By Ishmael Palipal
Kominiti Empowerment Development Services (KEDS) recently hosted a two day women’s consultative workshop to empower more participation and decision making for the women in the community.
KEDS was founded in 2012 by Mr Ben Kinah and has been working closely to help women and youth to be more vocal in the community.
The recent workshop, which was aimed at increasing participation and representation in decision making at local government level, Council of Elders and community government, was supported and funded through Counterpart International.
Mr Ben Kinah stated that the participants discussed the constraints, opportunities and strategies for improving participation and representation in the decision in the communities. It reminded many of the progress made in the years since the signing of Bougainville Peace Agreement.
Women were key influencers in bringing peace into the war torn Bougainville Island and this workshop re-ignited that spirit which once bring good for the region as whole. The two day workshop was said to be a dawn of a new beginning for the women in Bougainville, because it is a new opening for women to rise up and they believed that Bougainville will move forward with one voice.
The participants, who were from the 6 districts of Central and South Bougainville, requested KEDS to run more of these types of workshop through down to village level so to create and increase networking within.
They strategized that more women will be shaped and encouraged to stand for the elections in community government, village assemblies and ABG parliament on the years to come. Following that, a pledge has been made by the women leaders of respective LLGs/COEs to contest in the 2016 Community Government elections and this was sealed with a joint statement made and signed by women leaders from South and Central Bougainville.
The joint statement said that the women leaders of Central and South Bougainville agree, according to the Bougainville Action Plan and Women Peace and Security 2013, to empower woman in decision making and participation in collaboration with Kominiti Empowerment Development Services. It was pledged to eliminate all forms of constraints which disempower growth in presentation and participation of the Bougainville women.
“We, the women leaders of Central and South Bougainville, agree to work together to find solutions to challenges that weaken participation and representation in the power and decision making with humility and mutual respect,” stated the women on the joint statement.
The workshop empowered the women to tackle the constraints that have made it difficult for women to climb the political ladder, such as cultural barriers, lack of capacity building knowledge for women in the communities, lack of leadership and management knowledge.
The women stressed that building a strong network among the women in all through the region will boost the regions progress as experienced in the past.