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The Bilum Campaign leverages the wisdom and culture of Papua New Guinea’s women to mobilize support for investments in a strong primary health and education sector that prioritizes reproductive health services and information.

The Bilum Campaign revisits the traditional role of women and reproductive health through the iconic string bags of PNG known as the “bilum”. Click here to access the short video featuring PNG cultural icon and “Bilum Lady” Florence Jaukae Kamel and learn the hidden meaning behind the bilum patterns that speak to gender equality, puberty, motherhood and women’s daily challenges.

The campaign leverages influential elders from PNG for discussions about a modern PNG identity and social norms for men and women. Click here to see coverage of the launch and the photo exhibition at the PNG National Museum. The roll-out builds on the Preamble to the Constitution (available in accessible format for the purposes of the campaign here) and includes a series of haus man (man’s house) and haus meri (woman’s house) conversations on links between gender equality, reproductive health and social expectations, beginning with our focus provinces: Eastern Highlands, Morobe, Bougainville, Milne Bay, Western, Southern Highlands, and Central.

By focusing on the deeper meaning of the bilum patterns we raise awareness about the urgent need to invest in access to sexual and reproductive health services in PNG for the country to achieve its development goals. At the same time, we highlight women’s contribution to the cultural legacy of the bilum craft and patterns to a younger generation of Papua New Guineans.

More photos from the campaign are available through Flickr here.