The Lae City Hand Up ‘HALIVIM WANTOK’ Program is an initiative of the Lae City Authority (LCA) in response to adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on livelihoods of people in Lae City, the surrounding six Wards and Ahi Rural.

The program is a partnership between LCA and the Australian Consulate-General in Lae (ACG) as part of the Papua New Guinea – Australia Partnership Program through Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The Program is supported by the PNG-Australia Governance Partnership Program, Grow PNG, the Morobe Provincial Government, as well as various organisations such as Westpac PNG, Friends of the Garden City of Lae and the Lae Chamber of Commerce Incorporated (LCCI).

“COVID-19 has had an enormous financial impact on the residents of Lae. The most vulnerable in our communities are enduring extreme hardships brought on by the sudden loss of income. The Halivim Wantok Program is a partnership between the LCA and the Australian Consulate-General, developed to try give a ‘Hand Up’ to ensure food security to the most needy in our community through a cash-for-work program. This is a program I’m extremely proud to be involved in as it’s directed to our most needy,” LCA Chief Executive Officer, Neil Ellery said.

The program is essentially cash-for-work, thus aims to provide assistance to individuals who have had their employment terms directly affected by COVID-19; have their working hours reduced or been made redundant, as well as those who depend on the informal sector and are a main provider with dependents including the most vulnerable such as young children, people living with disabilities, mothers, single parents and the elderly.

“Olgeta lain blong PNG i gat wanpela pasin tru em bilong bung wantaim na wok long halivim kominiti bilong ol. Na planti man na meri save givim liklik samting long halivim narapela man na meri husait i nogat inap kaikai na samting bilong em. Dispela wok bung wantaim LCA, i wanbel long dispela kain tingting.” Australian Consul-General to Lae, Mr Paul Murphy explained. (PNG people gather to help one another in times of need and this partnership with LCA supports this community spirit.)

The implementation of the program begins with the gathering of information on interested participants from referral agencies. Individuals that satisfy the basic eligibility criteria will be screened and those that qualify as community workers are entered onto the Program Database and will be allocated to various projects suited to their skillsets.

There are two referral pathways into the Program. The first is through the Lae City Authority, working with the Ward Councilors for people involved in small-medium enterprise (SME) activities; and the second is through the Lae Chamber of Commerce Incorporated (LCCI), working with businesses for formally employed workers.


The Secretariat, also the Program Management, is responsible for the screening and the administration of the Database of community workers that involves due diligence checks on all potential participants, recruitment and placement in projects. The PNG-Aus Governance Partnership Program and Grow PNG will provide oversight in management of the projects, as well as monitoring and evaluation as part of the Secretariat. Authorization of cash-for-work payments is by the Steering Committee that governs the Secretariat.

To be eligible to participate in the Lae City Hand Up ‘Halivim Wantok’ Program, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Have lived in Lae for more than two years
  • Be involved in some form of income generating activity such as an SME that is affected by COVID-19
  • Have their employment terms altered due to COVID-19 (reduced working hours or made redundant)
  • Be a main provider of the household with dependents including children under 16 years, elderly persons over 60 years and people with disability (PWD)
  • Have useful skills/work experiences (eg: Gardening, Carpentry, Cleaning, etc…)




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