Preparations are under way for the opening of the Bougainville "Women's Wealth" exhibition, part of the QAGOMA 9th Asia-Pacific Triennale. Click here for a fascinating post from QAGOMA about the Pacific contributions to the Triennale - featuring members and associates of HWC, which facilitated the workshops earlier this year.
HWC held its 2018 AGM on 27 August 2018 (PNG's National Prayer Day). It was well attended, although many of the youth and chiefs were unable to come as they had to attend reconciliation events elsewhere in Haku (see previous post). For the first time, HWC arranged for pre-polling to allow those members to vote. Following the vote, the elected office holders are:
President - Dorcas Gano
Vice President - Anna Sapur
Treasurer - Clara Omi
Assistant Treasurer - Elizabeth Ravi
Secretary - Melissa Sassin
Assistant Secretary - Marina Levi
Assets Officer - Judith Pena
Assistant Assets Officer - James Pena
An important pre-requisite for the Referendum on independence in 2019 is to conclude reconciliation ceremonies in each part of Bougainville. Reconciliation involves acknowledging and forgiving each other for the actions of the civil war.
A Haku Mass Reconciliation was held at Eltupan on 30 August 2018. Former members of the BLF-Resistance Force and BRA-Bougainville Revolution Army breaking bows and arrows to show reconciliation and promote peace in haku ready for Referendum next year. Thumbs up Haku people.
Pacific Women's Network interviews Dorcas Gano, HWC President
Reproduced from the Pacific Women's Network Mini-mag, August 2018.
Dorcas, what do you love most about what you do?
I love working with the women as we carry out our workplans together and also seeing the developments that we have made, the women’s responses and all the changes for the better in our local communities. I really love to see these changes happen because, at HWC, we have identified the needs and we have used our own creative ways to meet them. We have implemented our own vision within the community.
My HWC roles have opened out my life beyond the village and my church work where I am the Youth Coordinator in the United Church for Hako Constituency. I enjoy the travel and interaction with women from all over Bougainville, the Pacific and the international connections.
And how would you say this role expresses your strengths?
I enjoy tasking everybody in the community, and in our organisation, by using everyone’s talents and strengths as part of the whole. I really ‘get’ the BIG picture and can see how everybody can carry their own parts, and offer their fair share of resources, so that no one is burdened and everyone is happy to contribute. I enjoy seeing it all come together with everyone happy for the fairness of his or her own contributions. The excitement of the result is always a joy to me.
I have learned to transfer my organisational logistic and management strengths, which have developed over many years from my clan and village responsibilities, into partnerships between community service organisations, non-government and government organisations and the Hako Women’s Collective. We collectively use our various skills at many levels within our Community Government in Hako, for Buka District, and for wider Bougainville projects and programs.
Dorcas, could you share with us the top things that you have learned to be a success in your occupation?
One: Firstly, the need to ensure good planning before implementation.
Two: Then there is the need to be inclusive and to help unite other women’s organisations for mutual benefit.
Three: We have learned not to take offence at criticism but to listen and reach out to those who criticise. We have discovered that those who criticise may feel left out, sometimes people even fear the name ‘collective’ and so we need to explain ourselves and invite their participation.
Four: The love and compassion that guides us means that we need to respond to those in need. This has led HWC to rescue families from family and sexual violence with our ‘Meri Seif Haus’ and support them with counselling and referrals, positive parenting courses, disability rehabilitation services, the End Violence Against Children campaign and our women’s network of human rights defenders.
Five: As a women’s organisation we cannot operate in a vacuum, we need to always have the support of youth and men, the chiefs and elders, all the churches and other leaders in the community.
Six: I have learned a lot more about myself – who I am, my own beliefs and values, my attitudes to others and how important my responses are to others. My responsibility for my own behaviour can make or break a situation, so I need to make good choices.
Who do you look to for inspiration in your career Dorcas?
The inspiring leadership roles of my life are: my brother Moses, and his wife Marilyn, who has become my mentor; my sister Jessie who is a Nursing Sister and the women of the BWPF (Bougainville Women for Peace and Freedom).
The BWPF women led the way in women’s voluntary community development during the Bougainville conflict and took part in the Peace Negotiations, they then came to Hako to help the formation of the HWC. Josie Kauona, Hona Holan and so many of our women and elder women continue to inspire me.
If someone wanted to pursue this career path, what advice would you give them?
I would encourage them to join in with what we are doing. I would tell them that they must complete what they set out to do, and they must do all they can to achieve good results and to not give up. They must be prepared to step forward and count the cost – be prepared to contribute beyond average levels and learn to self-sacrifice within healthy limits.
What role has networking played in your journey ?
