UN Women Official Mission to Autonomous Region of Bougainville
09 June 2022
UN Women in Papua New Guinea visited the beautiful island of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB).
On June 08, UN Women Country Representative, Themba Kalua together with Jennifer Margulies from the United States of America Embassy in Port Moresby were on an official mission to Buka to explore ways of strengthening support to the women of Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB). The two delegates met with different stakeholders such as women leaders, peace builders, and government officials.
Themba and Jennifer had a lively discussion with women leaders who shared stories of their participation in peace and reconciliation processes in Bougainville. Women leaders identified areas that needed support for the women to actively participate in the peace processes that would lead to the Independent Bougainville.
Anna Sabur was one of the women who led the peace and reconciliation processes during and after the Bougainville conflict. She mediated between warring functions in the south, north and central regions of AROB to come together and surrender the arms.
“I was a mediator. Taking the risk to go to the bush and request the warring functions to surrender was not easy. We sent them messages, and they all met in one place with chiefs and leaders. After listening to our request, they accepted to lay down their gun,” she said
The women leaders requested for programmes that will address post conflict trauma especially among the youths, women, and ex-combatants.
“We need psychosocial support and trainings to the youths. They are still traumatized and causing trouble in communities. Mothers who gave birth during the conflict went through a lot. The need specialized programmes to cope with trauma,” she said
On the last day,Themba addressed over 45 women peace builders, Chairladies and Deputy Chairs, and ward members, who were attending a two-day peace building training at Adeeves Guest House in Buka. The training covered areas such as peace and security, and contextualized peace building, Gender and Human Rights, governance structures, political participation, and women’s leadership.
Themba encouraged the participants to maintain peace in their communities. “This is an encouragement to all of you to maintain peace. Maintaining peace requires a lot of work. It does not happen automatically. That is why we have this work workshop.”
He asked men to work together with female leaders saying that gender equality is not about men versa-as women but working together to deliver results to the people of Bougainville.
He concluded by promising UN Women’s continued support to the people of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea as whole. “We will continue to explore how we can strengthen our support to the people of Bougainville” he said.