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Gender equitable agriculture in PNG - institutions and youth

Gender equitable agricultural extension through institutions and youth engagement in Papua New Guinea: A summary

Key project details

UC Staff: Associate Professor Josephine Caffery (Click here for Contact Details)

ACIAR project: SSS-2018-137

Countries: Australia and Papua New Guinea

Aims: To adapt and apply the Family Farm Teams model for institutions (churches) and youth engagement in PNG.

Objectives:

  1. To explore and develop the capacity of PNG churches to work in a gender inclusive way to engage rural agricultural communities in smallholder farm development.
  2. To explore and develop pathways for increasing PNG youth involvement in family farm teams and sustainable farming futures.

Project Summary

Professor Lalen Simeon
Professor Lalen Simeon
(Project PNG Country Manager: PAU)

In PNG women smallholders undertake the major labour in farming whilst also fulfilling valued social roles such as family care. However, women face significant barriers in agriculture, including very few opportunities to access agricultural training and unequal gendered family roles in labour and decision making. Youth also face a number of barriers to productive and valued roles in agriculture but little research has been conducted in this area to understand how youth (particularly young women) relate to agricultural issues and how to engage youth (particularly young women) in agricultural futures.

The Family Farm Teams (FFT) model has successfully assisted women smallholders and their families to improve their family livelihoods by developing an equitable and effective ‘family business’ approach to their farming activities. This project will ensure that the successful FFT approach is scaled and sustained by embedding it into core PNG institution’s agricultural programs and exploring agricultural challenges and enablers for youth.

Using an exploratory participatory action research approach, this project will adapt and apply the FFT approach to 1) empower PNG women farmers through religious institutions and 2) engage PNG youth in agriculture. It will explore two objectives:

1. To explore and develop the capacity of PNG churches to work in a gender inclusive way to engage rural agricultural communities in smallholder farm development.

As 95.6% of the PNG population identify as Christian, this project will collaborate with the PNG Church Partnership Program (CPP). FFTs trial activities and the relevant churches will be identified through a major workshop where CPP church leaders will be trained in the FFT approach. The CPP will select churches and provinces to be engaged as partners. As churches have a strong presence in all areas of PNG, this model has the potential to reach thousands of farming families across all provinces, including communities where there are no other institutional supports.

2. To explore and develop pathways for increasing PNG youth involvement in family farm teams and sustainable farming futures.

Using family-based action learning and peer education to identify opportunities for female and male youth within agriculture a FFT youth approach will be developed and trialled through existing FFT networks in East New Britain. The FFT peer education approach will be used to train youth as agricultural Youth Community Educators and to develop a youth cohort as FFT researchers.

The country leader for this project will be the Pacific Adventist University who will engage the East New Britain Women and Youth in Agriculture Cooperative Societies Association and the University of Natural Resources and Environment located in East New Britain.

WYiA Team
From left: Carol Misiel (WYiA Executive Member); Doreen Tunama (WYiA Member); Kiteni Kusunan (WYiA Chair), Florence (WYiA Member), Kwadile Tuam (WYiA Member)

The impact of the adoption, adaption and integration of the FFT approach will include:

  1. scaling up and out the FFT approach through church-based organisations’ existing agricultural programs in rural and remote communities; and
  2. scaling out the FFT approach to youth examining the challenges, enablers, attitudes and aspirations of youth, to identify and develop roles for them in family farm businesses.

The main beneficiaries of this project will be PNG rural farmers: women, men and youth (particularly young women), and partner churches. Potential flow on beneficiaries include PNG provincial government, universities, and PNG and other large non-government and community-based organisations.

Family Farm Teams – PNG & Solomon Islands

This project will work in close collaboration with the FFT project in the Solomon Islands Improving agricultural development opportunities for female smallholders in rural Solomon Islands. The project leaders will draw on literature and other data collected within each project to investigate the differences and similarities between PNG and the Solomon Islands. The findings will inform the adaptability and transferability of the FFT approach to women, men and youth in other Pacific linguistic, religious and cultural communities, as well as other churches and government and non-government sectors.

These two projects will examine and compare gendered challenges and enablers within agricultural environments, which will assist in further adapting and scaling out the FFT approach to farmers in other locations.