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“PNG, eh mi yah” - It Starts With Me

“PNG, eh mi yah” - It Starts With Me


It’s an electrifying feeling, standing in the middle of the Port Moresby heat, watching the creation of a nation’s leadership.

The setting is a conference centre in Papua New Guinea’s capital, crowded with 40-odd university students from across the country. Their strength is the brilliant passion they hold for each other, and for their nation, and their purpose is to turn that energy into game-changing action.

This is the inaugural Nation Builders conference, run by The Voice Inc. for young Papua New Guineans who have committed to standing up as leaders in their communities. Each of these incredible people have stepped forward, through intensive leadership development programs, to recognise the pervasive issues that their country faces - and to respond to their individual role in ending them.

As we came to see over the first days of the conference, systemic change doesn’t come about just through the will of the people. Entrenched issues such as poverty, lack of access to services, and vast wealth gaps in a population so richly diverse can’t be tackled just through aspirational thinking and some quick legislative changes.

The revival of a nation begins at an individual level. "Eh mi yah" - "it starts with me" in Pidgin - are the words bubbling through these leaders’ conversations, circling their communities and growing into the voice that will see change break out across Papua New Guinea."

Written by Clementine Binks

Partnerships Director, Live Below the Line