Networking has been most significant as it has opened up workshop opportunities for me and for all the women. We have learned information and skills about organisational development and advocacy so that HWC is where we are today.
And Dorcas how do you balance all the roles that you play in your life?
I have family, clan, school, church (which includes youth coordinating role and women’s fellowship) responsibilities as well as the HWC Presidency role. I think through how to balance everything and how to cover all the bases, and I work hard and am self disciplined to be ready for every occasion. I communicate with family, and all those who need to be informed, about how I will carry out my commitments. I am also prepared to negotiate and adjust my plans according to everyone’s group needs and arrangements, in that way I try to remain flexible but dependable.
Thank you so much for taking the time Dorcas, how did you find all of these questions?
These questions are all good ones, they are challenging. They have made me think and evaluate myself.
Thank you Dorcas, it has been a pleasure interviewing you.
The Meri Seif Haus has been busy with a lot of demand. One woman was referred to HWC from the village courts. The service is getting increasing recognition from the community, courts and Community Auxiliary Police (CAPS), who have been very supportive to our counsellors, issuing preventive orders and coming to the Luman Hipakoko when needed. We have even had chiefs giving towels to the women for our clients being cared for at the safe house.
13 February 2018: HWC has made its first booking for a workshop at Luman Hipakoko. The Summer Institute of Linguistics PNG is holding a workshop this week funded by Save the Children for the Department of Education Elementary Schools of Bougainville. Two translators from each language area of Bougainville are participating to create simple stories for children in their own language as curriculum material in their own language. The workshop is being facilitated by four SIL experienced translators working in the Kunua language of west Bougainville, in partnership with two PNG SIL employees - one as a literacy trainer and the other a Linguistics / Tok Pisin expert.
Pacific island nations are among the worst affected by climate change, which is already causing severe problems in some areas and forcing communities to relocate - if they can find a safe option. Representatives are visiting Australia to join the opposition to the huge Adani coal mine, which will worsen the problems: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/01/pacific-islanders-call-for-australia-not-to-fund-adani-coalmine?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
Bamboo weaving of wall panels and septic tank into the hole following jackhammer of stone in the base of the hole- at last!
Working away still
News from Buka:
Here are a few snapshots of the team hard at work.
Nathan the plumber trained up these men on bathroom and septic finer points.
Builder John assisted by Bob are explaining door squaring and framing. And then you can see the overall progress of the whole building taking shape. The HWC cooks and cares for everyone.
We are so blessed!!! thank you one and all for all the continued support coming in to push through.
Today we bought the electrical cable that urgently needs to go into the walls before the final interior walling cladding is nailed down - hopefully tomorrow. Builder John wants to fly out on Thursday with the building at ‘lock up’ stage.
The Buka builders have learned heaps from the visiting team and they aim to complete the building by end of October.
HWC plan for opening in early November!
Love and appreciation to all
Marilyn and all HWC and teams here in Hako
Female Artists gear up for Brisbane Meet
September 24, 2017
A workshop in Bougainville has brought female artists together in preparation for the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT9), which will open in Brisbane in November
An initiative of the Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) with support from the Australian Government, the Women’s Wealth workshop was led by Ruth McDougall, curator of the Pacific Art at QAGOMA, and co-curator Sana Balai.
The project aims to create opportunities for Bougainville women to engage in creative exploration, and has drawn artists Taloi and Marilyn Havini, to identify artists and art forms across Bougainville, as well as nearby islands in Solomon Islands, with whom Bougainville women share linguistic and cultural ties.
“Women’s Wealth aims to put value on you as women, the works you’ve made, and the space where you have come together,” McDougall told the artists at the close of the 10-day workshop.
The participants included 10 artists from all parts of Bougainville, four from the Solomon Islands and four from Australia.
The artists shared ideas and techniques, and experimented with art forms outside their usual practice. Adelaide Mekea Aniona, from Arawa, said that there were only a few women from her village who still practised their artistic craft, and the workshop had provided her with a new creative community. The workshop, hosted by Sister Lorraine Garasu at the Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation, gave the women confidence to nourish their art and develop works in the lead-up to APT9.
“I am just a local woman in my community, and was undecided about joining the workshop, but I’ve now seen my potential,” Pauline Anis, from Siwai, said.
Opening in November 2018, APT9 will bring together over 80 to 90 artists and groups from across Australia, and the Asia Pacific to celebrate the strength of contemporary art and culture in the region. The Women’s Wealth workshop is supported by the Australian government through the Australian Cultural Diplomacy Grants Program.
Helen Dakin (Sydney supporter)
* Education, training for life skills, leadership, community advocacy
This website and the email address are managed on behalf of HWC by Helen Dakin, a supporter based in Australia.