Ms Barbara Masike-Liri
Ms Robyn James
Papua New Guinea is frequently featured within the Australian media, as a country of corruption, violence and exotic spectacle. A focus on stories such as Government representatives spending taxpayers money on buying expensive cars often overshadows the work of community groups and NGO's focussed on creating culturally appropriate and sustainable models of development. Despite a historical and cultural predominance of men in roles of leadership, women are playing a key role in the fight against the large-scale land and coastal clearing that threaten their local ecosystems and livelihoods. One particular concern is still largely intact mangrove forests that protect the shorelines of Papua New Guinea's island and coastal provinces.
The Nature Conservancy is an international NGO working with women across PNG to address mangrove loss and women's empowerment through the Mangoro Market Meri (MMM) project. Melanesia is a challenging place to work on gender. Globally, Melanesian countries have some of the highest rates of violence against women and the lowest rates of Parliamentary participation by women. There are many cultural and historical issues that can stifle a woman's opportunities to be educated, and to be part of decision making. Using MMM as a case study, this talk will engage with the current status of mangroves in Papua New Guinea, the results of research into how women and communities currently utilise mangrove livelihood and techniques being developed to empower women to develop a scheme to link them to larger scale economic benefits for conservation such as the blue carbon economy.
Barbara Masike-Liri is a strong Bougainvillean woman who began her career as a journalist covering issues in Bougainville. She has been with The Nature Conservancy for over fifteen years supporting community conservation in Papua New Guinea.
Robyn James has been with the Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Melanesia since 2010 and leads conservation work as well as addressing issues with mining and extractives. She also leads women's empowerment work across the organisation.
More information about the speakers can be found online.