In a recent AusAID study to Papua New Guinea in October 2008 which served to profile women’s businesses, it was discovered that several key barriers are the cause for constraints on women’s economic development which, in turn reflects the broader gender inequality that exists in PNG.
Some of these constraints are:
- Difficulty in accessing finance (no microfinance schemes)
- Poor provision and maintenance of infrastructure
- Lack of women’s business networks
- Lack of private sector involvement in women’s businesses
- Fair Trade impediments
However, through the mentorship of TCF Global Village Community Projects a new TCF PNG network has been established. The aim is to assist PNG women in showcasing and exporting handicraft products suitable for the fashion/textile industry thus generating economic empowerment and stimulating entrepreneurship. It also aims at creating a ‘PNG women in fashion” network to coordinate designers, artists and business women in the textile/fashion industry.
TCF PNG network is currently engaged in a project that sees the collection, preservation and distribution of a traditional textile (bilum) which applied in a modern society can generate economic activities within the fashion/textile industry. The ‘bilum’ textile is an example of traditional skill and highlights the techniques for processing natural fibres which can generate products suitable for domestic and international markets. Moreover, the TCF PNG ‘bilum’ project will create links with rural communities which have had little or no assistance in capacity building and/or income generating projects. TCF PNG is also looking at the creation of fashion incubators and areas where women can showcase their products for the tourism industry and possible links with international designers and exporters. Moreover, it is exploring the lack of Fair Trade practices and how this effects women in business. Partnership with TCF Global also signifies access to the TCF Small Business Training and Development programmes that will assist PNG women in expanding their business knowledge.
TCF PNG is excited about joining the Global TCF community and is looking forward to the advantages of the partnership which will empower PNG women and stimulate economic growth.
TCF Papua New Guinea