Passion for humanity drives decades of international development impact

My career and what drives me   

My 30-year career began in 1993 as an intern with Government of PNG’s Investment Promotion Authority, where I spent 21 years. I went on to serve the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for seven from 2014 – 2021; and I have spent the last two years at Tetra Tech International Development, where I am now the Country Manager, PNG.  

My passion for the greater good for humanity is what drives me forward every day. Working in the international development space always gives me the sense of satisfaction and a positive outlook for a better country, region and the world. 

I am always driven by a sense of purpose, objectivity and building positive legacies. In my local language my middle name, Valivanagi, depicts message or news that will live on forever (legacy/legend).  

At the heart of everything I do are my two wonderful children and my family; they are the reason, why I show up, and why I continue to strive for excellence in the development space – It’s all about building a safe, secure and prosperous country for my children and the future generations to thrive in. 

Jules and the IF4 team at Lamana Lanes in 2022

Experience with Tetra Tech to develop and strengthen PNG relationships 

I am blessed to have worked in international development over 25 years. Here I have been able to develop an appreciation of the government and socio-economic landscape of PNG, relationships with development partners and other multilateral organisations, regional partnerships and emerging trends and developments affecting PNG and the region.  

A primary focus in my current role is to understand the evolving social, political and economic landscape, establishing and maintaining strategic relationships and partnerships with key stakeholders and creating dialogue and conversations to harness these strategic relationships; in order to contribute to the ongoing conversations on the development agenda for PNG, for the benefit and greater good of development partners, governments and for Tetra Tech International development. 

Career with DFAT – A strong advocate of PNG-Aus relationship 

Having 10 years’ experience to date on the bilateral relationship between the governments of Australia and PNG, I have and continue to raise awareness of the PNG-Australia Partnership which is an important bilateral relationship between both countries from a historical, social and economic, geographical and more importantly from people-to-people linkages perspective. 

Big steps in development and growth in PNG 

In my view, PNG has been at the crossroads in its development journey for a few years now, and now is the time to take a stock take, review and reset its development aspirations and clearly articulate and strategically plan for an expected growth trajectory in the next 10 – 15 years.   

More importantly these growth aspirations and strategies must be developed with realism and a fact-check on where the country’s social and economic development indexes are at this point in time. By clearly unpacking, understanding and prioritizing development gaps, policies and implementation plans must be supported and resourced to successfully deliver these aspirations. 

PNG an increasingly important player in geopolitical landscape 

From a global and regional perspective, PNG is in a strategic position to leverage support from development partners near and far to strategically support and deliver its development goals and aspirations.  

There are internal and external factors and pressures that PNG is confronted with every day and there is an increasing demand for better services and quality of life demanded by a rapidly growing population and therefore it is critical for PNG to respond to these targeted demands, by strategically aligning with current and emerging development partners that align with PNG’s development aspirations.   

The increasing interest in PNG and the region is intentional and deliberate by external partners and therefore, PNG must be prepared and ready to embrace these opportunities with caution and calculated risks. 

Decisions aligned to Government of PNG’s Medium Term Development Policy IV (MTDP IV) 

At this point in time and up to 2027, I believe the Government’s MTDP IV is perhaps the most significant development policy and framework that the Government of PNG is using as a benchmark to grow the domestic economy.  

In my view, development partners and international friends should ensure alignment of respective development support programs to the MTDP IV.  This is important for sustainability, efficiency, capacity development and measurement of how development support programs are impacting local communities, the people and the country. 

Localisation and locally-led 

Through the lens of Tetra Tech’s Thriving People, Thriving Communities and Thriving Planet – there is no better time than the present to review, realign and reset the development support programming agenda in PNG.   

The timing of this conversation is perfect as challenges and issues faced locally can only be resolved by understanding local context, cultural nuances which will need locally led solutions, supported by external technical expertise and tools.   

Critical to this reset is the need for a paradigm shift in mindsets from development partners, delivery partners and other stakeholders and actors in the development eco-system on the delivery approach and modality, the preparedness of host governments, local partners and people working in the development sector.  

This reset and realignment will need to take place gradually over a period of time so that there is a seamless transition and minimum disruption (in terms of service delivery) from the current approach to a new locally led development approach, which gives rise to partnerships and collaboration between external and internal stakeholders.  Critical to the new approach is the importance trust, transparency and accountability and ownership by all stakeholders in the development eco-system.

Jules with her parents and siblings at Taikone,Central Province, PNG

A strong community leader within PNG  

I come from a sporting family, my dad a former decathlete representing PNG in the late 1960s/early 1970s, my brother heavily involved in Australian Football League, and my sisters in Netball. Have 18 years as a national netball representative for PNG, with 10 years as captain of the PNG Netball Team, 12 years as an administrator including Chair and President of Netball PNG for 10 years.   

I have board experience with Government of PNG, the Superannuation Industry and the private sector. 

Looking toward the future  

My experiences and knowledge gained over the years has equipped me to sharpen my leadership and management skills and utilize these skills and experience to enhance my work in the development sector, particularly around strengthening relationships between PNG and development partners, and taking lead in conversations and being an advocate on future development support programs for PNG.  As PNG navigates its development journey through an evolving domestic, regional and global geography and pressures, I believe a consolidated and holistic approach with renewed and strengthened relationships and partnerships with strategic partners (local and international) and a clear roadmap aligned with the Medium-Term Development Plan is crucial for economic and social sustainability and a safe and secured PNG.

Moreover, the shift towards locally-led development and localisation is imminent, necessitating a collaborative effort from all stakeholders to ensure transparency, accountability, and effective solutions tailored to the local context.

As I look ahead, I am committed and passionate to continuing this journey of impact and making a difference, leveraging my expertise, relationships and networks to contribute meaningfully to the advancement of PNG, its people and its future. Together, with a shared vision and collective action, we can realise a future where thriving communities and a thriving planet are the cornerstones of our success.

Read more about our impact in the Indo-Pacific.


Country Manager, PNG​

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