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September 25, 2020
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IOM Pioneers Community-led Conflict Management in PNG

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The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in collaboration with a number of provincial governments has launched a unique community-led conflict resolution and peace building programme in Western Highlands, Morobe and Enga provinces.

IOM is working with relevant provincial departments to integrate peace building into community based development planning. Under the IOM’s Peace Building Programme, a range of participants from provincial governments, National Disaster and Emergency Centre, the law and justice Sector, and conflict-affected communities will pave a way for more successful mediation within provinces highly impacted upon by conflict.

A series of training workshops will be conducted in Western Highlands, Morobe, and Enga provinces.

Apart from natural hazards, conflicts are a contributing factor towards displacement in Papua New Guinea. Conflicts are often a result of land ownership disputes, tribal differences and disagreements regarding compensation.

The first workshop of the Peace Building Programme was launched in Western Highlands province where capacity building and mentoring sessions on peace-building, gender equality, conflict resolution and development was conducted from July 11-15.

A total of 25 people attended the five-day workshop which brought community members, village elders, and government officers together to effectively analyse and manage conflicts.

During the training, discussions were based on the notion that evidence-based conflict analysis promotes sustainable community-based, national, and international policies on conflict, peace, and development.

The participants agreed that demand for conflict analysis and response strategies will increase among policy makers given the growing intra-province and community socio-political complexities.

Participants actively took part in the discussions and shared their thoughts. Sendra from Takenam Village of Enga province observed “Conflict originates in human minds and addressing it at that level will build sustainable peace.

It is up to each transformed individual in the community to govern the avenues of the heart such as greedy, jealous, envy and hatred as these can contribute to the emergence of tribal conflict.”

Freddy Alphonse from Tolenam Village of Enga threw light on the role of female participation in conflict management and noted “In PNG, women and children tend to bear the brunt of its attendant problems.

They are mostly left out in conflict resolution initiatives. This is not because they lack the knowledge or expertise, but perhaps because as usual, their views are never sought nor their initiatives treated with the seriousness they deserve as they are always relegated to the background in society.”

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