Papua New Guinea is a country of rich resources, spectacular scenery and a fascinating mix of cultures with people from over 800 language groups.
The population is now 6.1 million, 85% of whom live in rural areas and work primarily in subsistence agriculture.
PNG achieved independence from Australia in 1975 and is a sovereign nation grounded in the structures of Westminster parliamentary democracy.
Although there has been modest economic growth in recent years, the country faces significant challenges in sustaining its development:
- PNG ranks 139 out of 177 on the UN’s Human Development Index, the lowest score of Pacific countries.
- around 49% of the population live in poverty on less than $US1 a day.
- life expectancy at birth is 56.4 years for males and 57.5 years for females
- adult rate of illiteracy (ages 15 and older) is 37% for males and 49% for females
- only 39% of people have access to an improved water source
- under 5 mortality rate per 1000 live births for males is 82 and females 93
- maternal mortality rate per 100,000 live births is 300
- HIV prevalence (15-48 years) for males is 1.4% and females 2.9%
These are all areas that the CPP is seeking to improve in cooperation with the government and local communities.
With 96% of Papua New Guineans being members of Christian Churches, the role and influence of the Churches is significant to the social, political and economic life of the country. Among their broad range of contributions, the Churches provide many of the services in health and education, particularly in rural areas. The Churches run 46% of health facilities in PNG including 60% of rural health services, 5 out of 8 nursing schools, and all 14 Community Health Worker schools.
HIV&AIDS is a critical health issue in PNG and the Churches play an important role in tackling the spread of the virus. The Churches are now operating a total of 24 Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centres, providing communities across all provinces with access to rapid testing, pre- and post-test counselling and follow up counselling and care. All the CPP Churches also run awareness raising programs across the country.
In the education sector, the Churches run 47% of elementary schools, 53% of primary schools, 30% of secondary schools, 41% of vocational schools, and 67% of teacher education institutions. There are also Church-run schools for the disabled.
Further information on PNG can be found at: