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Empowering Panguna women to participate with confidence in decision-making processes of importance to their communities was the focus of a five-day program in Arawa last week that was backed by UN Women.

BCL was delighted to participate in the program and recognises that the redevelopment of the Panguna mine will be ‘a journey of collective effort’ with the inclusion of local women critical to success.

During the week a series of sessions and workshops were held exploring themes such as leadership and decision-making, identifying community needs and solutions, sustainable development, dispute resolution and negotiation, peacebuilding in mining communities, the importance of mentorship and developing action plans.

The sessions were facilitated by UN Women with specialised leadership training provided by the Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation. Members of BCL’s local engagement team Lohial Nuau and Elly Sawa conducted awareness sessions with respect to BCL’s activities under its EL01 exploration licence and the opportunities that the project will present.

BCL also explained the concept of ‘Women in Mining’ under PNG’s Mineral Resources Authority, which frames participation by women landowners in the various stages of development projects to ensure their economic and social interests are fully recognised. The status of the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the people of Bougainville as the soon to be clear majority shareholders in BCL was also emphasised.

The sessions also involved role-play activities to provide participants with opportunities to put into practise conflict management and mediation techniques. About 50 women from project area communities took part, including women chiefs and leaders, landowners, teachers, farmers, homemakers, and small business owners. Well-respected women’s leader Theresa Jaintong also shared her own experiences and insights. In all, a most successful week.