One of the important lessons Papua New Guinea can learn from Morobe Province is the value of networking and relationship building. It’s not rocket science.
Morobeans, to a large extent, have mastered the art of networking and relationship building.
Morobe is a complex mix of islanders, highlanders, grassland, coastal and river peoples. It is Papua New Guinea rolled into one province. To understand networking, it is essential to grasp the importance of relationship building in a province that is a collection of these differences in ethnicity, languages and geography.
The art lies in mutual respect, listening, freedom of expression and reaching a compromise at the end of all the discussions. These are Melanesian values enshrined in the constitution if you didn’t know. Sometimes, it is difficult to see past the varying shades.
Each will have strong opinions but they will be willing to meet an adversary on level ground and talk it out. The aggression is channeled through the diplomacy and positive action.
Important decisions are never made in haste but are decisive and not sluggish. Morobe’s community leaders also understand the importance of collective energy and how to harness it. They understand the importance women play in the decision making.
In a community, it is important that those decisions are made in full view of everyone, the words articulated clearly and the leaders held to their word. It is for that reason that consultation is key if anything is to happen.
The people are not easy walkovers and will not blindly follow a leader. The leader has to be worthy of that respect.
It doesn’t end with individual relationships. Morobeans have also learned how to to forge inter-community relationships and build trust and cooperation. You can see that through the economic development between groups of agricultural cooperatives in the nine districts. This is not driven by politicians but by the people themselves. Politicians have also learned to follow where the people lead.
Where ever you go, the people are very kind and generous. It’s not something they rehearse. You have to understand that it’s a value that is passed on through generations. That is the foundation of networking and relationship building.