In late 2021, Family Farm Team Trainers Lalen Simenon and Faulkingham Jogo travelled to Masingra Village and neighbouring villages to conduct our FFT: Empowering Families & youth training. In March 2022, Faulkingham and Lalen and 13 project participants travelled to Daru for an advanced Money Matters session as Empowering Families Village Educators. The training offers families the skills and opportunities to sit together and plan their future goals and making plans and budgets to reach their family goals.
The project team recorded interviews with some of the participant trainers who were eager to share their project related experiences:
“Me and my wife have set some short-, medium- and long-term goals, like our children’s school fee, she wants to have her own sewing machine, we would like to own an engine and dingy. Slowly we are getting there” - Shirmon
“My plan is to build a new house. A year ago, I started saving for a big house. Any business I make I budget for my house. My boy was at school but when he came back I bought some materials and we started building the house and now it just needs finishing touches. So while I do my small scale business. Sometimes I bake 10kg – 12 kg of flour at 7 in the morning and 5 at lunch hour. I make about 70 kina in the morning and about 60 kina in the afternoon. So I have doubled my budget, and I spend money on little things to finish my house.” - Nancy.
The project team is excited to return to see how people have gone with their goals and the sharing of what they have learned with other community members!
Gender equitable agricultural extension through institutions and youth engagement in Papua New Guinea (SSS/2018/137) began in late 2019. The project is moving forward with positive outcomes after a year of COVID-19 uncertainty, interruptions and restrictions.
Objective 1: To explore and develop the capacity of PNG churches to work in a gender inclusive way to engage rural agricultural communities in smallholder farm development
The project team have been invited to extend the project into Western Province. This will begin in July 2021. The project team are currently developing a context analysis and have engaged a Western Province coordinator to further support the project in this new area. The team is looking forward to adapting the Family Farm Teams materials to not only work with church programs but also to suit fishing families and communities.
Objective 2: To explore and develop pathways for increasing PNG youth involvement in family farm teams and sustainable farming futures
Recent in-depth and focus group interviews on our East New Britain ‘Youth as Change Agents’ trial showed positive change in youth attitudes and engagement in their family farms and other agricultural initiatives.
Early in 2021, the Rabaul LLG supported our Youth as Change Agent program by providing 13 youth with 20 chickens each. The Rabaul LLG provided the chicks because “these group of people from Rabaul do not have land mass to grow food and cash crops like the three other (project) sites (Pomio, Kokopo and Gazelle)” (Rabaul LLG representative). Recent monitoring and evaluation data shows that the project has helped youth to change their attitude to agriculture and reducing their engagement in negative behaviours as they are busy implementing their new skills as change agents — “Everyone who is raising the chicken are so busy sharing information on how to take care of the chickens etc (mother in Rabaul District)”. Parents of the participating youth and representatives of the Rabaul LLG reported that youth who are a part of the youth as change agent program and who received chickens are taking on other farming activities – “youth were empowered to really make a difference in their families and the community” (female researcher observation after a series of interviews). Similarly, youth in the Gazelle District were provided with cocoa seedlings and are now very busy on their family farm. One female DPI officer explained “they do not have time to cause trouble or get into trouble, they are fully engaged in their cocoa farms and they do not have time to misbehave”. One mother, who is also a member of the Youth Advisory Committee, stated that “generally, the attitudes of youths have been very positive since the ACIAR workshops and the gift they received from the LLG personnel”.
