CYNTHIA VETUNAWA & THERESA MEKI | Reportage Online
SINCE THE CREATION of the new PNG government in 2012, three Papua New Guinean women have been in the national limelight: parliamentarians Lou Jaya Toni, Delilah Gore and Julie Soso are currently the women in power that all of PNG is watching to see how they will lead.
However, there is a significant group of women who have always led their communities. The Centre for Social and Creative Media at the University of Goroka has embarked on an amazing project called Pawa Meri, which means ‘powerful woman’ in Tok Pisin.
The project aims to portray willful female role models, challenge stereotypes and to inspire young women to become leaders.
It tells the story of everyday PNG women who have given their best in their communities to make PNG a better place.
Despite their circumstances and limitations, these women are truly powerful. This significant project contributes a great deal to gender equality, providing an insight into the daily struggles of women and their strength and determination to succeed.
The film research project will produce a documentary series of six 30-minute films about women leaders in PNG. The project is a collaboration between Victorian and Melbourne universities and the University of Goroka, supported by the Gender Division of AusAID.
The six pawa women were selected from all over PNG. They are diverse in terms of their locality, education and contribution to PNG’s betterment.
The project’s research assistant Theresa Meki said: “The main idea is to recognise such women in society and to simply appreciate and celebrate them.”
Pawa Meri also aims to strengthen the PNG film making industry by providing the opportunity for six PNG women to direct one of the Pawa Meri films.
Through Pawa Meri’s mentoring scheme, the directors are given professional creative support to create their own unique documentary.
Pawa Meri producer Verena Thomas said: “We are linking directors up with mentors to create a professional work environment through the Pawa Meri project. That provides directors with a platform to make high quality films that can be shared with wide audiences in PNG and internationally.”
These broadcast films are also for educational purposes, the Centre for Social and Creative Media in partnership with the National Department of Education intends to use the films as resource materials and distribute them to secondary schools nationwide.
The mentors, directors and crew are passionate about this project and give their best to ensure the project reaches its goal. At the moment five films are being edited, while only one film in the Port Moresby area yet to be filmed. The project is due to be completed in November.