By Bridgette Komatep – EM TV, Port Moresby
The Women in Mining Small Grants Project for women in mining-impacted areas is proving a success, according to the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) following workshops and training sessions on how to obtain these grants.
The project is an initiative supporting women living in mining communities with income earning opportunities. Twelve out of 33 groups were successful in obtaining grants.
The project is a funding scheme where funds are made available by the government for women landowner associations in mining impact areas. The project is implemented by the MRA, with support from other government line departments.
The initiative is currently in its monitoring and reporting stage, where MRA officers from the sustainability and planning branch visit various women groups to collect their financial and operational reports. So far, the officers have met with Kuembu and Nauti female landowner groups from the Hidden Valley Mining Project in Morobe province, and four female groups from the Ramu Nickel Project area in Madang.
The four Ramu groups encompass Kurumbukari, Maigari inland pipeline, Coastal pipeline and Basamuk. Through the grants, they have purchased PMVs and outboard motors.
Public transport has assisted the people in bringing their fresh produce to town markets. Women in Basamuk are in the process of setting up a piggery farm; however, MRA officers have noted that some groups have issues with management of funds, although they’ve made a profit.
So far, MRA is impressed with the women’s groups from Kuembu in Hidden Valley. Depending on the performance of each group after 18 months, they can apply for further assistance. The project is funded through World Bank’s Mining Sector Institutional Strengthening Technical Assistance Project 2.