Community-level leadership and development outcomes in rural Papua New Guinea: evidence from three case study regions

Francis Essacu, Fenner School of Environment and Society

Thursday,14 August 2014, 1-2pm
Fenner Seminar Room, Frank Fenner Building, 141
Linnaeus Way, Australian National University

While natural resources can provide opportunities for the sustainable development of rural communities in low-income countries, there is often a wide gap between the potential to benefit local communities and those they actually receive. This gap is especially marked in rural Papua New Guinea. This study investigates whether the mode of leadership in rural communities in three case study regions of PNG resulted in better development outcomes for these communities.

Certain modes of leadership were more evident in some regions, with ‘participating’ and ‘influencing’ modes the most common across the three regions studied. ‘Participating’ leadership reflects both traditional and modern inclusive processes, but was often mediated by ‘influencing’ leadership that favoured the interests of a few. Leadership modes appeared to be influenced by the history of development in the case study region and the form and strength of pre-existing community-level institutions. No single mode of leadership was associated with development that resulted in higher levels of both prosperity and stability for the case study communities.

About the speaker
Francis Essacu has a background in resource development projects. He has ten years working experience with rural communities and natural resource development projects in Papua New Guinea (PNG) particularly in the Mining and Forestry sectors and has worked in a range of development contexts. A forester by profession, Francis also has expertise in the areas of community leadership and decision-making processes in natural resource development projects; livelihood developments, resource management and governance systems; community forestry, agroforestry systems, socio-economic and environmental impact assessments.

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