Joe Kapinias, his wife's and son's standing next to their chicken coop built out of bush materials
Joe Kapinias is a youth. He is married and has a son. Before engaging in the ACIAR project, he says he was confused and didn’t know how to raise a young family especially when his wife was pregnant and he had an obligation. But his life was changed when he started attending the ACIAR project meetings and workshops. He had a sense of understanding to sustain his family. He started implementing what he learnt and saw changes taking place in his livelihood. He is now motivated by his chicken poultry project and visions a bigger chicken house with an increased number of chickens. He is confident that he will have an on-going source of income. The chicken poultry project has become a source of inspiration for Joe. He
Over the past couple of weeks, Pastor Baia Warapa returned to Buzi, Western Province, to see how families were going after our FFT: Empowering Families training in August. Pastor Baia was very impressed with the way families are working together on their farms and the positive impact the training is starting to have. Families are working together and sharing the work equally to grow more crops or catch more fish, and men can be seen helping in the kitchen and house! See the photos below of the amazing work families are producing together! 😊
In the Gazelle District of East New Britain, PNG, a male youth has taken back control of his life. The male youth used to struggle to causing problems in the community, always burrowing tools from relatives to do his work. After attending the Empowering Youth and Families Youth as Change Agent training, he decided to create a positive change in his life, planting his own plantation of cocoa. Since the first training, he has learned how to take excellent care of his plantation (look below!) with the follow-up specific Cocoa training.
Since creating his plantation, he has built himself a house, started selling other farm crops to another province and is saving to buy a brand-new vehicle. His return to an empowered life demonstrates an inspiring level of resilience and strength and the team cannot wait to see what he does in the future!
Last week our East New Britain team, Kiteni and Joros, travelled to Western Province to conduct our FFT: Empowering Youth and Families training with our Western Province team Pastor Baia and Brenaldi. The team worked with three church groups from the remote villages of Buzi and Berr to help further empower families, especially women and female youth, to work as a family team. Over 60 people attended the training and are now putting the training into practice. The team looks forward to returning to see what changes people have taken on and hearing their stories!
In 2019 initial training conducted in East New Britain focused of empowering youth and their families. After the training stories of youth creating small businesses have emerged. One such story comes from Pomio, where a young man (Sam Kamit) saw an opportunity to start up a Balsa Nursey. Balsa, well suited to the climate in Pomio creates a demand for seedlings and making good money as a business.
The pictures below are of the nursery where an order for K80,000 worth of seedlings from the Provincial government are growing. Each balsa seedling is selling for one kina and the balsa seeds are free. The whole family is now helping him fulfil the orders. He started this business then realised that the family needs money to meet their needs, so he picked up a job in New Ireland Province in Lihir mine, while his family work together in his nursery business. He sends money to his parents (family) to helping them buy other things they need.
The story shows the creativity and hardworking ethic of empowered youth and their families, inspiring for us all!
Larry, a male youth, attended the Family Farm Teams: Empowering Youth and Families (FFT:EYF) gender-based training program, conducted by Gamoa Varage, a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church leader trained in the program through the project’s church trial. Larry did not put into practice what he learnt right away. He wanted to observe how things would work for those who trialled the ideas. He watched them closely and realised that they were reaping positive results when they touched the soil. “I decided to do the same, I touched the soil and to my surprise, my cabbages turned into gold. It took a few months being an observer but when I was convinced, I started my nursery”.
He planted cabbages (pak choi) and sold them in the Kupiano market, Central Province, PNG. He was surprised to see his cabbages sell within minutes. When he sold the first two rows of cabbage and saw his money growing, so he began saving for something he has always dreamed off. He expressed that watching his money grow only motivated him more. Within a few months, he had saved K1300 (~$540) and he used that money to buy two good bicycles; one for him and one for his mother. Bicycles are an important form of transportation for most families in his village because of the long distances between farms and the market. His mother preferred walking, so he uses both bicycles. He expressed that starting his cabbage farm was not easy, usually families hire a tractor to dig the soil to make their gardens, but because he did not have the money to do that, he dug the soil using a spade, which was very hard. He did not give up. He continued working on his cabbage farm until he started reaping the positive labour of his hard work. He says, ‘there is no turning back to my old lifestyle”. Today, he can pay for his siblings’ school fees and his family’s needs, and he is saving up money to buy something bigger. He is looking forward to attending the FFT:EYF Money Matters training to learn financial literacy skills in August.
This is a young person that is growing his farm and earning enough money to support his family’s needs. His family had been struggling to make ends meet but our FFT:EYF training, conducted through the churches, has helped him change his life for the better.