My name is Martha Wame, of Milne Bay and Western Province heritage, and Alotau is my home. I feel volunteerism is so important because it makes you appreciate your community and be responsible to make a change.
It makes me happy when six-year-olds in a remote school, in the mountains of Daga, receive junior fiction books that my friends and I distribute. Or to see young women happily carrying a reusable hygiene kit - after distribution to an island in Cloudy Bay, in Central Province.
I have degrees in journalism, and communication, and worked in radio and for faith-based organizations. Previously I was a Verbal Autopsy Field Coordinator for the Bloomberg Data for Health Initiative.
Currently, my day job includes selling esipay (prepaid electricity) and phone vouchers online - as well as coordinating volunteers while manning a desk at the Family Support Centre, in Alotau. I entered voluntary work because I had time and wanted to learn something different while meeting people.
I have volunteered in multiple roles, including the Papua New Guinea- Australia Alumni Association, K20 Multiplication Challenge, Conflict Island Conservation Initiative, Youth With A Mission, and the World Literacy Foundation.
This month, I participated in an interesting workshop conducted by the United Nations Development Programme, in my home-town of Alotau. UNDP is assisting Milne Bay Province, and other provinces, to strengthen the response efforts on gender-based violence. I was intrigued to learn about the provincial, national, and global statistics on gender-based violence and its impact on survivors, families and communities.
I also saw the cost to business when gender-based violence is prevalent and there is a lack of action. It is clear, it is not only a social issue but has an economic impact. As a local entrepreneur, it was important to me to understand this connection as most times we see gender-based violence as a family issue - or social problem - without considering the impact on our livelihood.
What drives me to do what I do is the stories of people who did not get justice for crimes. Many people are afraid to report crimes against humanity - whether it be trafficking or physical assault. We don’t know that there are laws to protect ourselves, and others.
I know how it feels because I felt unsafe in my own home and neighborhood. But our fear should not stop us from healing and allowing others to heal. I am keen to support other volunteers, who work like me, so that we have a community of helpers - and a network to reach out, and discuss, how we can help our province.
Entrepreneurial stars shine at SME Awards!
UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Edward Vrkic, with the ‘Best Social Enterprise Initiative’ award winners eDidiman, an ecommerce platform for Bougainville farmers. Photo: Seru Kepa l UNDP Papua New Guinea
The United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Capital Development Fund proudly recognised two of the country’s rising stars of business at Papua New Guinea’s 2021 Small- Medium Enterprise (SME) Awards, in Port Moresby.
The Ela Motors "SME of the Year Award" went home with the winner of UNCDF’s ‘Best Agriculture Cooperative Society’, BOU Resources Development of Milne Bay province. And UNDP ‘Best Social Enterprise Initiative’ was awarded to eDidiman, an ecommerce platform supporting Bougainville farmers to reach a national marketplace.
“UNDP was proud to sponsor the 'Best Social Enterprise Initiative' as it exemplifies the values and mission of UNDP in Papua New Guinea – as well as aligning to the Government’s Vision 2050, and national strategy for responsible sustainable development,” said UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Mr Edward Vrkic, presenting the award to proud Bougainvillean and founder of eDidiman, Mr Jordan Becks.
An online Buy and Sell Marketplace that ‘Keeps Autonomous Region of Bougainville Farmers in Business in a COVID-19 era’ - eDidiman is based in Buka, on the island of Bougainville, and connects smallholder farmers to a national marketplace, using their mobile phones.
UNCDF Country Lead, Mr. Jagdeep Dahiya announcing the winner of Best Agriculture Cooperative Society said the award shines a spotlight on the essential role of cooperatives in rural development and agricultural value chains, especially for export crops like cocoa and coffee. Cooperatives are important mechanisms in fostering social and economic development in Papua New Guinea.