Exciting Changes for Long-Running Church Partnership Program in PNG

Sep 6, 2023

In the early 2000s, a new approach to Australian support of community development and service delivery in Papua New Guinea was announced. The Australian Government, working in partnership with the government of Papua New Guinea, would support a multi-million-dollar program that would see the Papua New Guinea churches building on their strengths to increase and improve the delivery of health and education services to people in that country.

The program was called the Papua New Guinea Church Partnership Program, or PNG CPP for short.

Now, twenty years later, the program, which involves seven “mainline PNG churches” and their seven Australian church counterparts, is still going, and about to commence its fourth five-to six-year phase.

The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea (ACPNG) has been partnering with ABM (and now ABM AID) in this venture since the beginning. In fact, it was ABM and AID’s Executive Director, Rev’d Dr John Deane, then head of ABM’s program work, who was one of the people who went to Canberra suggesting this church-focussed approach to development to the government.

While in Phase 1, the focus was on strengthening service delivery, Phase 2 sought to strengthen church structures and look more to how the churches could work more effectively with each other to achieve key development and peace-building goals.

During Phase 3, which again focussed on service delivery, the Anglican Church of PNG asked one of their service arms, Anglicare PNG, to manage the program.

The focus during this phase was also on collective church action – with Anglicans aiming to work more intentionally with the other six churches and with the PNG Government. Progress during this phase included the signing of formal MOUs with provincial governments, and a sharing between the Anglicans and the Adventists in trialling each other’s Adult Literacy curriculums.

During this phase, churches worked together in the 2018 earthquake response, and during COVID-19 the churches provided joint advocacy on the sensitive issue of vaccination. It is hoped that these gains will provide a strong ground for further work during Phase 4.

Much was also achieved in the field of adult literacy, both in the cities and remote areas where the church is active. An evaluation of Phase 3, conducted last year, showed that between 2017 and 2022:

“Communities across five Anglican dioceses in PNG became more resilient. They increased their awareness of COVID and other disaster risks, built partnerships with local institutions, and more than 2,400 early school leavers were supported to improve their numeracy and literacy skills.”

It has been a great blessing for ABM AID to have been called to accompany ACPNG and Anglicare over the course of this program, both in terms of providing technical, financial and prayer support over the 20 years, and in being an ongoing channel for the government funds.

We now look forward to an exciting new stage of the PNG CPP which will see ACPNG once more take the reins of the program. In this phase, ABM AID is working closely with the Anglican church to develop its plans to build on the great work that has been done during the previous phase with Anglicare PNG.

AID and ACPNG look forward to continuing to support the Papua New Guinea Anglican church staff to deliver activities in the areas of Education, Gender, Disability and Social Inclusion (GEDSI), as well as health services.

AID would like to acknowledge the strong contribution that has been made by Anglicare PNG throughout its time involved in the program. Anglicare staff worked hard to deliver life changing Adult Literacy, GEDSI and Health programs across all of PNG. These programs had wide reaching effects and have impacted the lives of many men and women.

The Anglican Church of PNG and ABM AID are proud of the achievements of the program to date, and are excited to continue to strengthen the program results in the future by building on this strong momentum.

AID additionally supports ACPNG through the Anglican Communion’s Agents of Change program which seeks to strengthen the capability of ACPNG through training and equipping its members to participate in and lead its local community development work.

ABM AID gratefully acknowledges the prayers and financial contributions of our supporters, and the continuing support of the Australian Government through the PNGAusPartnership.

Logo PNG Church to Church Partnership