Differences in the Fate between Noken Papua and Bilum from Papua New Guinea

goodmorningpapua.com – The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO has designated Noken as an intangible cultural heritage on December 4, 2012. At the Papua National Sports Week (PON), Noken became the most sought-after souvenirs. Noken got easy to find along the road in front of the Lukas Enembe Stadium or other PON venues.

A researcher from the Papua Archeology Center, Hari Suroto, said that these Nokens were sold by Papuan mothers in simple stalls or sold on sidewalks. “The price varies, from hundreds of thousands to millions of rupiah,” said Hari Suroto on Saturday, December 4, 2021.

After PON Papua, the way Papuan women sell Noken is not different. They just hang their Noken on the side of the road with a simple stall. “It has been nine years since UNESCO has recognized Noken as an intangible cultural heritage which means it needs protection,” said Hari.

Currently, for him, it is time for Papuan Noken to enter the internet 4.0 era. In this era, Noken no longer needs to be sold in simple stalls on the side of the road, but promoted through digital platforms or e-commerce so that the marketing process is more massive. Transactions can also switch to digital payments.

Hari Suroto conveyed how the Government of Papua New Guinea was promoting the Bilum, a traditional PNG bag similar to the Noken. “Bilum in Papua New Guinea has gone international, becoming an export commodity to South Pacific countries,” said Hari.

The government of Papua New Guinea, as stated by Hari, held training for craftsmen, taught them promotion, and collaborated with top designers there to help popularize bilum. This synergy between the government, craftsmen, traders, and fashion designers is the key in increasing the prestige of bilum.

Hari Suroto advised the government to encourage young Papuans to be internet literate and provide training on digital marketing. “The millennial generation and Papuan influencers need to provide assistance to women selling noken,” he said.

He also hopes that e-commerce platform owners, SOEs, and related parties can open up opportunities and support digital Noken sales.

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