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Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP)

Active citizenship in Papua New Guinea

Passionate about ensuring young people have a place at the table, newly appointed Ward Member, Honourable Billy Arau, gained skills in Oxfam Australia’s capacity building workshop to advocate for those in his region.

Active citizenship and inclusive participation are critical to ensuring voices of marginalised groups are included in decision-making. Yet Arau has witnessed all too often the moments when community decisions are made without young people. Frustrated that young people therefore lack knowledge on the policies established in their name, Arau initiated the dissemination of this information to young people and the wider community in his region.

As a result, the youth in his community nominated him to become a Ward Member. Since his election, Arau has continued his advocacy for youth participation and ensures activities implemented in his Ward have the consensus of the whole community.

Growing up, Arau says he was very shy and lacked the confidence to speak out. But since becoming a Ward member and attending a capacity building workshop, the 38-year-old says he is now comfortable advocating for others and holding leaders to account.

“I am privileged as I now not only know my roles and responsibilities, but also all the relevant organic laws in relation to national and provincial Government, Local Level Government and especially Ward planning process,” he says.

This work is supported through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

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