TWO Papua New Guinean women have taken to the world stage to showcase their unique locally-owned businesses.
Jennifer Baing-Waiko and Amanda Donigi, who have created thriving enterprises by fusing modern and traditional PNG cultures, shared their experiences with fellow entrepreneurs at the World Indigenous Business Forum in Canada recently.
Both women use the media to promote contemporary indigenous lifestyles to connect people with their cultures.
Ms Baing-Waiko is director of Save PNG and host of EMTV’s Café Niugini, while Ms Donigi is the founder and editor of Stella Magazine.
They joined nearly 1000 counterparts from indigenous communities around the globe to discuss the challenges and opportunities involved in running indigenous businesses.
The trip was made possible by the Australian Government which supports the economic empowerment of PNG women through its development partnership with the Government of Papua New Guinea.
Ms Baing-Waiko created Café Niugini, which features traditional foods, to encourage people to embrace their cultural identity in a changing world. She said she wanted people to maintain Melanesian values that promote health, sustainability and positive living.
“In Papua New Guinea a lot of our culture is linked to our food,” Ms Baing-Waiko said.
“Our land and ecological area provide an abundant diversity of food, both cultivated and also harvested from the wild. Food plays a central role in our culture – in food exchanges, strengthening bonds and creating new relationships.”
Ms Donigi said she started Stella, a women’s magazine for the Pacific Islands, because she was frustrated by negative stories which portrayed women as victims.
“The main reason for creating this magazine is to create a platform for indigenous people in our region which can focus on positive stories.
Media tend to focus on negative stories when it comes to indigenous people,” she said.