Papua Partners have been working in West Papua directly since 2006 but our connection
with the people and the land of West Papua started many years ago.
Naomi Sosa our current executive director and one of the founders of Papua Partners spent 8 months living and volunteering in a remote area of West Papua in 1990 which had been hit by a devastating earthquake in 1989. Naomi stayed with her aunt Sue Trenier who has spent most of her life working with the Hupla people in West Papua where she trained community midwives and health workers and worked with local churches in documenting local language and translating scriptures.
Naomi continued to travel to West Papua over the next few years and in 1995 brought students from the University of Aberdeen to carry out joint research projects with local farmers and health workers from the Hupla Tribe in Soba, Yahukimo.
At this time through discussions with local leaders the idea came to form a social development organisation for the area that would help with people adapting to the rapid development and new social and health issues that were impacting local people. In 1996 Yasumat was founded by leaders from five different tribes (Yali, Hupla, Kimyal and Mek). In 2003 during a visit to the UK Otto Kobak, a Yali Church leader put forward the suggestion that an organisation be formed that would support local Papuan organisations and communities with the skills that they needed in order to be able to support their people to develop and adapt to changes and achieve their visions for the future of their local area and West Papua.
In early 2006 Papua Partners was set up with the aim to partner with Papuan organisations to empower and equip Papuan people to realise their visions of positive change in their communities.
In 2006 Naomi and Javier Sosa moved to the highland town of Wamena where they were based working with Yasumat working mainly focusing on community-driven development, organisational development, health, and education. This work has now grown to include 5 organisations, several networks and two church denominations which has enabled positive change to take place directly in the lives of over 100,000 people in 130 communities and indirectly with many more.
The impact of our work model of equipping, accompanying and mobilising together with Indigenous organisations, local communities and churches has facilitated the emergence of many incredibly talented and visionary leaders who are now leading change in their own communities and organisations.
Most recently In 2018 with the help and support of Papua Partners and a talented leadership of local trustees, a new organisation, IWaTaLi has been established which is gradually taking over the work on the ground that Papua Partners started.
As a result of this from 2019 Papua Partners has changed the way it works and will no longer have staff based permanently in West Papua. We will be partnering and working directly with organisations and churches and supporting them through equipping, accompaniment and mobilisation to help them achieve their wider visions for change in their land.
We are currently in the process of developing our new 5-year strategy which is exciting and challenging.
We look forward to sharing it with you in March 2020. Watch this space!
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