We’re in Papua New Guinea, giving every child a fair chance to thrive throughout childhood.
Did you know that Papua New Guinea (PNG) is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse countries, with more than 850 indigenous languages? Rich in culture and tradition, the people of PNG associate in tribal and language groups, and 80 per cent of the nation’s population live in rural areas.
Despite its wonderful diversity, PNG faces many challenges. Located in one of the most hazard-prone regions in the world, PNG is extremely vulnerable to climate change and has the fourth highest rate of child malnutrition in the world. Children and their families have difficulty accessing basic public and social services, and there are elevated levels of violence between tribal communities and within families. Additionally, the total number of years of schooling a child of school-entry age can expect to receive is less than five years.
We’re in PNG, working with our partners on long-term development programs to address the many complex challenges faced by children and their families. We’re focusing on investing in the early years, keeping mums and their babies healthy, protecting children from harm and unleashing the potential of PNG’s young people so that children can thrive.
Of children in Papua New Guinea are stunted or chronically malnourished.
1 in 43
Babies in Papua New Guinea die within the first month of life.
Papua New Guinea’s many challenges
The children of PNG face many challenges. In education, they have limited early learning opportunities, and a quarter of children aged 6 to 18 are still out of school, of those who are enrolled in primary and secondary school, many do not perform at their grade level. The health system is fragile with children dying of preventable diseases, while malnutrition and lack of access to safe water are significant underlying factors for illness and deaths in children under five. Plus, violence is a daily reality for most children, making them feel unsafe in their homes and communities.
How we’re protecting the rights of children in Papua New Guinea
Over the years, we have successfully piloted new approaches to accelerate positive change for children and their families. Our work in PNG is only possible thanks to the generous support of the Australian public and the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).
newborns received a package of early essential newborn care and from 2018 to 2022 over 18,600 parents were supported to practice kangaroo care to keep their babies healthy and warm.
newborn babies were resuscitated and saved between 2018 and 2022 due to health care worker training and access to equipment.
parents participated in positive parenting session between 2018 and 2021, and 172 people were certified as facilitators of the positive parenting program.
Easing tribal tension through positive parenting
For generations, a road has divided the land between two opposing tribes, the Silku and Kamaneku. Today, the children from the opposing tribes play soccer together.
Clement Bundo, the Coordinator of the UNICEF-supported Positive Parenting Program, believes the program is helping to ease generations of conflicts between tribes and clans in Chimbu province. Clement says while clans go to church celebrations together, they would never travel to each other’s land. But attitudes are shifting.
“When parents met their fellow participants in the training, they discussed issues that they were having with parenting,” Clement says.
“This has brought them together and now they are even building an early childhood development centre for the children of both tribes to go to.” Clement hopes that the parenting program will not only ease current relationships among the community but will create a wave of change in society where the new generation will treat one another equally, regardless of their background.
Life Cycle Approach
In Papua New Guinea, we're making a difference in:
Improving health service delivery so families can access high quality maternal and child health care.
Delivering high-impact nutrition interventions to prevent, identify and treat acute chronic malnutrition.
Ensuring a lifetime of learning, from early learning centres to empowering teens to stay in school.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene services in schools and health centre.
Providing the knowledge and skills to eliminate harmful practices, violence and abuse towards children.
Help the children of Papua New Guinea
By donating today, you can help us break the cycle of inequality and give each child a fair chance to thrive.
The impact of our work
Every child has the right to be healthy, educated, and live safe from harm.
2 May 2023
Edwina Bartholomew and UNICEF talk maternal health challenges in Papua New Guinea
Sunrise host and Ambassador for UNICEF Australia, Edwina Bartholomew, speaks with UNICEF about pregnancy and birth for new mums in Papua New Guinea.
26 April 2023
3 ways you are helping children closer to home
UNICEF is always there to help children wherever they need us the most - but what you might not know is that UNICEF Australia takes this one step further.
29 March 2023
Beyond the headlines: 10 emergencies that need more attention in 2023
When the newspapers and social media posts move on, we stay. Through every emergency, no matter where or what, we stay and deliver for children.
17 November 2020
This dedicated mum built an entire classroom
When Jacklyn realised the nearest school was too far away for her young children to attend, she decided to build her own.
20 April 2020
The Australian mammal's technique saving lives around the world
Mary’s triplets were born three months early, in Papua New Guinea with no incubator to protect them from hypothermia. Health workers taught Mary this very simple technique that helped her babies to not only survive but thrive.
25 February 2020
This ‘bracelet’ is a helping hand for mothers in PNG
What these newborns have wrapped around their tiny wrists is helping to put an end to preventable newborn deaths. It’s called the Bebi Kol Kilok, also known as a hypothermia alert bracelet.
6 April 2018
One mother’s journey from violent discipline to positive parenting
Last year in Papua New Guinea, a group of parents came together to talk about a topic many people avoid: violence at home.
3 December 2019
How this inspiring teacher changed Joyce’s life
How an amazing role model can change a young person's life.