The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) launched the Bilum Campaign and the 2021 State of the World Population Report in partnership with the National Museum of Papua New Guinea and Florence Kamel, founder of the Goroka Bilum Festival recently.
UNFPA also shared the Preamble to the Constitution – for the first time available in both English and Tok Pisin with the Government, NGOs, media, and other partners at the launch ahead of PNG’s 46th Independence Day.
Dr. Eric Kwa, Attorney General of Papua New Guinea, opening the Bilum launch declared: “The spirit of the Bilum Campaign is inspired by the preamble of the PNG Constitution. We declare that we, the People of PNG, acknowledge the customs and traditional wisdom of our people which has come down to us from generation to generation.”
The purpose of the Bilum Campaign is to tell the story of women and reproductive health through the iconic woven string bags of Papua New Guinea (PNG) known as “bilums”.
By giving voice to a female tradition, we focus on the deeper meaning of the bilum patterns that link specifically to women’s status and reproductive health.
In doing so, UNFPA raises awareness about the urgent need to address gender inequality and invest in reproductive health services for the country to achieve its development goals.
The campaign leverages the Preamble as part of haus man and haus meri discussions aimed at sparking conversations among the public about creating healthy social norms for a modern PNG.
“We discussed things that used to take place around the traditional Haus Man values and tried to contrast what’s happening today with young PNG Men. There seems to be such a large disconnect between how men behaved 30 years ago and how young men or boys are behaving today. And we are trying to figure out where we may have lost these connections,” explained Governor Allan Bird, East Sepik Province and Member of the GBV Coalition and Parliamentary Inquiry.
“The Preamble speaks of building on past wisdom and the need to harness science and new knowledge to create equal opportunities for men and women to safeguard PNG’s future as a modern nation. added Marielle Sander, the Representative UNFPA in Papua New Guinea,
“The Constitution is the original sustainable development roadmap for PNG, so it is important that it is shared.”