Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency
Papua New Guinea
Helen Hakena of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, co-founded the Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency (LNWDA) in 1992 to help restore peace to the civil war torn island. Women had been leaders in the opposition to a huge copper mine in Bougainville that led to a ten year conflict. Helen worked at the most grassroots levels to ensure women were central to both peace agreements and development initiatives. She continues to promote women’s rights at the local level despite attacks on women human rights defenders branded as witches.
Helen recently spoke at the UNESCAP Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development 2014 where she outline the kind fo transformative development goals that may be necessary. She called on ”governments of our region to commit to a new model of development – a model of development justice where women are central to decision making around any development matters, locally, nationally, regionally and internationally. Where wealth, land and power is redistributed more equally, where economies focus on local communities and serve the people, not profits. Where our Earth is valued and cared for above individual interests, where militarization, violence against women is recognized as major development issues. Where human rights are our aim and where governments and corporations are accountable to us, the people, and where the voice of women in my community counts more than a balance sheet.”