Every year on 8th March women are recognized globally for contributions towards the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. ‘International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated by women to recognise contribution and to raise awareness on gender equality.
In 2012, when the Community Mine Continuation Agreements (CMCA) came up for review, up to 30 women leaders participated in the negotiation process. Each region was represented by three women negotiators with six from the Ok Tedi Mine Villages.
During the negotiations, the CMCA male leaders agreed to increase women and children’s compensation package to 10%. The use of these funds would be decided by the women leaders for development to benefit the communities.
Today, nine actively operating Women & Children’s Associations in the Ok Tedi Mine’s footprint area are delivering significant community projects.
The women executives from the associations and members continue to be empowered through capacity-building trainings and workshops. Other financial literacy, program management, and project nomination and budgeting training sessions have been delivered to women in their communities.
Regular forums at the community level, project nomination meetings, and village consultations are prioritised to ensure transparency and decision making from the bottom up. Women nominate and approve funding for: life skills training (baking, sewing); youth mobilisation trainings and workshops; community asset purchase and delivery (dinghies, outboard motors, vehicles), and infrastructure construction (community learning centers, aid post refurbishment, classrooms). The women are proud that they have contributed to educating many CMCA youths through the CMCA scholarship support program. Some of these students have returned as professionals to contribute to development in the Western Province.
The women of the CMCA today are investors in real estate, plant and light vehicle hire, and the Cassowary Hotel in Kiunga.
They have also invested in sustainable agribusiness being shareholders of Fly Vanilla Limited under WestAgro Holdings. This is a significant project changing the Western Province from being mine dependent to an agriculture-based economy.
For the South Fly Women Associations, investing in fisheries is a sustainable option. Currently, small steps are being taken for 3 villages in the Kiwaba Region with the focus being mud crabs.
The women of CMCA have broken the bias and have been recognised as key partners in development.
Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF) recognises the women of CMCA as our development partners in Western Province.