Papua New Guinea

 png map copyPapua New Guinea is part of the Oceania Archipelago, a group of islands that includes the eastern half of the island of New Guinea between the Coral Sea and the South Pacific Ocean, east of Indonesia. (1)   The Papua New Guinea (PNG) terrain is mostly mountains with coastal lowlands and rolling foothills. The largest portion of the population lives in fertile highlands valleys that were unknown to the outside world until the 1930s. The isolation created by the mountainous terrain is so great that some groups, until recently, were unaware of the existence of neighbouring groups only a few kilometres away. The diversity is reflected in a folk saying, "For each village, a different culture”. (2)   It is estimated that in July 2007 the population of PNG reached 5,795,887. Life expectancy is estimated to be 56 years. (2)  

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Hunger & Poverty

Papua New Guinea is rich in natural resources, including minerals, timber, and fish, and produces a variety of commercial agricultural products. The economy generally can be separated into subsistence and market sectors, although the distinction is blurred by smallholder cash cropping of coffee, cocoa, and copra. About 75% of the country's population relies primarily on the subsistence economy. The minerals, timber, and fish sectors are dominated by foreign investors. (1) (2)     Mineral deposits, including oil, copper, and gold, account for nearly two-thirds of export earnings. Manufacturing is limited, and the formal labor sector consequently also is limited. High commodity prices in 2005 continued to lift both sectors after several years of declines. (1) (2)     The economy continues to grow modestly and the government recorded a modest surplus in 2006. However, the economic improvements are based almost entirely on high commodity prices and the nation continues to have serious problems of corruption, a lack of law and order, land tenure concerns stifling investment, political interference in business and a lack of political will to adopt needed sweeping reforms (1) Other socio-cultural challenges that could upend the economy includes a worsening HIV/Aids epidemic and chronic law and order and land tenure issues. Australia annually supplies $240 million in aid, which accounts for nearly 20% of the national budget. (2)

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As is the case in most countries HIV/Aids attracts the most attention within the border regions of Papua New Guinea. Although there is the fear of an escalating AIDS epidemic it does not detract from the serious diseases of diarrhoea, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, dengue fever and malaria that are present within the country as well.   The HIV Aids statistics are documented below.   An estimated 81 000 people in Oceania are living with HIV. Although less than 4000 people are believed to have died of AIDS in 2005, about 8200 are thought to have become newly infected with HIV. Among young people 15–24 years of age, an estimated 1.2% of women and 0.4% of men were living with HIV in 2005. More than 90% of the 11 200 HIV infections reported across the 21 Pacific Islands countries and territories by end-2004 were recorded in Papua New Guinea where an AIDS epidemic is now in full swing. Studies have shown that prevalence in urban areas of Papua New Guinea could be as high as 3.5% with young women especially vulnerable. HIV infection levels among women aged 15-29 years are twice as high as among men of the same age. Impunity and social attitudes surrounding violence against women fuelled the spread of the disease. The above data is based on limited HIV surveillance. Given the high levels of other sexually transmitted infections that have been recorded in some Pacific islands, none of these countries and territories can afford to be complacent.

