Papua New Guinea (PNG) is one of our closest neighbours – a country of breathtaking beauty and one that is rich in natural resources.
But day-to-day life in PNG is tough going for most. With a population of 9 million, close to 60% are under 25 and 85% of the population live in rural communities.
The complexities are many. A lack of access to basic services, law and order issues, climate change, food insecurity, youth unemployment and poor infrastructure means many economic opportunities are not within reach for young people in need.
In spite of the current social and economic landscape, one organisation, Save the Children Papua New Guinea is giving agency to young people in need to build the life they want for themselves.
Regina is from Lae, the second largest city in PNG. She has a small poultry project and is a budding entrepreneur.
She’s looking to scale up her business after undertaking 10 days of training with the Small Medium Enterprise Corporation (SMEC).
Save the Children partners with local businesses through the Small Medium Enterprise Corporation (SMEC) to give young people opportunities to put these skills into practice.
“I have a small chicken business and I feel with the new knowledge gained; it will help guide me in growing my chicken business.”
The training was part of Save the Children’s, Life Skills for Success program which supports at-risk young people to develop the foundational skills to set them up for success in education and employment pathways. They have a strong focus of supporting the most marginalised, particularly young girls and young people with disabilities.
In the last year 120 young people aged 14-24 completed the program, learning everything from basic business start-ups; financial literacy and management; law and order; drug use prevention; and health and wellbeing, including reproductive health; and other transferable life skills.
Hand Heart Pocket has been supporting the Life Skills for Success program in Port Moresby and in the Morobe Province since 2020, giving $500,000 over three years.
We also sponsored four staff from Save the Children in PNG to attend the Social Enterprise World Forum in Brisbane last year.
They joined close to 3,000 participants from 93 countries to learn about the power of the social enterprise and how it can empower marginalised groups and transform communities.
The opportunity to come to Australia to network and learn from leaders in the social enterprise space was not something Betty could pass up.
She said, “We met business owners who make material fabric from mango fibre and one individual who created his own IT company. While another sole business prints t-shirts to create awareness about social issues. It was an eye opener for me to learn about the social enterprise movement and how entrepreneurs succeeds.”
Photo: Regina is a budding entrepreneur looking to scale up her small poultry project after taking part in the Life Skills for Success program.