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Access to safe health care facilities, including for sexual and reproductive health.

Looting trucks on highlands highway. A growing practice. PNG

I am from Papua New Guinea the biggest island in the Pacific Region that shares boarders with Indonesia and Australia.
Twenty years ago when I was attending primary education in my father’s village, I learnt in history class that almost 87% of Papua New Guineans (estimated 4million people) lived in remote villages with no access to electricity, roads, health facilities, banking or shopping centres.
Every 5 years a new local Member of Parliament will be voted with promises of delivering those services. We only spotted them once during election campaigns and see them after 5 years again.

I was one of the very few females in my district to make it to University. Today I work with an Australian NGO conducting social research to improve sexual health, maternal health, child protection and increases access for HIV related services. As I traveled throughout the 21 provinces of Papua New Guinea, my heart sank. People walked for days to reach a national highway (also in very bad state) and travel another day yet to reach a town just to get a bar of soap, a packet of sugar or a pair of shirt and a 1litre kerosene for their hurricane lamps. Many mothers delivered their babies in the village. Out of 20 women I spoke to 18 of them lost one or two children during childbirth or other diseases. Children die of malnutrition and other preventable diseases due to lack of education and health care support close by. Children who wanted an education would walk or paddled their canoes for hours to school and return home. Most times young school girls are waylaid and raped. The highest level of education a female child would get is primary education (less than grade 6) by which most can’t hardly read or do simple math well. Their teachers had to take Fridays off to travel to town to collect paychecks and shop.

When I take a plane to our capital city, Port Moresby, I am surprised by the huge contrast and fast growing developments. Properties are going for 1.4 million Kina (80,000 Aus$) whilst the nation’s capital city’s general Hospital is lying in ruins. Parliamentarians are fighting over the Prime Minister seat and elections whist over 40,000 (2/3women) HIV positive people do not have Ant retro Viral Therapy (drugs) to sustain their lives.

I never thought corporate greed would set foot on our shores because we call ourselves a Christian country. I am a mother of a two year old boy. I wonder what the future holds for him. Will he make it through the corrupt education system where free education is promised and subsidies not seen in the 6th month? Will he make it to 7 even, when the hospitals are overcrowded, nurses stressed out and drugs half the time in nill stock? Will I become abusive because I am equally stressed out to put 3meals a day on the table to nourish his little body? I wonder how those Papua New Guinean women who are not economically independent coping in this times of turmoil? Will their lives ever be better? Will their daughters make it to university and be great leaders tomorrow? I WONDER…and my heart is heavy.
Twenty years gone and only we have more people than before (estimated 6million) in 2012 but 87% still live in extremely underserviced communities.

Corruption and gun power is the main issue in the country. Over the years parliamentarians are twisting legislations and policies around to protect themselves. We have petitioned so many times but petitions have fallen over stubborn ears. Country is not seen anymore as democratic but semi communist as leaders pay off military and police for their own control/security rather than for the best interest of the people. Who will intervene when transparency international and ombudsmen commission is also afraid of thier lives and involvement to stop corruption amongst politicians or top government officials? Even our women suffering from domestic violence (by the way the highest reported in the asia pacific) are not protected by the police. Corporate companies slip in so easy into the country drilling every natural resources they can and a blind eye is turned on the environmental destruction caused to our villages. Why is it that our government can not afford good scientists to review environmental plans of mining projects, logging and fishing companies before approving. If Disease Control Officers can not even monitor the health department's minimum standard guides, who can monitor corporate environmental plans and actual implementations?

We've lost faith of the laws, policies and legislations in this country. See photo: An example of a breaking society.

Young men helping themselves to a container truck up the highlands national highway after it got stuck on a bad section of the Okuk National Highway. Oh by the way, this is the road linking 3 large mining and petroleum companies who contributes to our economy.

Recommendations

Here is a simple plea. HELP US Please! INTERVENE. I don't know how you will do it given the current situation. We the MOTHERS of the nation are HOPEFUL for a SAVIOUR and we believe the United Nations or somebody will INTERVENE.

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In partnership with the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), World Pulse is collecting personal stories outlining women’s experiences and recommendations on sustainable and equitable development for presentation at the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

All stories submitted on our community platform between now and June 3, 2012 will be presented at the Rio+20 Conference. Additionally, selected entries will be published in World Pulse’s digital magazine and distributed widely to international media partners. Learn how YOUR voice can be included!

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Comments

jadefrank's picture

Taking your voice to Rio+20!

Dear Marie,

Your story is so insightful and gives us a unique look at the challenges facing women and communities in Papua New Guinea for a sustainable and equitable future.

Thank you for participating in our Rio+20 initiative and courageously sharing your voice. Your story and recommendations are en route to Rio de Janeiro with our partners at WEDO, and will be presented at the conference to ensure grassroots women's perspectives are included at the negotiating table. Our editorial team is working on an E-magazine for publication next Wednesday which you will receive in your inbox, highlighting selected pieces from our Rio+20 initiative. We will keep you updated on the outcomes of the conference and how you can stay involved as a vocal leader for your community on these issues.

I encourage you to read the stories of your fellow PulseWire sisters and engage in conversation to share experiences, ideas, and best practices for addressing sustainable development issues in your communities.
http://www.worldpulse.com/taxonomy/term/17249

In friendship and solidarity,
Jade

Marie Mondu's picture

Taking Your Voice to Rio+20!

Dear Jade,

Thank you for your kind and uplifting remarks.
It has been an amazing journey for me with PulseWire. I am learning alot and do have a rare opportunity to VOICE the concerns of a majority of my sisters who are in remote parts of PNG and have had not the chance to speak or write English.

I will continue to encourage other women to join the group.

Since a new mobile company entered PNG three years ago, many people have access to internet and facebook has become quite popular. Our sisters are taking advantage of that and created a blog called PNG Against Domestic Violence. There are so far 6,000 members and working locally to assist victims where systems fail within minutes!

I hope to get some of their voices out to Rio if time still permits.

Keep up the great work:)
Marie

Tovozo

Dear Marie,

This is excellent news, to hear that more women in PNG can connect to the Internet and access resources needed to advance their leadership, give voice to local issues, and connect with a greater network of support.

We are organizing a campaign on the topic of Ending Violence Against Women, to source stories and solutions from women around the world and present them at high-level forums, similar to our Rio+20 initiative but on a larger-scale.

It would be wonderful to have participation from the women who contribute to the PNG Against Domestic Violence. We kick-off the campaign in September, so stay tuned!

I look forward to hearing more from you and others in your region!

Warm regards,
Jade

Dear Jade,

That is exciting. I am very delighted to hear this news!

Yes, you will recieve a lot from the womenfolk and wonderful men in the group PNGADV.

Please keep us posted if anything came up sooner.

Kind regards,

Tovozo

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