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Man Made Disasters  

Situated along the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, PNG is subject to frequent and sometimes severe earthquakes, mud slides and tsunamis. Active Volcanoes are also present in the country. The natural rain forests are often subject to deforestation as a result of growing commercial demand for tropical timber. About 40% of Papua New Guinea is covered with exploitable trees, but a domestic woodworking industry has been slow to develop. A number of Southeast Asian companies are active in the timber industry, but World Bank and other donors have withdrawn support from the sector over concern for unregulated deforestation and environmental damage. Recently enacted forestry legislation has exacerbated those concerns. (3) (4)   The most maddening disasters are those that are man made. Papua New Guinea is famous, sadly, because of its man made environmental disaster the Ok Tedi Mine. The Ok Tedi Mine is located near the headwaters of the Ok Tedi River. The mine works as an open cut operation which has reduced the mountain of Fubilan to a deep pit in the ground. The mine is operated by Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) which is majority owned by the PNG Sustainable Development Program Limited (PNGSDPL). Prior to 2002, it was majority owned by BHP Billiton —the largest mining company in the world. Ok Tedi Mining is located in a remote area of Papua New Guinea, in a region of high rainfall and frequent earthquakes, mine development posed serious challenges. The town of Tabubil was built to serve the mining operation. (1) In 1999, BHP reported that the Ok Tedi Mine was the cause of "major environmental damage". The mine operators discharge 80 million tons of tailings, overburden and mine-induced erosion into the river system each year. The discharge caused widespread and diverse harm, both environmentally and socially, to the 50,000 people who live in the 120 villages downstream of the mine. Chemicals from the tailings killed or contaminated fish, which subsequently caused harm to all animal species that live in the area as well as the indigenous people. The dumping changed the riverbed, causing a relatively deep and slow river to become shallower and develop rapids thereby disrupting indigenous transportation routes. Flooding caused by the raised riverbed, left a thick layer of contaminated mud on the flood plain the plantations of taro, bananas and sago palm that are the staples of the local diet. About 1300 square kilometers were damaged in this way. Although the concentration of copper in the water is about 30 times above the standard level, it is still below the World Health Organization (WHO) standards. The reasons for this disaster are complex. The original plans included an Environmental Impact Statement (done by an Australian Consultancy) that called for a tailings dam to be built near the mine. This would allow heavy metals and solid particles to settle, before releasing the clean ‘high-water’ into the river system where remaining contaminants would be diluted. But the plan was seriously flawed and in 1984 an earthquake (common in the area) caused the half built dam to collapse. Afterwards the company continued operations without any dam, initially because BHP argued that it would be too expensive to rebuild it. Subsequently, the cash-strapped PNG government decided a dam wasn’t necessary, in the wake of the closure of the Panguna mine. The Ok Tedi Mine is scheduled to close in 2012. Until that time two thirds of the profits go into a long-term fund to enable the mine to continue to contribute to the PNG economy for up to half a century after it closes. The balance is allocated to current development programs in the local area (Western Province) and PNG more generally. Experts have predicted that it will take 300 years to clean up the toxic contamination. (2)  

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There is currently no information regarding Papua New Guinea on the US State - People Trafficking website. In 1995 Papua New Guinea ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In so doing, the Government of Papua New Guinea made a commitment to ensure that the women of Papua New Guinea would not be denied their enjoyment of human rights because of gender-based discrimination. Part of this commitment includes an obligation to act with due diligence to ensure that gender-based violence against women is prevented, investigated and punished, whether the perpetrator is a State official or a private individual, and that reparation is provided to victims. A decade later, Amnesty International spoke to women throughout the country still waiting for the government to deliver on that commitment. (1) Although recent, comprehensive data does not exist, all available evidence and Amnesty International’s own research indicate that violence against women in the home and the community is pervasive, and in some regions affects most women’s lives. The threat of gender-based violence, particularly sexual violence, impacts on women’s ability to move freely in the community, to use public transport, to access health and education services, and to travel to market or to the workplace. The threat and the reality of gender-based violence increase women’s vulnerability to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The threat and the reality of gender-based violence mean that fear permeates many women’s existence – with the home a place of risk and not refuge. The threat and the reality of gender-based violence continue to damage the physical and mental health of women across the country who live with permanent injuries and scars, both seen and unseen. (1) Increases in sexual crimes were reported in at least three provinces. Port Moresby, Lae and settlements around other cities were the worst affected. Women continued to suffer widespread "sorcery-related" abuses. In Chimbu province alone, approximately 150 were believed to be killed each year for allegedly practicing witchcraft. (2) There is little public confidence in the ability of the police to fight crime. The police complained of limited resources; however, they often appeared to actively avoid involvement in sensitive local cases for fear of reprisals. Poor data collection by the police, or incompetent prosecution, particularly in cases of violence against women, often undermined efforts to deliver justice, and many cases were dismissed by the courts following inadequate or delayed investigations. (2)

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What We've Done - Salvation Army - Child Care Centre Renovation - Koki, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

on Monday, 18 June 2012. Posted in Completed Projects, HIV/AIDs & other diseases, Extreme Poverty, Exploitation, Infrastructure, Papua New Guinea

rose baruni dumppng07

City: Koki, Port Moresby
Project:  Child Care Centre and Dining Hall
Partner: Salvation Army

Be A HERO Australia renovated two houses which will become a child care centre to serve the community, and also renovate the current dining hall which is adjacent to the houses.  70% of the dining hall will be allocated for kitchen use and the remainder of the building will be used as a toilet block for the child care centre.

