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. 

48%

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.

Children play in Tobia’s garden in Goglme, Chimbu. Play is not only a child’s right, but it’s also a major milestone for their development© UNICEF/UN0385698/Simon

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).  

18,700

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.

445

newborn babies were resuscitated and saved between 2018 and 2022 due to health care worker training and access to equipment.

4,030

parents participated in positive parenting session between 2018 and 2021, and 172 people were certified as facilitators of the positive parenting program.

Children from the two opposing tribes in Siure, Chimbu play soccer. The Silku and Kamaneku tribes have opposed one another for generations© UNICEF/UN0385711/Simons

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:


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.

PNG Children
© UNICEF/UN0506020/Chambers