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Papua New Guinea: Strengthening Political and Civic Engagement

Building Community Engagement in PNG (BCEP)


In almost 50 years of independence, Papua New Guinea has developed its own form of democracy and political settlements. This is characterised by the often-uneasy coexistence of micro-social and political identities. The Building Community Engagement Program (BCEP) aims to widen the basis of participation in the policy arena and strengthen community and citizen engagement. Through achieving this, the program will contribute to nation and state-building.


The program works with a diverse portfolio of Papua New Guinea implementing partners from across government, civil society, and church groups to deliver five distinct, but inter-related components:

  • Church partnerships program (CPP): which builds on DFAT’s long-running support for Churches, to work collaboratively on policy issues; trial social accountability initiatives; strengthen gender equality, disability, and social inclusion; and boost organisational management and performance.
  • Coalitions for Change (CfC): a highly adaptive and innovative component, which will identify and support Papua New Guinea civil society organisations to build coalitions around issues of national or sub-national significance. This component initially focuses on a partnership with The Voice Inc. but will expand to other partners and initiatives.
  • Media partnerships: which builds on DFAT’s previous work with the Media for Development Initiative and seeks to develop the Papua New Guinea media to report on government performance, better represent diverse citizen voices, and support BCEP program partners to engage the media more effectively.
  • Social Accountability partnerships: which seeks to test and expand the application of social accountability initiatives in a Papua New Guinea context, initially through CARE Australia in the health sector.
  • Government of Papua New Guinea partnerships: which works with selected government departments interested in improving their transparency and citizen engagement. This work is currently being scoped, but government partners are likely to include Department of National Planning & Monitoring, Department of Implementation and Rural Development, Department for Community Development and Religion, and the National Research Institute.

BCEP applies an adaptive management approach to implementation. This means that, rather than defining a prescriptive, four-year blueprint toward outcomes, as has been done on past programs, BCEP will seek to ‘chart an evolving course’ through a) structured processes for the iterative design of potential pathways and strategies, and b) mechanisms for ongoing monitoring, feedback, and learning to inform management decision-making on how to improve effectiveness.

Goals and Results

Since commencing in March 2022, the program has:

  • Built confidence and trust with legacy partners to transition to BCEP. Through its work with church partnerships program (CPP) partners (to review their program logic and develop their three-year strategic plans) and work with Media for Development Initiative (to review its program logic), BCEP is influencing legacy partners to adopt more governance-specific programming and collective action/jointly implemented activities.
  • Shaped greater program coherence. Through revision of program logics (BCEP and legacy components) and partner trust building (CPP partners, The Voice Inc., National Research Institute, Catalpa) BCEP is creating the platform for stronger program coherence.
  • Positive early feedback that BCEP is adding value to partners. Partners are requesting BCEP’s technical support in gender, MEL, safeguarding and grants management, as well as in organisational governance and management arrangements. Partners have expressed strong confidence in the quality of BCEP support in these areas and BCEP’s ability to be flexible, targeted, and responsive to partner needs.
2022 - 2026
Implemented by
DT Global Asia Pacific
Papua New Guinea
Technical Areas
Sub-Technical Areas
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