A third house is being considered for renovation to use as emergency accommodation.


on Tuesday, 30 July 2013. Posted in Brazil, Myanmar, Burundi, The Congo, Ecuador, The Facts, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Ghana, FAQ, Liberia, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Romania, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Uganda, Homelessness, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Cambodia, Zambia, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines

Homeless Be A HERO

Poverty leads to orphans and homelessness.

  • 150 million children live on the street.
  • Action International says that by 2020 there will be 800 million homeless children.
  • The UN says that the street children situation is one of the worst crises facing the nations of the world.
  • This is a disaster

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” – Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 25, par. 1

Extreme Poverty

on Sunday, 30 December 2012. Posted in Bangladesh, Brazil, Myanmar, Burundi, The Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, The Facts, India, Indonesia, Ghana, FAQ, Projects, Liberia, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Romania, Sierra Leone, Extreme Poverty, Swaziland, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Thailand, Kenya, Cambodia, Zambia, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines

Extreme Poverty Be A HEROAverage Gross National Income for every man, women, and child in America is $35,060. World Development Bank, 2003.

  • Of the 24 mostly Western Developed Nations (including NA, Western Europe, Australia & New Zealand etc.)  Population of 900 million, the GNI is $27,000 USD
  • Compare this to the fact that 1.2 billion people live on under $1.00 a day and 2.7 billion people live on under $2.00 USD a day.
  • 500 million people are hungry and another 500 million are so poor that they don’t consume enough food to render them productive.
  • Because of poverty 33,000 children (mostly under-five-year-olds) die every day due to preventable diseases – diarrhea, measles, malaria, and malnutrition – that is more than one child dying every 3 seconds.
  • 55% of all child deaths (17 million deaths a year) are just because the children are hungry.
  • Poverty is at the root of most of that which contributes to 'children becoming at risk'.


on Wednesday, 04 September 2013. Posted in Bangladesh, Brazil, Myanmar, Burundi, The Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, The Facts, India, Indonesia, Ghana, FAQ, Liberia, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Romania, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Orphans, Thailand, Kenya, Cambodia, Zambia, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines

Orphans 2 Be A HERO

Every day 5,760 more children become orphans

UNICEF and global partners define an orphan as a child who has lost one or both parents.

By this definition there were over 132 million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean in 2005.

This large figure represents not only children who have lost both parents, but also those who have lost a father but have a surviving mother or have lost their mother but have a surviving father.

Of the more than 132 million children classified as orphans, only 13 million have lost both parents. Evidence clearly shows that the vast majority of orphans are living with a surviving parent grandparent, or other family member. 95 per cent of all orphans are over the age of five.

HIV/AIDs and other diseases

on Sunday, 30 December 2012. Posted in Myanmar, Burundi, The Congo, The Facts, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, FAQ, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, HIV/AIDs & other diseases, Mozambique, Romania, Sierra Leone, Extreme Poverty, Swaziland, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Thailand, Kenya, Cambodia, Zambia, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines

hiv blog

Of the 22 million people who have died of AIDS, 4.5 million of them have been children.

In 2006 there were 11 million AIDS orphans in the Sub Sahara. That is a staggering 10%, or one in every ten children is an orphan. This is twice as many as society can care for.

In South Africa, 50% of all the teenage girls who are now 15 years old, will be dead of AIDS in ten years.

Around the world, 3.3 billion people are at risk of contracting malaria.

There were an estimated 8.7 million new cases of TB in 2011 (including 1.1 million cases among people with HIV) and an estimated 1.4 million deaths (including 430,000 people with HIV), making this disease one of the world's biggest infectious killers.

Gender Equality - I have an 11 year old daughter

on Tuesday, 05 November 2013. Posted in Bangladesh, Current News, Speak Up, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea

Break the Cycle Cambodia Lyd

I have an 11 year old daughter. I read a story this morning about an 11 year old Cambodian girl who has lived a very different life to my daughter. She lives with the belief that a girl is pure like white linen, but once she has been "stained" she is stained forever and no longer valuable. You can imagine what this means for that little precious girl - living in poverty - there are a few distinct industries where there is money to be made...

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