresby
  • Population: 7,027,332 (2018)
  • The largest island in the Pacific
  • 80% of the population live in rural areas
  • Government: constitutional monarchy with parliamentary democracy
  • GDP per capita (USD): $3,700 (2017)
  • Human Development Index: 0.544 (2017)
  • Adult literacy: 64.2% (2015)
  • Life expectancy: 65.7 years (2017)
  • Access to safe water: 40% (2015)
  • Access to toilets: 18.9% (2015)
  • Infant mortality rate (per 1000 live births): 42.4 (2017)
  • Language: Pidgin, English, over 700 indigenous languages
  • Religion: Christianity, indigenous beliefs

Key projects:

Oxfam Aotearoa currently supports Oxfam in Papua New Guinea to implement two programs. HARVEST (a livelihoods project) and WASH (a water and sanitation project). Oxfam in Papua New Guinea is also running a third project around gender justice.

PDF icon FLOW Programme in Papua New Guinea.pdf

Oxfam’s HARVEST project works with local partners to improve the income and lives of over 2,000 families so they can send their kids to school, access decent healthcare and reliably put nutritious food on the table.

PDF icon HARVEST Programme in Papua New Guinea.pdf


Children farming in Papua New Guinea

We’re helping farming families boost the quality and quantity of their vegetable yields by improving planting and pest-control techniques. This means they can shift from subsistence to market-oriented farming.

With more knowledge, these farmers can then access larger, more profitable markets.We’re also partnering with two local honey businesses to train and support beekeepers. On-site experts provide and replenish low-cost supplies, create market connections, and give advice through the ‘Honey Hotline.’ This has so far doubled the incomes of many families.

As their incomes grow, we help women and men develop financial management skills to jointly plan, budget, and save for their financial goals. To improve the security of their savings, we also link them with community-savings providers.

Oxfam’s WASH programme works with local partners to improve access to basic sanitation and safe water, and promote hygiene practices in rural schools and health facilities in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea.

About half of Papua New Guinea’s population live in the Highlands (approximately 3 million people) but their services often are inadequate and cannot cater for everyone.

By building water tanks, latrines, showers and by promoting good hygiene, we’re helping over 32,000 people stay healthy.

By supporting Oxfam you will:

  • Help farmers to grow, harvest, process and market their crops to attain a better income.
  • Equip families with harvesting and preservation so they can grow nutritious foods to sustain their families.
  • Support women and men to work together in their families to set and achieve financial goals.
  • Increase the skills and knowledge of local beekeepers and vegetable farmers to maximise their yields and earn a decent income.
  • Empower women by ensuring they have an equal say in their families’ financial decisions and can safely access financial services.
  • Improve health through increased access to clean water, new toilets and showers, in rural schools and health facilities.
  • Improve education around the importance of good hygiene practices and behaviours.
  • Involve rural school children, teachers, and health facility staff to locally promote the importance of hygiene and sanitation education.
  • Strengthen the sanitation and hygiene capacities of schools, healthcare facilities, government institutions and partner NGOs.
  • Build awareness among government stakeholders about the importance of water and hygiene in school, health centres and other public spaces.

The latest news:

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea

Oxfam concerned with the recent spike in PNG COVID-19 cases

Oxfam in PNG with its local partners is deeply concerned with the recent spike in the number of COVID-19 cases reported in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The recent increase within the communities exposes many people, particularly the most vulnerable, to the risk of possibly contracting the virus. Oxfam PNG Country Director, Anand Das, explained that in response to the alarming number of new COVID-19 cases Oxfam remains committed to supporting the work being done by Government in ensuring the safety of its citizens especially in vulnerable communities by re-enforcing the need to adhere to COVID-19 protocols and preventative measures. “We …

Here’s how we’re helping rural farmers in Papua New Guinea

The onions from Steven Bare’s garden in the remote highlands of Papua New Guinea bring more smiles than tears. He’s thrilled to harvest another bumper crop. Steven and his wife Maria have turned their family’s fortunes around since taking part in an Oxfam project that helps rural farmers improve the quality and quantity of their bulb onions. Steven says, “In the past, we spent time in the gardens, but not as seriously as what we are doing today. When we got our heads together and started this group, Oxfam introduced the bulb onions to help us move forward. Oxfam funded …

It’s my dream to continue this work

Photo: Patrick Moran/OxfamAUS “To the Australians and New Zealanders who are donating their money to support this work, it’s really touching the lives of the rural people. And that’s what I like to see. When you support people it brings joy to your heart.” Oxfam is working alongside Kelly Inae, who owns Mountain Honey, and supporting him to provide training, advice and affordable equipment to rural beekeepers as part of a four year livelihoods project in Papua New Guinea. “In a year of working with Oxfam I’ve trained almost 80 people. I supply them with my bee boxes and train them. They …
NGF Highlands Honey Bee Team PNG.jpg

Creating a buzz for Highlands’ honey producers

An innovative small company is creating a buzz in Papua New Guinea this week as it launches a mobile support service for local beekeepers in the Eastern Highlands Province. The New Guinea Fruit bee extension team. From left: Justin James, Wilson Tomato, Sally Watson, Solomon Loie, Kereve Hagu. Photo: David Shields / Oxfam  An innovative small company is creating a buzz in Papua New Guinea this week as it launches a mobile support service for local beekeepers in the Eastern Highlands Province. New Guinea Fruit has partnered with international development agency Oxfam in PNG to help beekeepers increase honey production …
Rodney Dekker/Oxfam

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