What We Do


Diocesan Livelihoods Program

Border Villages & Iowara, Western Province

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a beautiful country rich in culture and natural resources, but with many challenges. Our new program in partnership with the Daru-Kiunga Diocese is focused in Iowara and the villages along The Down Fly River.

The Diocesan Livelihoods Program – in partnership with the Diocese of Daru-Kiunga – aims to improve the living standards of people, mainly West papuan refugees, who have resettled in Iowara and along the Down Fly River (Border Villages near Indonesia). People here experience food shortages, poor living standards and struggle to make ends meet.

The Iowara region consists of 18 villages which are currently home to approximately 3,000 West Papuan refugees and 45 kms from the main town, Kiunga, which is accessible only by boat and foot during the raining season. The 10 Villages along the Down Fly River, that borders with Indonesia, also host West Papuan refugees that crossed, however they are not recognised by the PNG government. Here no basic services are available other than those provided by the Catholic Church.

With serious food shortages, no clean source of water, unemployment or lack of a sustainable source of income, and limited access to education and basic health services (a long distance by foot) there are many urgent community development needs. These are complicated by challenges that are a result of their remote location, regular flooding, high transport costs, bad road conditions, unpredictable weather patterns and low agricultural production due to infertile soil.

After consultation with the local people, Mercy Works will undertake several initiatives to improve the living standards of people (especially women and girls) in these refugee resettlement areas, including:
  • Food Security

Promote new farming techniques and access to farm inputs to increase crop production

  • Income Generating Activities

Skills training and access to start-up capital to improve capacities to engage in livelihood activities

  • Water Sanitation and Hygiene

Increase access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation information and facilities in most vulnerable communities

  • Early Childhood Learning

Informal early childhood education for children 3-6 years old

  • Capacity Building

Capacity building for leaders to improve community governance and mobilisation


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