The Country Women’s Association (CWA) is an NGO that was set up in 1952 in response to the challenges that rural women face in Papua New Guinea (PNG). CWA raises money and supports projects that aim to improve health, welfare and education for women in Madang Province. CWA is the oldest established NGO in PNG and is a key partner of Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) and the family sexual violence (FSV) team works with them closely on their project.
CWA acts as a referral point for information on maternal health, is a meeting place and was formerly a safe house but is now a guesthouse. It has four key projects; it trains traditional birth attendants to work in remote communities, this is essential for women that can’t afford to go to the hospitals and health centres and means that they have someone to help them if they deliver their baby at home; it runs a village health volunteers programme where volunteers deliver training in communities based around hygiene and sanitation; it supports ‘Kindergarten Long Ples’ (Pre-school in your area) which is a village based program that runs early childhood centres in 14 outlying communities; and works with VSO on the family sexual violence programme.
As part of the community mobilisation work being done by VSO, Charles Olinga works in close partnership with CWA. Charles is helping CWA by building the capacity of the project staff in the way that they deliver their response to FSV in communities. Charles has seen the real value in the work that they are doing in Madang: “I believe the establishment of community structures around FSV is the only way forward to respond to the long time violence embedded in community customs and tradition in PNG. This process is ongoing but is supported greatly by the work of CWA and the creation of the change agents and the awareness they create.”
The CWA guesthouse in Madang originally provided a retreat for families to meet and stay when they came to town from outstations. Over the years it has been a support for many families, both nationals and expatriates and has also supported many charities through fundraising events. As well as its key projects CWA buys market food, milk and eggs for children with malnutrition in Modilon hospital, they help finance village efforts to create birthing centres and support community events, so it is a pretty essential support to the Madang community.
“I believe the establishment of community structures around FSV is the only way forward to respond to the long time violence embedded in community customs and tradition in PNG.”
They raise their money through quiz nights, Saturday coffee mornings with their infamous banana muffins, jumble sales, craft markets, book sales and donations. You can find out more about CWA at madangcwapng.weebly.com, contact them on +675 422 2216 or e-mail email@example.com and join their Facebook or Twitter.