Here is a photograph from the opening of the Bougainville Women's Federation new building in February 2016. The BWF office is on the upper level and the cafe at ground level.
One of the important motivations for the building was to provide clean, safe public toilets and shower for women and their children, some of whom travel long distances to the market. The cafe will provide a safe place for women to market vendors and visitors to relax, purchase healthy food, and get support and information in a friendly atmosphere. No such facilities previously existed in Buka town: these will make a great difference to women coming to Buka town and to the market.
Click here to read a speech by Hona Holan, Founding President of BWF, at the opening. Hona outlined the stages of the project from the time it was first proposed in 2013, including the many people and organisations whose support was engaged.
The cafe, and other activities in the building, will also provide an income stream to cover costs of maintaining the building, and will provide opportunities for local women to learn useful skills in running small businesses.
Congratulations to BWF on the completion of this project. It's a great example of how people working in their own communities can come up with creative and resourceful plans, and bring them successfully to fruition.
Helen Dakin (Sydney supporter)
* Education, training for life skills, leadership, community advocacy