Rural disadvantage, access to services, social value, seed funding, Papua New Guinea


Papua New Guinea (PNG), a resource rich country, despite many years of positive GDP growth and development efforts, is ranked 157 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index.  Over 80% of the population live in rural areas and have seen very little improvement in living standards since independence in 1975.  This paper proposes an alternative, to the usual ‘top down’ approach, to rural development in PNG, one that engages villagers in improving their own wellbeing, with faith-based organisations and non-governmental organisations as partners in development. The performance of indicators of wellbeing, such as health, access to water and sanitation, education and income generation, between 2000 and 2015, is first reviewed, at national, regional, and village levels, to highlight the rural – urban disparity in access to services. A ‘bottom-up’ approach to raising rural wellbeing, by creating social value, with private sector involvement, in remote villages and engaging in social entrepreneurship is then outlined. Seed funding would be necessary for this approach to be applied successfully.



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