| United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
PORT MORESBY - Francesca Semoso has made it her business to empower Bougainville’s women and youth to develop their entrepreneurship and good ideas by using simple resources in their communities.
Francesca is a revered and legendary female leader from the coconut fringed beaches and crystal-clear waters of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
The former broadcaster and politician is a firm believer that information is power. She is an ardent advocate for more women in political leadership.
She has also worked with the Bougainville Women’s Federation to address violence and other issues affecting women in the region.
But she says her current role as a business skills development trainer is equally rewarding.
“It is a project that I have taken a personal touch to,” Francesca said. “And this training is amazing for me as well.
“These are my people. I’ve lived with them and done a lot of work with them in terms of advocacy against violence, HIV/AIDS and getting more women into politics.
“I’m a real supporter of small business because I’ve lived it. When I got into parliament, I spoke about it and I continue to preach about it today.
“Every day I see women turn something into cash so she can bring something back to the table.
“Coming from a background where we had little, this is my passion.”
Francesca said the role gave her a renewed purpose to assist develop the community.
She teamed up with another well-known Bougainvillean woman leader, Roslyn Kenneth, a long-time social development practitioner and gender equality advocate.
In October, the two women brought together 46 aspiring entrepreneurs from neighbouring communities in the Buka and Arawa for the first Entrepreneurship and Innovation Course supported by UNDP.
The participants in the course learned how to connect into productive groups and to accelerate innovative business ideas.
Also in October, UNDP’s effort to address corruption in PNG was boosted by the training of 60 public service officials on how to investigate administrative complaints.
“Such initiatives are making an important contribution to raising the importance of addressing corruption,” said Dirk Wagener, UNDP’s resident representative to PNG.
“Corruption undermines good governance and the delivery of basic services,” he said.
“It also is a disincentive to investment and reduces public trust and confidence in institutions.”