WFWP Global Development and Aid Project:
Solomon Islands, PNG
Taking a partnership approach between WFWP Australia and the WFWP Chapters within the Pacific Island Nations, the Pasifika Micro-Credit project aims to empower women in the Island Nations of Oceania by directly investing in their business idea, economic activity or micro-enterprise with a micro-credit loan.
Pacific women are under-represented among business owners, and face financial barriers to start and develop businesses. As a result, female-headed businesses are less likely to be successful due to limited capital.
Studies show that when women are given economic opportunity, it benefits not only their families, but their community, and ultimately national economic development. Highlighting the first Global Goal, providing economic opportunities for women puts poverty reduction on a faster track.
Today, 103 million youth worldwide lack basic literacy skills, and more than 60 percent of them are women; WFWP Australia is committed to solving this social problem by providing these children and youths with education opportunities.
Women with low to moderate-income who have viable business ideas that do not meet the criteria of banks or other traditional lenders and, therefore, are unable to access bank credit for their small businesses.
Women with existing businesses and/or start-up businesses that have strong business plans.
Applicants meet with their mentors and understand the process before the training program. Repayment of lent funds will be repaid over a 1-3 year period. Returned funds will replenish the available funds for the local Chapter to lend to future applicants. All lending arrangements will be incremental and staggered.
The Pasifika Micro-Credit Program (PMC) is a project established by WFWP Australia specifically to support women within the island nations of Oceania. This project was launched in the highlands of PNG in January 2020. The 2nd training workshop was held in Sogeri, PNG in January 2023.
The assistance of WFWP local Chapter teams is integral to the success of this training program.
During the training program, participants were introduced to the philosophy of the project along with the basic elements of running a business. The philosophy of PMC aligns with WFWP goals which are to empower women, strengthen families and environment sustainability. Although the focus of the training program was local women, the men of the community were encouraged to attend to build their support for any prospective business in the future.
With a mix of group discussions and explanations, topics covered included Micro-Credit and the PMC Process, Setting Goals and Objectives, SWOT Analysis, Using GANNT Project Planning tools and Business Planning. To assist some of the women, a Pidgin English interpreter was present during the entire program.
Participants were organised into small groups led by a supervisor who assisted them in filling in their business plans during the Business Planning sessions. Some of the businesses chosen were to raise livestock such as chickens, pigs and fish farming for sale in the local markets, sewing garments for sale, expanding and developing coffee fields, setting up trade stores and setting up wholesale businesses.
The supervisors who are local professionals will continue to provide mentoring support with business management under the leadership of the WFWP PNG.
After attending the three day program, women were presented with their certificates at a colourful and cheerful Graduation Ceremony.
Dressed in traditional PNG colours, the ceremony was a joyous occasion attended by several family members and local dignitaries.