In Papua New Guinea, the informal economy is central to the livelihoods of approximately 80 to 85% of the population. The informal economy revolves around women’s food production, distribution and trade, and street trading. Since early 2000s, the Papua New Guinea government has made efforts to develop laws and policies for the promotion and protection of the informal economy. The Informal Sector Development and Control Act 2004 opened the doors to legalise informal trade by facilitating and encouraging the development of informal businesses in urban and rural areas. However, challenges in implementing laws and policies at provincial and local government level have resulted in vendors, who are mostly women, sometimes working in unsafe and unhealthy environments.
PPPA, alongside partner organisations, is using a comprehensive approach to improve conditions for informal vendors. They are strengthening the capacity of the vendors to better understand the relevant laws and policies and to be able to plan, organise and advocate with local governments, and strengthening the knowledge of provincial and local governments on relevant laws and policies, as well as facilitating gender sensitising and social inclusion trainings. Meetings are being facilitated between the vendors, their organisations, local government and key stakeholders on the collection, analysis and the use of data in support of enhanced planning. The scheme is also piloting a new model of participatory governance, in local informal economy development, through the development of a business case that can be scaled up for replication by provincial and national governments.
At the end of the project, it is expected that East Sepik and Jiwaka provinces will be more committed to effective local implementation of the relevant laws and policies, with informal vendors benefitting from a safer and more conducive working environment.
Photo Credit: HELP Resources
Pacific People’s Partnership Association
Pacific People’s Partnership Association (PPPA), has been working in the South Pacific region for over forty years mainly in the areas of peace building, environmental sustainability, social justice and community development. PPPA is currently focused on promoting climate resilience and gender equity in South Pacific communities, and on facilitating knowledge exchange between Pacific Islanders and the Indigenous peoples of Australia, New Zealand and Canada. www.ckc.victoriafoundation.bc.ca/org/pacific-peoples-partnership-association
HELP Resources, established 1999, has experience of working on human rights, gender equality and social development. HELP Resources has served as a partner working on projects with PPPA, for more than a decade particularly in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. In the past, HELP Resources has been supported by UNICEF, UNDP, DFAT Australia and New Zealand Aid.
Voice for Change
Voice for Change, established in 2003, has grown from a small NGO working with rural women famers to become a provincial NGO working on advocacy, women’s empowerment and gender based violence. VFC has been successful in mobilising men and women in a major campaign to against violent conflict and violence against women. VFC has received funding support from Global Fund for Women, OXFAM PNG, and the UN Global Trust Fund.
Australia Volunteers International
Australia Volunteers International, is an Australian not-for-profit organisation committed to achieving economic and social development outcomes by connecting people to share experience and knowledge. They have experience of providing technical assistance to local NGOs in Papua New Guinea and are able to contribute to bring about economic, social and environmental change for communities.