Australian Business Volunteers and PanAust partnership in Papua New Guinea
Australian Business Volunteers latest successful business and community development partnership in Papua New Guinea.
— By Australian Business Volunteers
Australian Business Volunteers (ABV), which has worked in Papua New Guinea and Pacific since the early 1980s has recently begun working with the resource sector. An international development organisation, ABV is also a member of the Australia-PNG, Australia-Pacific Islands and the Australia-Fiji Business Councils.
Among international development organisations, ABV is unique in its focus on strengthening business and economic institutions with a vision of alleviating poverty through inclusive economic growth. ABV’s projects are implemented by volunteers drawn from its registry of senior business professionals and small business owners.
While undertaking due diligence regarding the businesses with which it partners ABV says that it takes the view that by keeping community interests at the centre, ABV can add value to the design and delivery of resource sector programs and maximise community benefit. With long-term experience implementing capacity building programs, ABV collaborates with its partners to create development programs which are customised, needs-based, and community driven.
In late 2016, ABV began working with Brisbane-headquartered copper and gold producer, PanAust. PanAust supports community development initiatives at its operational and major exploration sites with the goal of helping local communities to develop sustainable socio-economic livelihoods that will continue beyond the life of the mine.
In November 2016 two long-time ABV volunteers; Christina Raddatz and Anthony Sim choppered into the Frieda River region of Papua New Guinea (PNG) for a three week scoping assignment. In this mountainous and remote area in the north-west of the country, PanAust is currently in the pre-development phase of its Frieda River Copper-Gold Project.
As part of its community outreach process, PanAust is working closely with the local landowners so that they are included in, and benefit from, the project. Anthony and Christina’s role was to undertake a preliminary assessment of the potential for small business development projects focused on assisting landowners in villages close to the Project.
Over a very busy three weeks the two volunteers visited 12 separate villages conducting meetings and interviews with community leaders. The result was a report on the prospects for small business development in the communities within the project area. The report includes information about potential business opportunities, existing business facilities in the area as well as recommendations about business training requirements.
The Frieda River Copper-Gold Project is still in the planning stages and is yet to be approved by the PNG authorities. However, if and when the project goes ahead, this report will be a valuable tool when working with PanAust on the design of a long-term community development plan.
Pictured: ABV volunteer Anthony Sim (third from right) with Sokomin men and liaison staff during a community visit.
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