Women’s Protection and Empowerment
The Foundation’s approach to Women’s Protection and Empowerment supports Oil Search’s company-wide workforce initiatives as well as focusing on key community priorities.
The Foundation works alongside Oil Search to ensure employees have access to information and support to address gender based violence as well as lead positive change within their communities.
For example, the Foundation is implementing a small grants programme that allows staff access to funds to deliver targeted activities around the prevention of family and sexual violence.
Community programmes include:
- working with faith-based leaders in Gulf and Southern Highlands to help them deliver appropriate messaging and support;
- providing support to women’s groups at Hela Provincial Hospital to improve security;
- providing men with the tools to be champions for change; and
- supporting national women’s organisations, such as the Business Coalition for Women and the Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee, in their important work.
From 2017, the Foundation will also implement a comprehensive programme to respond to the significant problem of family and sexual violence in Hela province, by addressing gender based violence across the entire health sector and community.
Activities will include training at all levels of the Provincial Health Authority, community prevention and awareness activities, outreach, communication materials, mentoring, counselling and salary support for Hela Provincial Hospital’s Family Support Centre. The Foundation will consider how to expand this programme to Southern Highlands and Gulf in 2018.
Leadership and Education
Education is a priority for the Foundation. Communities consistently highlight literacy as critical to their development. The Foundation recognises that bringing literacy to communities provides a cornerstone for improving almost every aspect of their lives.
In partnership with provincial and district governments as well as local school communities, the Foundation is implementing a new and innovative literacy programme. The programme has adapted the successful early childhood model developed by the local NGO Buk bilong Pikinini to open literacy libraries in Hela, Southern Highlands and Gulf provinces.
The Foundation is helping communities convert classrooms into reading centres, train local community members as teachers and ensure each library has at least 3,000 books and other educational materials.
A recent evaluation of the Buk bilong Pikinini model shows that most children will improve their reading by 37% within five months, with more than 90% able to read by the end of a 12 month period. While the initial focus is on early childhood literacy, the programme will progressively include women.
In addition to literacy, the Foundation is collaborating with Oil Search’s wider scholarship initiative to train health workers, who are much-needed across PNG. It is also working in partnership with a number of local organisations to develop innovative leadership programmes, especially for young adults.