The Future is Equal

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 Papua New Guinea 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 barriers combined with challenging physical geography and poor infrastructure, such as roads, have stunted economic development in these rural 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 often too expensive 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
  • 39.9% of the population lives below the basic needs poverty line (2021)
  • 69.2% of the population have no access to limited-standard drinking water (2021)
  • 79.8% have no access to limited-standard sanitation (2021)
  • 82.6% have no access to electricity (2021)
  • 93.7% of employed women are engaged in informal employment like subsistence agriculture and local trading. (2019)
  • 70% of women experience a form of physical and sexual assault in their lifetime, and are five times more likely to be victimised at home than on the street. (2017)
PNG Website image

Key projects:

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

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.

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 doubled the incomes of many families so far.

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.

Learn more here: HARVEST Programme in Papua New Guinea.pdf

 
 Oxfam’s FLOW 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 many of these people have limited or no access to clean water or sanitation services.

By building water tanks, latrines, showers and by promoting good hygiene, we’re helping over 32,000 people stay healthy. In addition, installing private toilets in schools means that teenage girls can continue their education, rather than staying home on days they have their periods.

Image of a boy drinking water, and a girl in a classroom below
Three children smiling and holding onions

By supporting Oxfam you will:

  • Help farmers adapt to climate change so that they can grow, harvest, process and market their crops to earn a better income.
  • Increase the skills and knowledge of local beekeepers and vegetable farmers to maximise their yields.
  • Help ensure that women have an equal say in their families’ financial decisions and can safely access financial services.
  • Improve health through improved education and increased access to clean water, new toilets and showers, in rural schools and health facilities.
  • Build awareness among government stakeholders about the importance of funding and maintaining water and hygiene infrastructure in schools, health centres and other public spaces.

The latest news:

Papua New Guinea

A mother carries her young child on her shoulder.

Oxfam: New Zealand must do more for PNG – urgently

Papua New Guinea faces a deadly pandemic of misinformation In response to the New Zealand government sending a medical and logistics support team to Papua New Guinea (PNG) over the weekend, Oxfam Aotearoa says that while essential supplies and support is a good contribution, the government can, and must, do more. Oxfam Aotearoa Communications and Advocacy Director Dr Jo Spratt said: “Recently, we heard Hon. Minister Mahuta outline how Aotearoa would partner with Pacific countries to achieve resilience. Referring to our Pacific neighbours as family, the Minister recognised our deep and enduring whakapapa connections – Tātai Hono, and reiterated the importance of Tātou Tātou – all of us …
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 …
Onion-Harvest-Papua-New-Guinea

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 …

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