"I am now realizing that development starts with me": Yame Village in Southern Highlands Welcomes Community Peace for Development and Planning
16 July 2021
In the natural and human-induced Highlands region of PNG, the UN is working in partnership with all levels of Government to create conditions for peace.
The Highlands Region of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is prone to natural and human-induced hazards. Human-induced hazards such as tribal violence often result in destruction of property and household assets, loss in human lives and population displacement.
The United Nations in PNG through its Highlands Joint Programme (UN HJP) is working in partnership with the Government at all levels to create conditions for peace, targeting communities affected by conflict in Hela Province (HP) and Southern Highlands Province (SHP).
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) through the UN HJP and funding from the UN Peacebuilding Fund (UN PBF) is facilitating a 5-day community-level planning (12-16 July 2021) on peace and sustainable development in Yame community in SHP. The community-planning sessions promote the equal -participation of all members of the community in mapping conflict triggers, risk mitigation measures, partnerships, and development initiatives. This will lead into the drafting of a Community Peace for Development Plan (CPDP) that align with national and international priorities including the PNG’s Vision 2050 and UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Through UN PBF’s funding, IOM will also work with communities of Tigibi, Kikita 2 and Guala in HP and Yame, Meki, Pambel and Munihu in SHP to develop and implement CPDPs, and this will achieved through material support to complete community-led projects that promote peace and sustainable development.
Representatives from various groups in Yame village including internally displaced persons, women, church leaders and persons living with disabilities are participating in the community-level planning sessions.
Mrs. Mary Paul from Yame community thanked IOM for working in her community to promote peace. “I used to think that promoting peace and development in communities is solely the government’s responsibility, but I am now realizing that development starts with me,” she noted. "This is the first time I am involved in such capacity development and I am excited,” she added.
Following an opening prayer in one of the sessions in Yame, a church leader Pastor Mark highlighted “It is an honor to be part of this CPDP Planning team. What we contribute to this planning will pave the way for a better future for our village and the district amid many challenges. If we do this well, I believe it will be a legacy, a foundation for a good future.” The community truly embraced the planning exercise contributing fresh garden produce for meals to supplement IOM arrangements for the 5-day planning session.