As the country commemorates 20 Days of Human Rights Activism, Bougainville women are being empowered through a partnership with Australia to maintain hundreds of kilometres of roads in the region.
Thousands of women in Bougainville are being employed on road projects through Community Works Agreements, which engages local communities in critical works such as grass cutting, drainage clearing and minor repairs.
The women work in teams throughout the region, with one leader, Anna Vatoro saying the work can empower women in her community, who often have limited income generating opportunities. This work is well respected and valued. The women in my team work hard to take care of the road for the benefit of Bougainville. The works have strengthened the position of women in our community,” Ms Vatoro says.
North Bougainville Community Liaison Officer Rhonda Siro says: “The women who work as team leaders in North Bougainville tell me that the position and the income give them confidence and a greater voice in the community”.
In cooperation with the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, the Australian Aid Program funds the upgrade and maintenance of almost 400km of Bougainville’s road network each year delivered through the Transport Sector Support Program (TSSP).