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Press Release: Bilum Inc; Assisting the economic empowerment of women in PNG

The Pacific Legal Network’s Australian and Papua New Guinea (PNG) team have successfully assisted the International Trade Centre (ITC), a joint subsidiary of the United Nations and the World Bank, to incorporate the Papua New Guinea Bilum and Promotion and Export Association Inc.(Association). The non-for-profit Association is an organisation that will promote Bilum weaving and economically empower PNG women through providing them with access to training and international export channels for Bilum articles. The Association currently has seven member organisations (and a total of approximately 400 individual women) from provinces around PNG including Mt Hagan, Goroka, Lae and the city area of Port Moresby. The Pacific Legal Network has assisted the ITC through providing structural and corporate governance advice as well as assistance in the incorporation process. "ITC appreciates the very professional services of PLN and its PNG local partner Fairfax Legal in bringing on a pro bono basis, this important work to fruition. Both Samantha Cook from PLN and Vanessa Kihanges from Fairfax Legal spent countless hours of painstaking work to go back and forth with all the concerned beneficiaries to arrive at a constitution which guarantees the rights of the members and fosters the success of Bilum promotion and export from PNG. In the end, the rural women of PNG will greatly benefit from the contributions of these two young lawyers who enjoyed the full backing and substantial contributions if their respective firms. ITC applauds this as a true partnership for development" said Torek Farhadi, Senior Adviser for Women and Trade at the Geneva, Switzerland based International Trade Centre (ITC). As a joint pro-bono project, the Pacific Legal Network is very proud of the efforts of the team including Sydney lawyer Samantha Cook and PNG based lawyers Keith Iduhu and Vanessa Kihanges, to have donated their time and assisted on such a valuable community project that will have a positive economic impact on the lives of some of PNG’s most marginalised members of the community.

Photo courtesy of International Trade Centre (ITC)

Media contacts Papua New Guinea Keith Iduhu Principal Fairfax Legal, Pacific Legal Network T +675 321 4470 Australia John Ridgway Head of Legal Services PLN Australia, Pacific Legal Network T +61 410 520 416

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