12 Jun 2009

Workshop attempts to raise awareness of Bougainville women's ownership rights

8:55 am on 12 June 2009

The first workshop aimed at empowering women landowners to assert their ownership rights has concluded in the autonomous region of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea.

The two-day event was a joint project between the Pacific Cooperation Foundation, the Leitana Nehan Womens Development Agency and the Environmental Law Centre.

The Executive Director of Leitana Nehan Women's Development Agency, Helen Hakena, says in the past men have exploited women's rights as landowners under the matrilineal law but they have now been equipped in taking leadership and negotiating in potential land disputes.

"This training will not only empower our women by helping them to make informed decisions but to assert their ownership rights as well. And to raise the awareness about the importance of being involved in local decision making processes. This workshop is the first of its kind and the women are so happy that they are gaining a lot of very important information."

Helen Hakena says there are now plans to form a council to support the women.