United States Stands With Bougainville's Women

For Immediate Release

Monday, May 19, 2014

Building on the recent National Women’s Forum sponsored by the Embassy and the Government of Papua New Guinea, the Embassy is pleased to announce a comprehensive program to advance inclusive and sustainable development in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARB).

Bougainville’s women are effective peacemakers, community leaders, and champions of civil and human rights. Dynamic women-headed civil society organizations are leading their communities towards brighter futures.

To build on these achievements, U.S. Ambassador Walter North will launch the Women Peace Building Initiatives Project in Buka on May 20. This two-year, $1.5 million project will partner with strong women’s civil society organizations to accelerate progress in the ARB. Funding for this program will be provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Counterpart International.

The United States is committed to working with gifted and dedicated local partners to extend networks of best practice, to grow and deepen critical skills and to improve service delivery. This should translate into a greater awareness and increased understanding of women’s rights; better treatment and counseling for ex-combatants and civilians; and new economic opportunities.

“The women of Bougainville are awesome. They walk the talk. It is a privilege for us to walk with them towards a better tomorrow for Bougainville,” said Ambassador North.

Counterpart International is working with local civil society organizations to make awards to qualified organizations to:

  • Extend quality trauma counseling services for ex-combatants and civilians
  • Expand prevention and treatment services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence
  • Support ongoing local stakeholders dialogue and implementation of the ARB National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security

The program will have a special focus on engaging youth.

In March, Counterpart International held three grant application workshops in Buka, Arawa, and Buin. These workshops generated a number of strong proposals. A first round of grant awards is expected imminently.

USAID assistance in the Pacific Islands region supports programs that help communities adapt to the negative impacts of global climate change and environmental degradation; assist the government and civil society of Papua New Guinea (PNG) expand HIV prevention, care and treatment models; strengthen women, peace and security in PNG; support elections in Fiji; and provide disaster mitigation, relief and reconstruction in Federal States of Micronesia and Republic of Marshall Islands. For more information about USAID programs in the Pacific Islands, visit http://www.usaid.gov/pacific-islands.