Papua New Guinea’s High Commissioner to Australia His Excellency Mr John Ma’o Kali visited Femili PNG operations in Port Moresby and Lae. A long-time advocate on gender equality, Mr Kali has been providing strong support for Femili PNG as the organisation’s patron.
Mr Kali was accompanied by Friends of Femili PNG Philanthropy and Partnership Manager Paul Scott to learn about Femili PNG’s work in Port Moresby and Lae. The visit started on the 15th of March 2022 with a meeting at the Bel isi PNG Case Management Centre (operated by Femili PNG) with staff, and representatives from the Australian High Commission (AHC) – Program Strategy & Gender section. The Femili PNG CEO Ms Daisy Plana welcomed the visitors and expressed that it was an honor to have His Excellency, the patron of Femili PNG, here to learn from staff experiences in helping survivors of violence. Femili PNG staff shared how the survivors are assisted, and the challenges they face when dealing with cases.
Mr Kali did not hesitate to take up the role as patron when he was approached in 2020. He said, ‘’there’s already an agreement between the two governments from Papua New Guinea and Australia, but it will not be productive if we don’t make it work, and if we don’t implement it.’’ He explained that the Papua New Guinea-Australia Comprehensive Strategic and Economic Partnership, signed in August 2020, has many pillars. Mr. Kali added, ‘’in order for the pillars to have some foundation, we need people like you to make it work.’’ He is hopeful that his role as Femili PNG’s patron will provide some inspiration and link between the two governments. Mr Kali and Mr Scott also shared some of the initiatives planned for 2022 to raise funds for Femili PNG.
After the meeting at the Case Management Centre, Mr Kali and Mr Scott visited the Bel isi Safe House and met with the safe house staff. They were very impressed with the management, care, and the commitment that staff showed in assisting survivors.
Mr Kali and Mr Scott, accompanied by Femili PNG’s Communications and Public Relations Manager Jonica Jay, travelled to Lae on 16 March 2022 and met with Femili PNG Lae staff and partners. The meeting was attended by the media and key stakeholders in Lae which included partners from the Morobe Provincial Government, the Lae District Court, police department, Morobe Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee, Public Solicitor’s Office, Family Support Centre, City Mission, and the Australian Consul-General in Lae, Mr Mark Foxe.
It was a very informative meeting as partners discussed their work and the challenges faced when providing services to survivors. Australian Consul-General in Lae Mr Foxe commended Femili PNG and partners for their hard work and contribution to the overall goal of addressing gender-based violence. He said, ‘’your tireless work and commitment has raised the standards of case management and support for survivors right across PNG.’’ He added that it is challenging but very important work in PNG and abroad. Mr Kali also thanked the Femili PNG and partners for their continued commitment and encouraged all partners to continue this life-changing work. Mr Kali added that the strong working partnerships as displayed between the Government, the private sector, the churches and NGOs through the Femili PNG networking had lessons for PNG and the region.
After the meeting with stakeholders, Mr Kali and Mr Scott visited the Femili PNG Lae Case Management Centre to meet the leadership team and the staff. They then visited the newly constructed safe house built by Seventh-day Adventist church volunteers, before returning to Port Moresby.
Mr Kali was very impressed with the professionalism and services offered by the Femili PNG team and their partners.