The Strongim Femili PNG Program

FemiliPNG Australia’s partnership with Newmont PNG and Femili PNG for the Strongim Femili PNG Program is strengthening local solutions to family and sexual violence (FSV) in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

FSV in PNG is extremely complex, with up to 68% of women experiencing violence at some stage in their lives. Out of these survivors, less than 35% seek help. Navigating the care and justice systems can be difficult for survivors to do on their own. They often need support accessing safe accommodation, medical and legal assistance, financial and vocational resources, relocation support, and more. Femili PNG’s innovative case management model helps survivors to access assistance from the many different service providers.

Since opening 10 years ago, Femili PNG has grown from just 7 staff in Lae to 61 staff across three locations (Lae, Port Moresby and Goroka). As the organisation continues to grow, a strong leadership team is key to maintaining a well-coordinated and highly effective response to FSV. The Strongim Femili PNG Program seeks to improve the quality of FSV services by providing training and development opportunities to key Femili PNG personnel.

Support from Newmont PNG has enabled the Femili PNG team to undertake specialist training in leadership and management, mental health awareness, and building team resilience in security-related crises.

In January 2024, the Newmont PNG funding enabled a five-day leadership program to be delivered to 17 of Femili PNG’s middle managers. For many of the participants, this was their first time taking part in formal management training. The program was delivered by PNG-based management specialist, Peter Baran, and focused on developing effective leadership skills; managing difficult situations; and building and maintaining strong teams. Shortly after this, in February 2024, an intensive workshop was delivered to 7 members of Femili PNG’s executive management (including Femili PNG’s CEO). Management specialists from Australia, Dawn Casey and Sue Upton, incorporated one-on-one coaching and practical team-building activities into this training. The skills these senior staff have developed will support Femili PNG to deliver high quality FSV services well into the future.

As part of the Strongim Femili PNG Program, the Cairnmillar Institute also delivered a Mental Health First Aid training program to 12 Femili PNG caseworkers. During the training, caseworkers were taken through basic definitions of common mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety and PTSD. The program highlighted the types of support that can be offered to those with mental health issues, emphasising the importance of taking a survivor-centred approach. All caseworkers left feeling confident in their ability to better support their clients, but also in taking care of their own mental health. This is essential to Femili PNG’s long-term success in making a difference to the lives of survivors.

Femili PNG face a range of security challenges when delivering case management services. In March 2024, the Strongim Femili PNG Program supported UK-based security consultant Andrew Cunningham to deliver two weeks of training to Femili PNG. The training upskilled all Femili PNG staff on security-related matters and building resilience of the team in security-related crises. Such training is helping Femili PNG to deliver secure services, that survivors of violence feel safe accessing.

FemiliPNG Australia received ~ AUD 500,000 (1.1 million Kina) in funding from Newmont PNG to support clinical and management strengthening. Through this generous support, the Strongim Femili PNG Program is strengthening local services that empower those most affected by FSV.

Since welcoming their first client in 2014, Femili PNG has assisted over 6,700 survivors of FSV to access the care they need. They now take in almost 90 new clients a month, and support about 100 women and children in safe house accommodation every night. Femili PNG operates case management centres in Lae, Port Moresby and Goroka, as well as the Bel isi PNG Safe House in Port Moresby.