On March 8, 2021, more than 33 Palau women entrepreneurs joined with the Palau Chamber of Commerce and the UN Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) Project on International Women’s Day to start developing a new toolkit to assist Women Entrepreneurs in Palau to improve business integrity within their businesses and the community.
The workshop was conducted using a hybrid platform, where local participants attended in person, while other participating members joined virtually. Welcome remarks and Opening remarks were given by Mr. John Hyde from UN-PRAC and Ms. Irene Olkeriil, President of the Palau Chamber of Commerce. The workshop included presentations by local consultant, Ms. Ltelatk Fritz, and Palau’s Special Prosecutor, Ms. April Cripps, along with Ms. Fiona Dansey from the Fiji Women Entrepreneurs Business Council, and Dr. Sonja Stefanovska-Trajanoska, who is an Adviser with the UNODC and UN-PRAC. The workshop was facilitated by Ms. Ltelatk Fritz.
“Women entrepreneurs have a strong role in a healthy Palau economy and it is important that they can access the most up-to-date, relevant information needed to run their businesses with integrity and with effective capacity building tools.” said Ms Olkeriil.
It became evident that women doing business in Palau, of all nationalities, are in favor of the development of anti-corruption laws and mechanisms. Additionally, Palau has the unique position of having a very high-context (or complex) culture with many unwritten rules within its social structure and customs, all of which are greatly emphasized on the relationships that can sometimes be misunderstood for corruption by persons of low-context cultures. Thus, the dialogue to iron out the grey areas of high-context culture need further understanding and definition to be culturally and legally accepted.
Another important outcome of this workshop was the need for women doing business in Palau to network and work together, to support the improvement of all businesses to operate with integrity, and to fight against corruption.
Dr. Stefanovska and Mr. Hyde welcomed the partnership between PCOC and UN-PRAC, a joint UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UN Development Programme (UNDP) initiative, funded by the Australian Government and the New Zealand Aid Programme.
As a result of the workshop, and along with the toolkit, Palau Chamber of Commerce will also create a Women Entrepreneurs in Palau Committee, for women who are in business in Palau to work together and network, for a more gender-inclusive business community.
Palau Chamber of Commerce and UN-PRAC will be undertaking future trainings for young entrepreneurs, updating resource guides and Code of Conduct strengthening for the business community of Palau and all the businesses operating within Palau’s jurisdiction.