Do No Harm Project

Project leader(s)

Women’s economic empowerment, now widely considered a critical component of poverty reduction and development programming, is an important goal of the current Australian aid program. However, although economic empowerment initiatives bring benefits to women, they also bring costs. Since 2014, Associate Professor Richard Eves has been working on the large project: Do No Harm: Understanding the Relationship between Women’s Economic Empowerment and Violence against Women in Melanesia, with support from the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) and funding from the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Pacific Women program. The aim of the research is to find ways of empowering women economically and improving their livelihood security without detriment to their safety and wellbeing. Under Associate Professor Eves’ direction, fieldwork has been carried out in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, examining both the formal and informal economies, including community-based microfinance and savings initiatives, women’s business enterprises, cash-cropping (coffee and cocoa) and formal employment of women. The research team for the Solomon Islands fieldwork, undertaken in 2014, included SSGM PhD student, Stephanie Lusby, and three Solomon Islanders, Thomson Araia, Rose Martin and Mary-Fay Maeni. The team carried out fieldwork in Makira Province, Malaita Province and Honiara, where they completed 174 interviews (85 with women, 36 with men and 53 with key informants). The sites selected for the Papua New Guinea fieldwork, undertaken in 2015/2016, were Bougainville, the highlands and Port Moresby The research team for all three sites included Steven Simiha, Irene Subalik and Genevieve Kouro. In Bougainville, research was carried out in three districts – Kieta, Panguna and Tinputz where the team completed 85 interviews (including 45 with women, 20 with men, and 20 with key informant, such as chiefs and women’s group leaders). In the second period of fieldwork, carried out in the highlands provinces of Chimbu, Jiwaka and Eastern Highlands and in Port Moresby, the team completed a total of 215 interviews (107 women, 53 men and 55 key informants). As part of the Do No Harm research, a second collaboration with CARE International’s (PNG) Coffee Industry Support Program (CISP) was developed as a sub-project in which Associate Professor Eves, with SSGM PhD student, Asha Titus, and a team from CARE undertook research among coffee small-holders. The work was carried out in three districts in the Eastern Highlands Province, Goroka, Unggai-Bena and Okapa, where the team completed 143 household surveys, 64 qualitative interviews and 36 key informant interviews. Associate Professor Eves is now carrying out the large task of analysing the sizeable amount of material gathered and writing up the research.

Richard Eves

Richard Eves, an anthropologist, has published widely on issues of social change in Papua New Guinea. His first book, The Magical Body: Power, Fame and Meaning in a Melanesian Society (...

SSGM In Brief

IB2017/4 Unequal Work Burdens: Challenges to Women’s Economic Empowerment in Solomon Islands

Despite women’s economic empowerment now being considered an essential component of development programming, in many parts of the world empowerment has not assured improvement in women’s wellbeing. Rather, it has...

SSGM In Brief

IB2017/3 Conflicts over Credit: Challenges to Women’s Economic Empowerment in Solomon Islands

This In Brief looks at the challenges to women’s economic empowerment posed by the cultural pressure to give. Though the pressure to give affects everyone who has an income, women are more likely to be intimidated by...

The Relationship between Violence against Women and Women’s Economic Empowerment in Bougainville

Women’s economic empowerment is now seen to be a critical aspect of poverty reduction and development and is an important goal of the current Australian aid program. Economic empowerment initiatives generally focus...

Alcohol, gender and violence in Bougainville

This In Brief reports on research undertaken in Bougainville in October 2015 (Eves and Crawford 2014).1 Unlike previous studies, this research specifically explored the relationship between women’s economic...

SSGM In Brief

Do No Harm: The Relationship between Violence Against Women and Women's Economic Empowerment in the Pacific

It is now widely accepted that women's economic empowerment brings a range of benefits even beyond gender equality gains for individual women, greatly improving the health, wellbeing, and productivity of entire families...

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