Celebrating unsung heroes this International Women’s Day

This International Women’s Day, ABV is celebrating the incredible women across Australia and the Asia-Pacific who are driving forward locally-led solutions in their own backyards.

Whether it’s spearheading their own business or establishing local community-led resilience programs, these are the women who are leading the change that our communities and region need to drive forward inclusive economic development and lasting place-based solutions. 

Loise Kondiak, Lihir Papua New Guinea

For over 40 years, ABV has supported women entrepreneurs and small to medium sized women-led businesses across the Asia-Pacific to alleviate poverty and strengthen women’s financial independence.

Gaining expert business mentorship and direct support through ABV’s Apeketon Business Hub in Papua New Guinea during 2021, Loise Kondiak has taken her business from an idea to a meaningful income generator for her and her family. 

With great tenacity, Loise now successfully employs over five local staff, has a mini-bus and is working to expand her business into hosting a coffee and pizza shop for the local community. Her growing business provides education opportunities for her children and employment for the community. 

Christine McKnight, Cobargo Australia 

Since the Black Summer Bushfires of 2019-2020, ABV has focussed its Disaster Resilience and Recovery Programs on walking alongside community to build back better. In the severely affected Bega Valley township of Cobargo, Cobargo Preschool Director, Christine McKnight, has worked closely with ABV’s skilled volunteers to restore the preschool’s playgrounds and buildings. 

Seeing a need to upgrade the building to provide counselling and psychology support for the community, the preschool was awarded a NSW bushfire recovery grant to the value of $275,000. Christine said this was not just vital to offer early education but to provide reassurance to the children whose homes had been damaged. 

“They were able to convey in their own minds that it will happen at home too - something awful will get better."

Christine McKnight, Cobargo Australia

A positive force that Christine continues to drive forward for meaningful disaster recovery. 

Jennifer Fruean, Samoa

Working with ABV’s regional mentoring program, BSP Financial Group’s senior leader, Jennifer Fruean, honed her professional skills to drive forward a vital compliance framework across BSP. 

With a commitment to wider team growth, she then further supported her team with personal leadership development plans and processes to give them the same opportunities that she had received. 

Her team has subsequently had the highest internal staff reporting ratings and Jennifer herself has since been appointed Country Head for Samoa BSP laying the path to staff retention, growth and development across the organisation’s country-wide work. 

The achievements and impact of these women on the communities in which they live and work is unparalleled. May we continue to recognise and celebrate the unsung heroes this International Women’s Day driving forward community-led change.

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