Women vendors improve markets in Papua New Guinea


A new video about work to make markets safe for vendors in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (80 per cent of whom are women) showcases new infrastructure and better lighting to prevent violence, as well as a mobile bill-pay system to prevent extortion and abuse, among other improvements.

In 2011, with support from the Spanish Agency for Development Cooperation (AECID), the UN Women Papua New Guinea Office, women’s grass-roots organizations, the National Capital District Commission and other partners launched the Port Moresby Safe City Programme. It aims to improve market infrastructure and increase access of women market vendors to services and increase their economic empowerment.

A scoping study under the Safe City programme, undertaken in six marketplaces found that 55 per cent of women vendors experienced some form of sexual violence in market spaces over the previous year. The study also revealed that women experienced robbery, abuse and extortion of fees on a regular basis.

The video illustrates how women vendors in Geheru market, where the Safe City Programme was first implemented, organized themselves to advocate for change. A market vendors’ association was established, libraries were built, and a referral system for survivors of family and sexual violence in the markets is now being piloted. Additionally, they led efforts in designing of new bathrooms and showers, market stalls with roofs and proper seating, and providing potable water for all users.

Since the initial funding from AECID, Port Moresby’s Safe City Programme has leveraged additional funding from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the National Capital District Commission, the Australian National Committee for UN Women, among other partners.