TWELVE women’s associations and groups in mine impacted communities in Papua New Guinea have been selected to receive government grants. Representatives from these groups recently signed contracts with the national government to receive the grants worth more than 1 million Kina.

The associations and groups are from Ramu Nickel Mining project area, Porgera, Hidden Valley, Simberi, Sinivit and Lihir. Leaders of these groups signed the contracts in the presence of officers of the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA), members of the steering committee on Women in Mining programs, consultants from GRM International and locals.

The Women in Mining Small Grants Program Project Cooperation Agreements commit the grant recipients and the government to cooperate to achieve the various sustainable projects proposed by the recipients.

The 12 successful groups are among 33 associations and groups that applied for the grants. The unsuccessful applicants will be assisted and their applications reassessed with the view to enable them to access the grants.

The grants come under a National Government assistance scheme called Small Grants Project for women impacted by mining operations. It is funded through the World Bank Mining Sector Institutional Strengthening Technical Assistance Project 2. The program is aimed at helping associations start small enterprises or further develop existing ones with the ultimate aim of enabling the women sustain their livelihoods beyond life of mines operating in their areas.

The project is being managed by the MRA with support from relevant government agencies which are departments are National Planning & Monitoring, Department of Agriculture & Livestock, Community Development, Commerce & Industry, Education, Works, Justice & Attorney General and Environment & Conservation.

The next stages of the project are disbursements of the grants by the MRA, implementation of the projects by the associations followed by monitoring and evaluation by the MRA.

The successful applicants were selected based on set criteria including the capacity to sustain their projects in the long-term. All applicants were taken through the criteria in two workshops held earlier this year.

Chairperson of the Coastal Pipeline Women’s Association of the Ramu Mine Project, Miriam David, said with the grant her group would be getting a PMV truck and dinghy which would be used to provide transport services to their people at affordable fees. She said mothers from her area would be relieved off the difficulties they face every day in terms of lack of transport.

MRA managing director Philip Samar says the program’s concept is consistent with the authority’s mission and vision which is to effectively and sustainably manage the mining sector so as to benefit all stakeholders. He says the MRA is committed to assisting the women’s groups by facilitating the Small Grants Project.

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